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Royal Academy and YR STORE Collaboration Produces One-off Designs Using Epson Technology

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Visitors to the Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens Festival in the UK were offered the opportunity to create and print their own special customized t-shirts. The live interactive T-shirt printing pop-up, run by print specialists YR STORE (www.yrsto.re), used the latest Epson direct-to-garment printer and featured artwork and images by Royal Academy Schools' students, tutors and associated artists.

YR STORE's unique interactive printed garment concept lets customers create personalized clothing on easy-to-use touch-screen terminals, then send the finished design for printing on Epson SureColor printers - while they wait. With permanent retail set-ups in Topshop's Oxford Street store, YR STORE also specializes in experiential and corporate events, working for a number of leading brands such as Nike and Google. YR STORE founder Tim Williams says: "Designing and creating your own T-shirt is such a fun and engaging experience. We were very excited when the Royal Academy approached us with a view to collaborating for this event, we couldn't wait to make it happen."

The Royal Academy Schools is situated in the heart of the Royal Academy and is the only free three-year postgraduate art course in the UK. It receives no government funding so relies on the generous support of it patrons and sponsors, such as Epson, and its own fund-raising activities. Mark Hampson, Head of Materials Processes, RA Schools, said: "The Royal Academy Schools has had a long and fruitful collaborative relationship with Epson. This includes the unique luxury of its own purpose-built Epson Digital Media Suite, which all the students have access to. The idea of designing and printing our own t-shirts as part of the one day fund-raising event was very exciting and we were delighted to be working with Epson and YR STORE on the project."

Given a prime spot in the Burlington Gardens Gallery foyer, the YR STORE set-up and print booth was managed by YR STORE Production Manager Dan Hughes and included three touch-screen terminals, a heat press and an Epson SureColor SC-F2000 direct-to-garment printer. Dan says: "The SureColor SC-F2000 is the perfect option for live event printing. It is portable, easy to set-up and use and is extremely reliable. It provides superb output quality in super-fast time - printing a T-shirt in 27 seconds! Everyone's amazed when they first see it in action and feel the print quality. Expectations are more than matched. It is the perfect companion to our interactive design process and, combined with RA artwork, the results on the day were fantastic."

Using the touch-screens, customers were able to select one of the many images supplied by RA Schools' students, tutors and artists, which they could customize and personalize to produce their own unique design. The T-shirt was then printed and heat pressed and ready-to-wear within minutes. Over the course of the day around 150 T-shirts were printed - all individual works of art.

Mark says: "It was a hugely successful and well-received festival and the T-shirt printing was a real hit. It was great to work with Epson and YR STORE on this project and Dan was fantastic to work with - creative, knowledgeable, attentive to detail and good fun too! I look forward to working together again in the future, as the Epson/YR STORE/RA collaboration was a very natural, creative fit."