Textile printing plays a huge role in multiple industries! From interior design to high fashion, printed fabric is everywhere. The global market just for digital textile printing in 2020 has been estimated to be at USD 31.4 billion. However, printing hasn’t always been as common as it is today.
Textile printing has a rich history in the Asian continent, and the technologies for print traveled from China and India to Europe during the colonial era. Let’s break down the origins of textile printing.
The Indian Method
While printed silk is classically what we think of when it comes to ancient printing practices, it was in India that using printing techniques thrived as an art form. Artisans used intricately carved wooden blocks that were dipped in dye or paint and symmetrically pressed onto cotton or muslin. This technique created a repetitive but cohesive design that was imprinted onto the cloth.
In the area of Bihar, a similar technique was used to create Chaapa, which was made by using real silver coating as the material which formed the print. Printed cloth was worn by the nobility in South Asia as well as the merchant class. To this day, women in the area wear clothes that are similarly printed, even though the technology has changed.
Colonialism and Textile Trade
The British colonial ventures started as a means to trade in cloth and spices from the Asian continent. It was printed cotton from India in the 17th century that created huge demand for textile printing. First, the block printing method came to England, France, and the Netherlands. Prohibitive legislation in the first two countries led to massive exports to North America for settlers.
Eventually, copperplates were used for printing patterns onto fabric, and ultimately, roller printing was invented in 1790, which lead to increased easy mass production. However, the biggest change in recent times was the invention of digital textile printing, which effectively changed how the industry functioned.
Digital Textiles and High Fashion
The iconic hippie look for the seventies included at least one piece of floral clothing per outfit. Digital printing via screen rollers was the usual method for making these colorful high definition designs. However, the real art came into existence in the late’80s and ’90s with inkjet printing and dye sublimation.
This technique uses digital printers to create unique designs on a computer that can then be printed and transferred onto the fabric using transfer papers and heat. Everything from hyper-real art to graphic t-shirts can now be printed using either roller heat press machines or inkjet printers.
The industry has expanded so much that we, the Jind Group, have been supplying wholesale inkjet heat transfer paper, sublimation paper for roller machines and high-quality sublimation ink to textile businesses for 15 years. Get in touch with us for more information or call us at (0086) 20-31130043 to place your order!