Fashion design students at De Montfort University in Leicester have been getting creative with direct-to-garment (DTG) and direct-to-film (DTF) technology in collaboration with Epson.

Epson challenged them to bring their imaginations to life on T-shirts using an Epson SureColor F2100 DTG printer along with a heat press, pretreatment peripherals and T-shirts supplied by Xpres.

Aimed at championing digital textile printing within the university’s fashion curriculum, the competition required students to base their designs around heritage, culture and activism.

They were asked to print onto both a new T-shirt and a used/second-hand T-shirt to demonstrate a more circular economy in fashion production.

To celebrate their designs and the sustainable, onsite production process behind it, the students are uploading examples of their work onto Instagram under the hashtag #DMUgetcreative.

The flexibility offered by DTG and DTF printing has encouraged them to experiment with different text and typography as well as unique and personal imagery.

Karen Deacon, senior lecturer in fashion design at De Montfort University, underpinned the importance of this responsible approach and described the students as agents for change. That change has been enabled through learning about different ways to transform textiles.

The project is ongoing but initial responses from students on the versatility of digital print range from “a great way to express yourself artistically” to “it makes it a lot more personal to have your own print on a design”.

One student commented that “it allows me to explore more and integrate ideas that wouldn’t come across as much if we only had plain fabric” and “especially in this time, making statements through print, whether it be political or environmental, is very important. You can use it on so many fabrics. It is so diverse.”

Phil McMullin, ProGraphics sales manager at Epson (UK), said: “It is exciting to see how a greater understanding of print technology, and the capabilities it delivers, is enabling aspiring designers to explore new possibilities.”

To see students’ work, follow #dmugetcreative on Instagram.