The ifolor and Switcher success story
The ideal partner for the further processing of photo T-shirts
Launching a new product means fitting many different jigsaw pieces together. But first, the right technical infrastructure needs to be established. For our photo T-shirts, finding a suitable partner was the number one priority. The hunt was on for the ideal supplier of high-quality, customisable T-shirts that can be worn for a variety of occasions – and Switcher fit the bill perfectly.
High quality standards have always been our number one focus in all matters. So there were several points to consider when choosing a new partner to launch the T-shirt:
- A customisable design and excellent print quality.
- The ability to print a photo directly onto the textile surface on the front and reverse of the T-shirt, rather than using a photo film.
- A comfortable fit and soft feel, together with impeccable image quality.
- A special process for printing directly onto the fabric, to make contours, gradients and contrasts sharp and photorealistic.
- A range of templates (ifolor in-house) for customers to choose from that can be printed onto the textiles.
The partner: Switcher
Switcher was founded in 1981 by student Robin Cornelius. The company soon became a pioneer in the manufacture of high-quality and fairly produced basics. In 2002, Switcher became the first textile brand in the world to equip its textiles with a traceability code.
Switcher’s production facilities are located in the Indian clothing mecca of Tirupur. Its production chain is transparent and certified to international standards. The family business uses only renewable energy for textile production and relies on yarns made from recycled PET bottles or post-industrial cotton waste.
Different products – with a similar ethos and values
Values that connect us
Our two companies might appear very different at first glance, but they have a lot in common too.
Since 1981, Switcher has been known for basics of exceptional quality. The Switcher brand stands for durability, fair working conditions, environmentally friendly production and social engagement. The company has set itself the target of manufacturing its entire collection from recycled or organic materials by 2026. Its current collection already includes over 20 items made from 100% recycled materials.
ifolor has been offering photos and customisable photo products since 1961. We maintain a long tradition of sustainable, on-site product development and production to Swiss quality standards. Carefully crafted products are our driving force. ifolor is 100% Swiss – and this is true of every step of the production process. We use state-of-the-art technology to produce photo products at our headquarters in Kreuzlingen. We are very aware of our responsibility to protect and preserve the environment, and are driven by environmental considerations right from the product development phase. Our partners and suppliers play a key role here, and so we actively involve them in our business activities.
The biggest challenges
Finding sustainable, high-quality T-shirts at a fair price was a challenge. Short supply routes were also an important factor in our search. Bearing all this in mind, Switcher emerged as the clear favourite. Acquiring a new machine was the biggest challenge in incorporating the photo T-shirt into the ifolor range. We had to establish new work processes in order to integrate the new print technology.
Switcher stood out because of its sustainable, entrepreneurial approach, the fact that it is a trusted Swiss brand, and its high quality at fair prices.
There are a range of printing techniques that can be used depending on the purpose. We opted for direct printing since this produces by far the most photorealistic results and is most comfortable for the wearer since no foils or films are used, which also makes the process more environmentally friendly. We print the fabrics with OEKO-Tex 100-certified inks, which are free from harmful chemicals and meet the legal requirements. Printing deep into the fibres means that the printed image stays on the fabric even after multiple washes.
Step by step
Each step towards the customer’s final photo T-shirt
- First the T-shirt is treated with a special primer, which ensures the inks properly adhere to the fabric and results in exceptional colour rendering.
- Once this is dry, the T-shirt is ready to be printed.
- The customer’s image is applied directly to the T-shirt using an inkjet printer.
- Once the inks are dry, the T-shirt is ready to be packaged and dispatched.
- High-quality photo T-shirts
- 100% organic Fairtrade cotto
- For women, men and children
- Sizes: XS to 3XL, children 2-12 years
- Single jersey fabric, 170 g/m²
- Can be printed on the front or reverse
- Design options for customers
- Washable at 40 °C
- Delivery within five working days
- A strong, reliable partnership with Switcher