Pushing fashion boundaries with Epson textile solutions


In an industry as creative, innovative and crowded as fashion, designers need to push boundaries every chance they get – especially emerging talent wanting to make their mark. A long-time champion of people and businesses that use printing technology to innovate, Epson has been helping one of these rising stars make a vibrant design debut

Richard Quinn, who first created a stir with his MA graduate show at Central Saint Martins, London, in 2016, won the international 2017 H&M Design Award, has been featured in Vogue magazine, been shown off by supermodel Adwoa Aboah on Instagram, and been marked by both The Sunday Times, Dazed Magazine and the British Fashion Council as a cultural influencer and one to watch. By featuring a Liberty London print in his collection, Richard caught the eye of James Millar, Liberty London Design Director. Since then, and with the aid of Epson dye sublimation technology and expertise, Richard’s star has been in the ascendant.

Central to this rise has been the Richard Quinn Print Studio

Conceived by Richard to be a creative hub to work and explore, the London studio is kitted out with an Epson SureColor SC-F9200 wide-format dye sublimation printer. The digital dye-sublimation printer sits alongside manual screen printing lines, and has enabled Richard to create and produce his cutting-edge textile collections in their entirety – from the initial sketch through to the first strut on the catwalk.

Richard designs, prints and sews his haute-couture pieces in the Peckham-based studio, but a key tenet of its founding was to also offer affordable open-access space and workshops to other emerging and established designers. It’s rapidly becoming a place where designers can get expert advice about a range of print techniques, dyes, textiles and materials from Richard and his team - and they’re not the only ones learning. Richard and Epson technicians have formed a close partnership, with Richard learning from Epson how to make the most of the SureColor SC-F9200’s flexibility, and Epson learning from a new fashion pioneer how to push boundaries in the industry.

“It’s very inspiring to see how Richard and his team are experimenting with the SureColor printer and new fabrics and substrates to produce amazing effects for haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion items,” says Heather Kendle, market development manager, Epson Europe. “The considerable power and flexibility of Epson digital dye-sublimation is fast becoming a mainstream technology in the fashion industry.”

SC-F9200 plays a starring role

The Epson’s SureColor SC-F9200’s ease of use, reliability, and ability to print on many different fabrics have given life to Richard’s bright, vibrant collections – some of which even feature pieces printed on foil.

“I love the SureColor because it produces superb quality printed textiles,” says Richard. “I used Epson printers at Central St Martins for my graduation collection and it was important that I had one here in my studio working around the clock, producing vibrant colours, and capturing all the fine details and textures I want. This flexible machine gives me the freedom to experiment with many different fabrics and new substrates. It’s great being able to create a textile design, print it and create an outfit - all on site within hours.”

London Fashion Week

Outside his studio, Richard has been using the Epson technology to give life to his visions at Port Eliot festival in Cornwall, and in his latest collection launches at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer18.

Summer’s Port Eliot cultural festival – which celebrates fashion, music, art, literature and food – gave Richard a different stage to showcase his designs. Part of the festival was ‘The Wardrobe Department’, where the next generation of young creative talent and design heroes were interviewed on a set that was completely designed by Richard and much of it produced on Epson SureColor SC-F9200 and SureColor SC-SC80600 printers. The centrepiece of the stage was a sofa and armchair featuring fabric designed and printed by Richard, upholstered by John Lewis and manufactured by Parker Knoll.

“Although initially daunting because I had to create so many appropriate surfaces and textiles for the set, the Epson technology, its ease of use and multiple available substrates made the task straight forward, cost effective and achievable in a short time frame,” explains Richard. “My design and print is all about the colour vibrancy and the Epson technology allowed me to get the desired Pantones with ease across all the substrates. The SureColour SC-F9200 has been so efficient for our fashion line and this was the first time exploring upholstery fabrics -  a great success! The Epson option for a ‘4 pass plus 30’ ensured the thicker pile fabrics are as vibrant as others, making the Parker Knoll furniture really pop!”

Not long after Port Eliot came September’s London Fashion Week, where Richard launched his new Spring/Summer 2018 collection inside flagship department store Liberty. Featuring a modern reinvention of vintage Liberty London prints, all were produced in Richard’s Peckham studio on the Epson SureColor SC-F9200. Dresses, coats, gloves, boots and bags made a vibrant entrance in hyper-graphic acid and retro florals, and in many different materials. Tricky elasticated textiles, sparkling textured Lycra, jerseys, Premier Textile satins and Mylar foils gave the iconic Liberty prints a distinctly modern vibe, and the collection also included the Liberty London Iphis bag, a limited-edition piece designed by Richard in collaboration with James Millar and available in 2018.

“It’s been fantastic using the SureColor dye-sublimation digital printer to experiment with many new materials, even sequined fabric, to see what effects we can achieve,” says Richard. “We have spent a lot of time researching and trying out new digital print techniques and we are continually discovering new effects, which is very exciting and often inspires new outfits and accessories.”

In addition to printing and producing Richard’s Spring/Summer18 collection, the studio also printed the textiles for London Fashion Week collections shown by Dilara Findikoglu, Charles Jeffery, Supriya Lele, Sean Ux and Mimi Wade.

An outstanding year

2017 was quite the year for Richard Quinn, but by continuing to take advantage of the considerable power of digital to take complete production control and create new avenues, the future is very exciting. “The studio has only been open for a few months but we are already attracting many designers who want to get their textiles printed here using our digital and screen print facility,” says Richard. “They know we can advise on fabrics, produce superb quality quickly and, as a design house ourselves, we understand their needs – and deadlines!”