Direct-to-film (DTF) and hybrid printing are set to be among new garment-decorating technology showcased at this year’s Fespa Global Print Expo.

Organisers today reported that innovations in garment printing will be presented by several of the 325 exhibitors already signed up for the event, which runs in Berlin from 31 May to 3 June.

The show will also have a focus on sustainability across the print sector, with a new Sustainability Spotlight feature that is in line with trade association Fespa’s wider strategies for greater sustainability in print.

Michael Ryan, head of Fespa Global Print Expo, said that the trend for hybrid printing of garments, combining elements of screen printing and direct-to-garment (DTG), would feature at the show from exhibitors such as M&R and MHM.

He added that one of the biggest trends set to be seen at the show was direct-to-film (DTF) printing for decorating garments. “DTF is a process that started in 2020 and into 2021 and it’s gained in confidence, and we are seeing a lot of exhibitors who are currently signing up to showcase these technologies.”

The explosion in print on demand in fashion retailing since the start of the Covid pandemic will also be reflected in the show, he said. “Over the last two years, the boom in e-commerce has really been fundamental for this industry so you’ll see the adoption of e-commerce throughout a lot of the exhibitors.”

Exhibitors such as Kornit and Epson will present technology for direct-to-fabric printing – part of Hall 27 which will be a hub of textile and garment printing. Embroidery machines will also be included, from exhibitors such as ZSK and Melco.

Although a smaller-scale Fespa Global Print Expo was held in Amsterdam in October last year, Fespa hopes that this year’s event will see a return to form for the show which was previously held in Munich in 2019.

The new Sustainability Spotlight, according to Michael, “aims to educate, inform and inspire printers, designers and marketers. It will provide information and actionable advice on sustainability, with an educational conference programme and a graphics display area. Topics covered will include tackling carbon footprint, supply chain transparency and certification schemes.

Michael said: “Sustainability is a key topic in the speciality print industry and, as such, we have been exploring how at Fespa we can deliver a show feature that will inspire printers and educate them on the opportunities and challenges that come with being more sustainable.”

Located in Hall 25, the Sustainability Spotlight is supported by HP. The organisers are working with Re-board Technology, a specialist in sustainable rigid paperboard, to create display areas using recyclable and reusable products.

More generally, Fespa president Christophe Aussenac said he was working with his team on how to provide educational support for Fespa members “to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with sustainability”.

Another new feature will be an associations area, presenting a showcase of products using techniques such as screen printing and digital printing to demonstrate the breadth Fespa’s 37-strong membership of trade associations.

The Printeriors feature is returning, with a theme of “flora and freshness of the natural world”, featuring printed textiles such as furnishings and accessories. It is being put together in collaboration with textile designer Debbie McKeegan and industry partners Kornit, Mimaki and HP.

Christophe said: “The past two years have certainly been challenging for our industry. As a printer myself, I have felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on day-to-day operations. With this perspective, I feel lucky to be in the position of Fespa president to support the global speciality print community

“I am extremely passionate about the work Fespa does to support members and printers worldwide to overcome challenges and take hold of opportunities. Importantly, this is a critical recovery period for our community.

“We remain committed to understanding the challenges to the industry and the opportunities that trends such as production efficiency, diversification and automation present.”

He said that another focus area for Fespa during his presidency was education, helping to attract younger people into an industry which, he said, was wrongly perceived as “out-dated”. This will see Fespa work with schools and other institutions, highlighting career opportunities.

Fespa is also due to launch its third Print Census at Fespa Global Print Expo to highlight trends across screen printing, digital printing and textile printing, canvassing both members and non-members. “Research and market intelligence are key to enabling us to support printers,” Christophe added.

Fespa will also use Global Print Expo to launch the call for entries for its industry awards, with winners due to be announced next year.

At present, visitors to the venue, Messe Berlin, must wear an FFP2 face mask in line with restrictions in Germany on gathering indoors. They must also present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result.

The organisers hope rules in Germany will be eased by May but added that increased cleaning and hygiene would continue to be in place.

Michael added: “We are monitoring the situation closely and working with Messe Berlin to ensure we are following the latest guidance at the time of the event and that we run the events in the most effective way possible.”

For people unable to attend Fespa Global Print Expo, some exhibitors are working with organisers to provide live streaming options.