Innovation in the textile industry has brought about products like clothing with sensors that track your heart rate, fitness, stress rate and more. Today, you can connect your t-shirt to your mobile app, and you get your little digital personal trainer. Basically, tracking your workout progress was never easier than it is today.
Working as a custom sportswear manufacturer from Europe, we thought about doing something similar. But under the condition that we only use our textile crafting skills. No apps and no strings attached, literally.
So we made a product that tracks your weight loss progress in the long run. It doesn‘t track your heart rate or anything like that. It simply changes colour as an indication of how far you‘ve progressed.
So what product are we talking about? Leggings.
Custom All Over Print Leggings
When stretched. they are dark fluo pink or dark fluo green. In fact, the more you stretch them, the more they‘ll show their fluorescence. Therefore, the less fluorescent and more black their colour, further down the weight-loss path you are. No sensors, no processors. All you need is your own natural sensory processing.
So what‘s the catch?
The catch is in dye sublimation printing. It is an essential part of the colour-changing property of our little invention. Ok. Here‘s how we did it.
First, we dyed the lycra fabric in fluorescent colours (pink or green). Then, we trimmed the fabric so it‘s ready for sewing.
But before the fabric for the leggings-to-be made its way to the sewing machines, we did this little trick. We ran it through the dye sublimation calender and, like the Rollin Stones, painted it black.
That means that when they‘re not stretched at all, the black on these leggings will stay black. Stretching them will reveal the original colour of the fabric more and more. And that‘s how you get to know if your legs have gotten thinner after weeks of exercise.
And none of this wouldn‘t be possible if we weren‘t working as the private label sportswear manufacturer for 15 years. Because when you have to offer ready-made products regularly, you have to experiment as much as possible. That‘s the only way you‘ll be able to offer something new to your clients.
This means that you can consider FUSH your leggings fabric supplier. That’s because we have the capacity to make 2.5 tonnes of fabric a day!
For those of you not familiar with some terms that appeared in this text, read on.
What Are Dye Sublimation Printers and Calenders?
Dye sublimation printers and dye sublimation calenders are machines that offer a great alternative to conventional dyeing of synthetic fabric. The way they work is the following:
Dye sublimation printers use special inks and special paper. The inks change their physical state from solid to gaseous under high temperatures. The paper is heat resistant so once printed on with the special inks, it can be exposed to high temperatures without the risk of burning.
Once this paper is printed on, it is fed into the dye sublimation calender together with the fabric it‘s supposed to transfer the ink to. The dye sublimation calender is basically a heat press and it will allow for the magic heat transfer to happen. Once the paper and the fabric exit the press, the paper will be blank and the fabric will retain the ink.
Monti Antonio T120 heat calander for dye sublimation at our Belgrade clothing factory. This is how we manage to apply colour to polyester materials in a sustainable way.
Benefits of Dye-Sublimation: Longevity and Minimal Water Consumption
By applying colour to the fabric in this way, the inks penetrate the fabric strands on a molecular level and make for the more permanent colours. They will definitely stay intact after multiple washes. This is great because it extends the life cycle of the clothes and makes us wear them longer.
What‘s really great about this fabric colouring method is that it uses almost no water (5ml of water from the ink is all it takes to dye 1kg of synthetic fabric). Compare it to the conventional way of dyeing, which uses up to 200 l per kg of fabric, and you‘ll see the stark difference.
Sadly, this method doesn‘t yield great results with the natural fibres so it‘s only really applicable for custom leggings manufacturers or any sportswear manufacturers for that matter. We say this because synthetic fibres will always have better moisture-wicking properties when compared to natural ones.
So if you‘re a sportswear or yoga wear brand, chin up. This is the way to run your business a tad more sustainably.