Circulate: Innovative design and printing

"The key to circulation is to create products that are fit for purpose and can be reused numerous times"

When applying the second principle of the Circular Economy (circulate products and materials at their highest value) to the clothing industry, we identified the main areas to help achieve high circulation are in design and the printing processes that we use.

Timeless Design

We aim to design products that are physically durable, emotionally durable, and that can be remade and recycled at the end of their use.

Physical durability

Combining material choices and garment construction,  in order to create highly durable products that are fit for purpose, can resist damage and wear over long periods of time.

Emotional durability

Applying strategies that increase and maintain a product’s relevance and desirability to a user, or multiple users, over time. Eg. Using timeless colours, designs + logos that can be used for multiple occasions and events.

Remake + recyclability

Designing products so that they can be disassembled and their components and materials be remade or recycled into new products. Currently there are no great End of Life solutions for clothing products but what we know like in all recycling is that separating materials is the tough part. We therefore try to stay away from blended products.

Clothing printing processes

There are a number of different clothing printing processes that are optimal for different applications and all have varying environmental impacts. We weigh up choosing the process that will be vibrant and long lasting but also consider its cost on the planet.  

Sublimation

Hailed as the “greenest” printing process  we combine it with recycled polyester to get a great overall product.

In sublimation, the inks (including Hi-Vis inks) are fused into the fabric as opposed to sitting on top of the fabric such as screen printing. The process not only gives fabrics a softer touch after the printing, but it is also very durable. The colour remains strong in outdoor lighting and after extensive washing, so it’s the ideal process for sportswear and school clothing. 

  • NO TOXINS are used in the dye sublimation process thus protecting workers and the environment
  • ZERO WASTE as no dye will get into the water system
  • SAVING WATER Inkjet jobs can consume as little as 20 litres of water per kg of printed substrate – for cotton this can be as much as 10,000 litres per kg

Screen printing (water based)

Most people aren't aware that most screen printers use Plastisol ink, which is essentially liquid plastic. In this ink and when cleaning up after a lot chemicals are used.

At LUCKE, we offer water based inks that have been granted approval by the Soil Association in the UK, having successfully met the requirements of the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) for non-organic chemical inputs for use in organic textile processing.

Although depending on your project brief these inks can’t always be used, we aim to educate our clients on water based inks and try to point them in that direction. 

We still have the capability to use Plastisol and do so when the project requires it, as we want our prints to be vibrant and long lasting.

Embroidery

This is a timeless, classic, process that offers a premium, long lasting finish. We work with Madeira threads that are market leaders in this space and have a strong sustainability focus.

Classic Rayon, is currently the main type of thread that is used, which is made of  rayon viscose that is made from renewable raw materials 

  • STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, product class I (suitable for babies/toddlers) 
  • Made in Germany
  •  More than 400 durable and wash-resistant colours 
  • Natural, unique shine and soft feel

Madeira has also developed newer sustainable threads that we hope to use in the near future.

  • Polyneon Green: Made from 100% Global Recycled Standard (GRS) post-consumer PET bottles 
  • Sensa Green: Made from 100 % TENCEL Lyocell fibres that are full recyclable

Supacolour transfer

This process uses water based inks to create a heat press transfer print that can have multiple vibrant colours with gradients and fine detail. 

  • Great alternative to screen printing, especially for small runs with lots of colours
  • Uses water-based inks without harsh or toxic chemicals
  • Transfers come on recyclable paper
  • Transfers made to last , being tested for over 50 washes and still look great.
  • MOQ = 10

Direct to garment (DTG)

This process is the “new- school” in printing technology and allows us to offer a print on demand service with no minimums. Watch this space!

  • Eco-friendly water based inks
  • Unlimited colour combinations
  • No MOQ or set up costs 
  • Quick and easy design process