EPSON Digital Couture Fashion Presentation

EPSON believes digital fabric printing is the future of fashion. So opening fashion week in the media capital of the world in such a grand manner was, in retrospect, a smart gambit for the largest manufacturers of computer printers, and information and imaging related equipments. For the past four years, Epson has run a Digital Couture Fashion Presentation during fashion week. Their F/W 18 show was this time held at the South Street Pier 17. Epson, a leader in global textile printing, hosted guests at the Howard Hughes Center, including Epson President & CEO Keith Kratzberg, Seiko Epson Corporation's Kenichi Yamamoto, Erickson Beamon designer Karen Erickson, Interior Designer Ryan Korban, Emma Snowdon-Jones, and Malgosia Garnys, with special guest DJ's Alice Longyu Gao and Yehuda Moskowitz who kept the place rocking.

The evening began with an late afternoon panel to discuss EPSON’s innovations in textile printing and fashion technology moderated by Anthony Cenname of The Wall Street Journal Magazine, and featuring Alice+Olivia EVP of Brand Marketing & Communications (and Author of LEAVE YOUR MARK) Aliza Licht, Interior Designer Ryan Korban, textile expert Mark Sunderland of Thomas Jefferson University, and fashion critic and analyst Anna Fusoni.

We learned several things from the panel. Fabric detail, Licht noted, has become more important in an Instagram-influenced fashion world. Alice+Olivia, she said, uses Instagram as its primary channel for communicating and connecting with shoppers. All of Alice + Olivia's textiles are digitally designed (Is this the future of fashion?). Social media is transforming the actual process of fashion. Licht noted that Instagram, in particular, is changing the entire game. “If I were a brand, I’d be going after people who have very niche audiences,” Aliza Licht, EVP of brand marketing and communications at Alice+Olivia said. “We find that micro influencers have a much higher engagement than the influencers that we all know. [Micro influencers] are the people that you never heard of — they have maybe 100,000 followers or 50,000 followers  -- (but) you can trade clothing for a post with them (in lieu of big cash payments).” Textile expert Sunderland noted, “emerging designers should be making their own fabrics … fabric technology is really informing fashion right now, and will continue to do so.”

As the late afternoon turned into evening, thirteen selected designers from South and North America showcased their collection. The stipulations were that the styles had to be unprecedented and unique in nature. Further, the collections were stipulated to have been created using Epson's direct-to-garment and digital dye-sublimation printing. Finally, there was a rule that the work of all chosen designers had to have leveraged Epson's world-class textile printing solutions in their creations.

The theme of the evening was "Cosmopolitan Couture with Impossible Colors: How Does Your Culture Dress-up?"

Styled by former WWD editor, Mayte Allende, the collections highlighted the baker’s dozen of designers from all over the spectrum: Lua Luá by Michele Gevaerd represented Brazil, Hayley Elsaesser represented Canada, Karyn Coo represented Chile, Stephanie Ruiz represented Ecuador, Eduardo Figueroa represented Guatemala, Emilio Mata represented Mexico, Ilse Jara represented Paraguay, Ana María Guiulfo represented Peru, Lina Cantillo represented Colombia, and the US was represented by Fernando Alberto, Alexandra Pizzigoni & Patricia Franklin, former Project Runway All Stars member Candice Cuoco and NYFW regular ThreeASFOUR.

There were several standouts among the thirteen collections. Candice Cuoco debuted her new SS18 collection, SIRENS.  Her show evoked the oceans depths, the lure of the mermaid – in leather, silk, textured fabrics -- all dark as the briny deep. Fernando Alberto's brand Fernando Alberto Atelier, famous for its embroidery, was established in Los Angeles and considered one the most prominent designers in Honduras. He is living up to his growing reputation. Also, Michele Gevaerd, stylist, entrepreneur, Co-founder and Creative Director of Lua Luá, the sleepwear brand, was full of bright, ripe tropical colors.

A sketch from designer Ana María Guiulfo for the Epson Digital Couture presentation

A sketch from designer Ana María Guiulfo for the Epson Digital Couture presentation

There was one particular moment to give the more jaded fashion week observer’s pause. Many in the attendance, veterans of these shows were surprised to see threeASFOUR at the event, and devoted to new, emerging designers. While it was a bit surprising that such New York darlings, the ultra-hip fashion collective threeASFOUR was teaming with EPSON this year, it is not entirely out of the ordinary. For their Autumn/Winter collection in 2015, they unveiled a “vibrational” 3D Printed OSCILLATION Dress as Part of Quantum Vibrations Collection. This is a part of the evolution of threeASFOUR, a recognition of the technology of the future of fashion, teaming up with EPSON was an organic evolution. And it is the sort of forward fashion thinking that was have become accustomed to from the group. 

Cover Photo by Charles Roussel/WWD