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Highlights from the 2023 Textile Color Summit

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Datacolor’s first ever virtual Textile Color Summit brought together more than 1,300 textile and apparel professionals from over 55 countries and 300 different companies. This event featured 19 unique sessions hosted by esteemed industry leaders for a day of education, sharing and networking.

In the months leading up to the event, we asked our sales team and product managers what topics were currently top-of-mind for customers – and they resoundingly said that Sustainability, Optimizing Workflows and Adapting to New Challenges were the main obstacles that currently stand between brands, mills, suppliers and a streamlined color management process.

And so, we got to work connecting with experts – from color managers and quality control specialists, to designers and textiles manufactures – to create compelling summit sessions that would shine light on how these pros are successfully navigating the monumental challenges that face the industry today.

Below are 3 of the most impactful messages we heard during the Textile Color Summit.

Adapting to New Challenges

The textile industry has a delicate ecosystem that currently seems to be in a constant state of fluctuation. In the summit sessions that revolved around “Adapting to New Challenges”, we heard from veteran industry professionals who have successfully overcome recent supply chain disruptions, tariffs, raw material shortages, new government policies and more.

The pandemic has caused lasting effects throughout the supply chain. How can I get my products into the hands of my customers faster?

A: “Every company that makes something competes as a supply chain. And when the long supply chain that spread all the way around the world collapsed, companies began scurrying to find closer alternatives, shorter shipping times, and smaller quantities.

The answer for some companies is near shoring production.”

– Mike Todaro, Managing Director, America Apparel Producers’ Network, “Uncovering the Obstacles of Nearshoring”


More than ever, brands and their suppliers are facing pressure to implement more sustainable practices, whether it’s because of government requirements, by their own choice, or due to consumer demand. Through these sessions, we discovered how color professionals are navigating their sustainability initiatives.

How do I develop a production calendar that considers the new processes and extra steps we have to take to make more sustainable products and meet consumer demand?

A: “A new process is going to require a different schedule.

There’s the concept/design phase, development, and then the product decisions that get made in terms of color, style, product confirmations – all of that leading right up to the production start point.

This is where the challenge comes in.

Imagine if we had a process that allowed for a color decision or a material decision…be finalized well in advance of production. That would free up the whole issue of lead times and delivery schedules.”

– Jim Chi, Founder, Cascade Management Consulting, “Product Process and Sustainability Priorities”

Optimizing Workflows

Our workflow optimization sessions explored how color teams are using color management tools to streamline production, empower their vendors to make color decisions and enhance overall company growth through technology and innovation. An optimized workflow is an efficient workflow!

How do I leverage AI to shorten my color approval process and quickly meet trends?

A: “SmartMatch is a program that basically learns about how dyes perform on various materials so that it can give you smarter formulas the next time a similar color is going to be dyed. So in our scenario, let’s say it’s the next season and our dyer receives another brown shade or something similar, rather than just simply using the initial, what we call ‘primary dyes’, now SmartMatch will ask the question, “Have I done this color before?” And if I have, let’s start from that formula rather than starting from scratch. 

And so the first prediction ends up being something that has already been adjusted to, taking into account how those dyes actually work together. So now for our dyer, rather than taking eight attempts to get [a color] that can be submitted, maybe it only takes two or maybe even one. As their system learns about how those dyes work together, then they’re going see the number of shots to reach a submittable shade be reduced significantly.” 

– Ken Butts, Global Key Account Manager, Datacolor, “The Role of AI in the Textile Industry”

Watch All Textile Color Summit Sessions

If you’re interested in presenting during the 2024 Virtual Textile Color Summit in February, please contact us!
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