What’s New and Innovative at Impressions Fort Worth 2023

September 26, 2023

You’re probably thinking I’m going to start talking about new decoration equipment and services that were shown at the Impressions show. We’ll get there. But let’s talk first about an opportunity Rick and Pam from the Ink Kitchen brought to SanMar and other suppliers to help a local shelter with donations! I went with Rick and Pam to see and discuss all the services and opportunities that UpSpire offers people and families.

UpSpire is giving second chances! This social enterprise arm of Presbyterian Night Shelter removes barriers for employment for individuals, including those who are experiencing homelessness, are exiting, or have exited homelessness, and are re-entering the workforce after incarceration. The UpSpire workforce is at once inspired and inspiring! Whether working in Landscaping, Litter Abatement, or, like Laporche, caring for dogs at the local animal shelter, UpSpire employees bring their gratitude and professionalism to work every day. Watch the video to learn more about this program that benefits not only those it employs, but its customers and the broader community as well.

Now on to the show! Since the pandemic, this has been the busiest Impressions Fort Worth show that I’ve attended in years. Walking down the aisles at the show took longer than normal due to the energy and buzz — seeing customers engaging with all vendors and looking for new and innovative product, equipment and services to help build their business. The attendance was 8% higher than the 2022 Fort Worth Impressions show.

At the show, I spoke with many suppliers asking about what’s new in their world. Most said they would be showing new product at the Printing United show in October or would be releasing new items in January 2024 at the Impressions show in Long Beach. At the show, there were multiple distributors and suppliers that were showcasing the UV direct to film printer to print on hard goods. This was not seen at the Atlantic City Impressions show earlier this year.

UV DTF printing is a digital printing technique used to create high-quality, full-color prints on various materials, including plastic, metal, wood, glass and textiles. This printing process involves UV-curable ink, printed onto a clear adhesive film using a specialized printer, such as the Cobraflex A3 or the XJET Switch.

Direct to film printers have been out for almost four years. I was able to see the new M&R Quarto being presented for the first time. M&R said the printed apparel decoration industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, due to several notable trends and technology advancements that are shaping the industry.

  1. Growing customer demand for highly detailed, full color prints, at lower run length and faster lead times
  2. Increasing consumer demand for sustainable and ecofriendly products, requiring the garment decorating industry to implement greener practices to include utilizing water-based inks, eco-friendly substrates, and energy efficient processes to reduce their environmental impact.
  3. The rise of e-commerce is providing consumers with greater access to customizable and personalized apparel. Online platforms and software have made it easier for artists, designers, and influencers to create limited-edition or print on demand collections.

If you have not signed up for Printing United Atlanta in October, think about it. I heard at the Impressions show that vendors will be introducing new product and services at the Atlanta show. SanMar’s Decorator and Digital Solutions team will have a booth—please come by and visit with us!