Taking textile design studies to the Digital Age

Noga Chen
February 22, 2018

Collaboration with design institutes is nothing new at Kornit. Giving design students the opportunity to experiment, and learn how to design and print their designs with Digital Printers has been part of Kornit’s
goals for several years now.

In its Collaborations with FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology New York) and Shenkar in Israel, Kornit has added a new dimension to
fashion design and textile design courses for several years, giving these students a unique edge to their studies. One of the collaborations that is running for the 4th year is with the Textile Design Course at the
Shenkar Design school in Israel, whereby students are offered the opportunity to take their project, from idea to finished garment using digital direct to fabric printing technology.

For this year’s project, students were to design a unique Kimono based on a theme derived from a personal inspiration.

The task at hand involved designing the Kimono pattern, converting the pattern into a digital image, printing the fabric on the Kornit Allegro and
sewing the garment.

The Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that is worn for special ceremonies, and symbolizes respect. It’s a t-shaped full-length robe with intricate aesthetic designs and typically made from silk (but also
can be made from polyester and cotton) and worn with a large sash called an Obi.


The Digital Kimono

All students created their textile designs by hand – either drawn, embroidered or using a wide variety of media to achieve the desired effect. Students were required to create repeat patterns that develop in both
shape and size, and use their own inspiration and creativity to create Kimonos that tell personal stories. Some of the inspirations included the Ocean, Norway, Star signs, and the night sky, and more… They then took high quality photographs of the patterns and created image files to be used in the digital printing process.

Using Computer Aided Design, the exact Kimono pattern pieces were set and filled with the image design and uploaded to the Allegro software,
and then the exact pattern pieces were printed on the blank white fabric. This is the one of the many benefits of digital printing – that printing is done on
the according to the exact pattern shapes and there is no waste of ink and minimum waste of fabric.


Printing on Allegro

Design institutes teach skills and techniques that are the basis of textile and fashion design and are essential elements of the course.
While the fundamentals of design do not change, technologies in the textile industry are developing at an incredible pace and are changing the way textiles and fashions are produced. Projects like these would usually involve labor intensive process of screen printing to print the fabric. While screen printing produces good results it is very impractical for such small pieces of fabric/prototypes.  Such students would not usually have the opportunity to design, experiment and print their designs digitally.

Kornit’s Direct-to-Fabric printer enables a one-step digital printing process directly on textile, so there was no need to pre-treat fabric. The students were able to load their files and within minutes later…the fabric
was ready.  Also, with Direct to Fabric printing, there is no waste, as only the necessary amount of fabric is printed and the specific pieces to be cut, meaning that ink is used exactly where it is


Garment manufacturing is a multi-stage and
labor-intensive process. Semi or fully automated solutions don’t answer the needs of prototyping, sample production, one-off or small collections, while manual paper patterns are time intensive, with too much waste due to human error. The integrated fixation eliminates the need to pre-treat fabric.  The printers is operated by one person, and to simplify the process further, a cutting machine cut be added to the workflow. A single operator simply presses a button to print ready-to-wear
designs, which are then cut and sewn. Any remaining scraps are recyclable.


“The next generation of textile designers is exposed to the technology of the future, to allow them to engage with it, but its not only the students that benefit,” says Tal Wolmark, Global Application Manager. “Students have fresh ideas, and for them the sky is the limit. Working
with students means that we need to translate their creativity into digital and – we have to deal with their design challenges which is valuable for our own
application development.”


To read about the Collaboration with the Holon Design Museum on the Ronit Elkabetz project – Je t’aime – Dreams from the wardrobe, read the blog “Recreating the Past with Digital Direct-to-Fabric Printing”