Masterclass Apparel's bold graphics and prints are an integral part of our collections, which feature colorful prints with intricate details. To capture this rich detail on our fabrics, we use a process called sublimation where the artwork is printed using special ink which, when heated, bonds directly to the fabric fibers. Sublimated prints resist shrinking, fading, and cracking - the graphics remain vibrant throughout the lifetime of the garment.
Our sublimation process is handled by Simon Song. He has over 20 years of experience in the printing and sublimation industry. We recently spoke with Simon about his work and his views on industry trends. The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you do?
DyeSubStore has been here for 20 years. I started this company as equipment supplier for the printing industry. Over the years, many of our customers requested that we provide fabric printing services. Realizing that we already had all the resources to start our own dye sublimating company, we heeded our customer’s requests and transitioned into a business that provided a large variety of functionalities.
Who are your clients?
Most of our clients are from corporate accounts and from sports apparel companies. People come to us not only for the papers and the consumables, but also for our printing and pressing services. Some clients are printing service providers who come to us when they have a sudden rash of orders and require backup printers or when when they have a broken printer and require additional machines to fill in for their orders. I also receive clients who already own their own dye sublimation printers, but come to us when they need larger formatted printers. For all of these needs that our clients come to us for, we have been able provide and satisfy.
How do you differ from your competitors?
Although working with sublimation paper for fabric is the majority of our business, we also cover other parts of sublimation inventory, such as working with sublimation paper for hard substates such as wood, metals, and tiles. As a paper supplier who has provided all kinds sublimation papers throughout the years, my company has a greater understanding about how to use these papers and is well-experienced in the application of sublimation papers that are not only for used for clothing, but for also for other materials. Therefore, we are able to fulfill more types of sublimation requests from our customers and we are in a better position than some other dye sublimation printing shops.
Our company is also vertically integrated and we supply all the consumables and the services. Our turnaround time is much much faster and we can virtually run the shop 24/7, which makes our services fast and efficient.
What are some of the trends you see in the industry?
This may not be a trend throughout the industry, but I see that a lot of shops and businesses such as Masterclass Apparel are turning over to local businesses. Many of our clients used to bring printed fabrics from overseas places such as China and Vietnam several years back, but slowly, they have become more localized, doing things locally here.
How do you feel about the Masterclass Apparel brand?
One of the joys of working in the printing and dye sublimating industry is coming across all different types of designs throughout my career. It is refreshing to be working with new visuals all the time and I think Masterclass Apparel is one of the brands who has designs and patterns that are very unique and captivate my excitement. I really look forward to continuing to work with them.