Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022 - 15

Digital denim can reduce energy
and water consumption
R
emember those treasured jeans from your youth that took you months to
attain a certain faded look? Sure, these days manufacturers can replicate
that look, but it comes at a high environmental cost.
In a study published in the Journal of Imaging, Science and Technology, Lisa
Chapman, associate professor of textile and apparel technology and management at
North Carolina State University, and former grad student Ming Wang note that digital
printing could be a viable method for making new jean products in the future, by using
less water and less energy. Their research explored the potential for inkjet printing to
reproduce the coloration and finishing techniques of traditional denim fabric.
The process begins with high resolution scans of jean samples to create a digital file
containing color and transparency information. Then a special inkjet printer deposits
droplets of textile colorant ink on the fabric surface in the same way a home inkjet
printer prints to paper. The resulting denim can look brand new or replicate the desired
faded and worn look. Unlike traditional printing, Inkjet printing offers unlimited colors
and is more cost effective because fabrics can be printed on demand.
LEFT: Researchers at North Carolina State
University have created " digital denim, " an
inkjet-based printing process that mimics
denim colors and wear patterns. Because
the base fabric is printed rather than dyed,
the process can lead to greater varieties of
colors and patterns, while reducing water
and energy use. Fabrics can have a " new
denim " look. MIDDLE: Because patterns are
created digitally, the system allows for easy
color mixing for any type of denim. RIGHT:
Wear patterns can easily be duplicated via
high-resolution digital scans of traditional
denim samples. Photos: Ming Wang.
Ennis Fabrics is committed to reducing our
environmental footprint through efficient supply
chain processes, vendor partnerships, products,
and employee engagements.
Partner with environmentally
conscious vendors
and suppliers
Nurture a
sustainability-focused
employee culture
Improve sustainability practices
through technology,
innovation and investment
Develop new products with
sustainability top of mind
ennisfabrics.com
www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com 15
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Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022

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Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022 - Cover3
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