It was a celebration of eye-popping neon, bold cutouts, and embellished rhinestones at the disco party that was the Yanky & Nataf fashion show at Kornit Fashion Week Tel Aviv earlier this week. The two Israeli designers, whose striking looks have already been seen on the likes of Israeli pop duo Static and Ben-El and singer Noa Kirel, said they were inspired by abstractions of the 80s and 90s, as well as the digital age, and they showcased it through futuristic neon printing, spandex, and nylon.
But it was more than just a celebration of color for the design duo known as Yanky Golian and Nataf Hirschberg. Yanky & Nataf’s emboldened collection was also a celebration of fashion innovation driven by a new style era where cutting-edge tech fuels personalization, creativity, inclusion, and sustainability in the on-demand fashion space.
Yanky & Nataf used Kornit Digital’s newest and most advanced printing technologies to create their statement-making collection, including Kornit’s brand new Apollo direct-to-garment (DTG) system to print blended color gradients; the Presto direct-to-fabric (DTF) printer to engineer neon prints, and Kornit’s XDi decorative application to print on spandex for bodysuits.
They weren’t the only ones. Sigal Dekel, the popular Israeli fashion designer of the 90s, teamed up with Kornit Digital for a return to the runway after years without an individual collection. Kornit Digital offered her its printing tech, which enabled her to implement a design process where she could select a type of print and adjust it to a particular fabric. The end result would be unique to her but produced on demand. She chose to print stripes, geometric shapes, and florals on beige, gray, and red-colored fabric. Her printing was done through a water circulation process that was less harmful to the environment, Kornit said.
Other collections, including one from Emirati designer Dr. Mona al Mansouri, also made use of Kornit’s state-of-the-art tech. According to Kornit, al Monsouri, the first designer from the UAE to ever showcase in Israel, had limited time to create her show — just 48 hours to design, purchase, and print fabric, then fly it back to to Dubai for sewing. With the help of Kornit, Dr. El-Manssuri was able to print on thin and transparent organza to create three special looks as part of her opening collection.
While the designers had more time than al Monsouri, the fashion week shows, which took place during the first full week of April, exhibited how Kornit could help designers create stellar on-demand collections in just a few weeks. While it can take as much as 18 months to launch a fashion collection, due to supply issues, garment production processes, and other problems, designers, like Dekel, were able to create their style sets in just three weeks, leading to considerably less textile waste, Kornit CEO Ronen Samuel tells NoCamels.
Founded in 2002, US-Israeli manufacturing firm Kornit Digital develops industrial and commercial printing solutions for the garment, apparel, and textile industries. The company has come a long way since it was first established almost 20 years ago serving more than 100 countries worldwide and with offices in Israel, Europe, Asia, and the US. The company went public in 2015.
During a press event on the second day of fashion week, Samuel declared he has earmarked $1 billion in sales as Kornit’s revenue goal by 2026. He also told NoCamels why the digital textile printing company decided to host fashion week in Tel Aviv.
“We assessed how we can influence the industry. In the beginning we were thinking very much on the production floor, and then we understood that we need to go upstream to talk with the brands. We understood we needed to talk to the designers and the influencers. We need to become the operating systems. We asked ourselves what is the right marketing vehicle to deliver these messages and interact with the audience.”
The company realized that brands were not coming to the fashion and textile trade shows, where Kornit was showcasing its technologies, Samuel explains, so they tried to figure out how to “go up in the value chain,” which they soon realized was at fashion week.
“We knew we are going to be the next operating system, and we saw ourselves as changing the industry, so we decided, instead, that we were going to run our own event and not participate as sponsors.” Kornit Fashion Week in Tel Aviv has since expanded to locations around the world, including Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Milan, and Samuel says the next one will be in London in about a month.
“This was a real opportunity for us to really to deliver those messages about inclusion, about sustainability, about diversity, about on-demand, about creativity, and unleashing the creativity” which is the vision behind the next chapter of Kornit Digital,” he adds.
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Kornit continues to make an impact around the world. Last month, the company joined forces with not-for-profit social enterprise Fashion-Enter to open an innovation center in London. Earlier this year, the company raised $25 million and launched a state-of-the-art ink manufacturing in southern Israel.
Unveiling new print systems
Kornit Digital pioneered the single-step digital textile print system, first within direct-to-garment (DTG) production and later in direct-to-fabric production. The DTG platform is considered a future game-changer for the mainstream mass production of fashion and apparel in a community that has been constrained by old-fashioned, polluting methods of production.
During the press event, Kornit unveiled the new Kornit Apollo direct-to-garment (DTG) digital system, which uses Kornit’s MAX technology, to offer high retail quality with full automation control and integrated smart curing processes, utilizing tech from Germany’s Tesoma, a textile dryer company recently acquired by Kornit. While some designers are already using these printers, they won’t be available to most customers until 2023.
“As the design, technology, and fashion worlds converge design, there’s a tremendous opportunity now created. Kornit is writing the operating system for fashion – and today, we are introducing game-changing technology for mass production that will offer a powerful alternative to screen printing,” says Samuel.
Kornit also unveiled its Atlas MAX Poly DTG production system, a DTG printing solution, predicted to transform the professional and recreational sports apparel and teamwear markets, which suffer from limitations due to the mass customization of polyester, Kornit said. The technology targets the athletic apparel market’s reliance on synthetic, polymer-based fabrics, according to Kornit’s Chief Marketing Officer Omer Kulka.
The company’s systems also incorporate Kornit’s XDi decorative applications, creating new styles for multiple effects and unlimited combinations such as threadless embroidery, 3D simulation, and high-density vinyl.
“There is a major change that’s happening and that’s self-expression. The Z generation would like to express themselves. They want to be unique, creative. They don’t want to wear the same things their friends are wearing. They would like to be the visual. And for that they need variety, more customization, even personalization,” Samuel tells NoCamels.
As the fashion world continues to grapple with the new normal of digitization and trends accelerated by the pandemic, Kornit’s printers can customize and personalize for the masses while making the production of fashion and textiles as sustainable as possible through on-demand production that includes zero overproduction, zero water waste, and zero carbon emissions.
The four-day Kornit Fashion Week is being attended by designers, retailers, e-commerce heavyweights, and others, demonstrating the convergence of design, technology, and fashion, which are central elements to Kornit’s strategy.
Designer Alon Livne, the famed Israeli designer who has dressed the likes of Neta Barzilai and Beyonce, will close out this year’s Fashion Week unveiling a collection he made using Kornit technology.