FESPA's fourth Digital Textile Conference, which took place on 2 October 2014 in Milan, Italy, brought together a record-breaking number of delegates to expand their knowledge of digital textile printing.
The one-day conference, sponsored by Durst, Everlight Chemical, Hollanders, Kaspapir, Kiian and MS Italy, attracted 157 delegates, more than double the number that attended the last FESPA Digital Textile Conference in Hamburg in 2011. Printers travelled from Europe, Asia and the Americas, illustrating the international appeal of digital textile printing.
Delegates responded enthusiastically to the conference content, with 100% of attendees stating that they would attend the FESPA Digital Textile Conference again. Ninety two percent rated the value of the event to their business as 'good' or 'excellent', and 95% of attendees scored the content as 'good' or 'excellent'.
Duncan MacOwan, Head of Events and New Media at FESPA commented, 'The growth of the Digital Textile Conference audience since 2011 affirms the escalating significance of digital textile as a speciality print segment. We compiled a rich programme of seminars and presentations from global industry experts, aiming to provide anyone with an interest in digital textile with practical, relevant information and trends which they could apply within their business. The overwhelmingly positive delegate feedback suggests that the mix and calibre of content was well matched to the current needs of the market. This will help us to shape future FESPA educational and knowledge-sharing events to continue to deliver measurable business value for delegates.'
The event received positive responses from speakers and attendees. Gart Davies, Managing Director of Spoonflower said, 'Digital textile as a medium is in its nascent moment. It's like the web in 1995 – everyone is figuring out their tools and maturing their business to the point where people are completely immersing themselves in the process. The FESPA Digital Textile Conference is a great opportunity for our small community to share insights on how to make digital textile expand.'
Fergus Niland, Chief Designer for Maglificio Sportivo added, 'The atmosphere was that of a collegiate, a group of people within an industry all looking to learn, I think that's crucial for the industry and I can see this event growing. I was very impressed.'
Debbie McKeegan, Co-owner of Digetex Group commented, 'As a business owner, when you work in your own little environment it's difficult to get out sometimes and meet others, therefore it's really interesting to meet people and talk about the challenges others are facing, and see what other people are doing within the industry.'
Melanie Bowles, Senior Lecturer in Textile design, Chelsea College of Art said, 'I've seen a very diverse crowd, it feels young, new and exciting, full of people wanting to share new experiences. We are all learning together and the Digital Textile Conference has provided a rich experience within an early industry.'
Michael Schmidt, Jewellery Designer noted, 'I've learnt a lot at the Digital Textile Conference – about new techniques and also the egalitarian approach where people are creating products and sharing ideas, much like the 3D printing community. This was a dream of mine 15 years ago, and now it's fully available to all. Some of the greatest members of this community were here today and are pushing these technologies forward and that was very impressive.'
Due to unprecedented demand and the growth of digital textile printing in the region, a fifth FESPA Digital Textile Conference will take place alongside FESPA Eurasia (4-7 December, Istanbul, Turkey) on 5 December at the WOW Hotel Istanbul, opposite the CNR Expo venue. For more information visit www.fespa.com/dtc.
The Digital Textile Conferences are supported with funds from FESPA's Profit for Purpose programme, which reinvests profits from FESPA exhibitions for the benefit of the global wide format printing community, through educational, best-practice sharing and networking initiatives delivered centrally or through FESPA's 37 national associations.