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FESPA Digital textile conference

FESPA’s first ever Digital Textile Conference (31st March to 1st April 2008),  held in parallel with FESPA Digital Printing Europe 2008, attracted a variety of quality printers, recognised manufacturers, and entrepreneurs interested in entering the fast-growing textile sector.

Entitled Digital Printing for Commercial Success, the conference welcomed over 130 delegates who had the opportunity to hear leading niche industrial textile printers and manufacturers. Speakers shared a full gamut of knowledge and experience on new technologies and the latest advancements in the digital textile printing industry, with conference sessions spanning a variety of topics including flag printing, consumer customisation, and inks for garment printing.

“The textile sector is generating a lot of interest among the wider print community, as substantiated by our recent Wide Survey, the proprietary pan-European research into the digital wide-format printing marketplace” comments FESPA Managing Director, Frazer Chesterman. “93 per cent of respondents said they considered textile applications a significant area of growth. So, we felt the time was right to support members in this market, as well as offer those seeking to add a new revenue stream, with a solid understanding of the sector.”

One of the most popular sessions was entitled Market projections for digitally printed fabrics and garments, presented by industry thought-leader, Patti Williams of IT Strategies. The session provided detailed market segmentation and forecasts by segment for hardware, media and ink, summarised key technologies, applications and trends, and provoked in-depth discussions and debates on the direction of the industry.

“The FESPA Digital Textile Conference is unrivalled by any other specialised textile conference”, says Hassan Kittaneh, managing director of Multisystems Technology in Dubai. “It provided delegates with the opportunity to hear industry experts discuss a range of topics and share their in-depth knowledge and experience. The sessions encouraged open dialogue and I recommend that all digital printers with an interest in textiles attend the FESPA Digital Textile conference in Amsterdam next year.”

Conference moderator and digital textile expert, John Scrimshaw, adds: “The number of delegates that attended the conference truly exceeded our expectations. This re-affirmed the genuine interest that printers have in this sector, particularly with the rapid changes and technical advances taking place, and the need for real knowledge and understanding.”

Chesterman concludes: “We value feedback from our member associations and the wider print community in order that we can provide effective support to help them successfully grow their businesses. Events such as the Digital Textile Conference and the recent Directors’ Forum, held in Budapest for screen and digital printers are key to helping us achieve this aim. Attended by 90 delegates, the Forum featured practical workshops and presentations from leading industry thinkers. It challenged printers’ way of thinking, helped inspire and fuel creativity, and provided delegates with the opportunity to discuss real business issues, including overcoming challenges, enhancing sales and maximising profitability.”

Further to the success of this first-ever Digital Textile Conference, FESPA is planning to host a UK-focussed textile conference this autumn, in conjunction with PRISM - its UK member association. It will also run its second European Digital Textile Conference 12th – 13th May 2009, in conjunction with FESPA Digital Printing Europe 2009, in Amsterdam.