Printed vs. knitted

The most common technique for producing patterned tights is to print directly on the tights with color dye. This technique makes it possible to print basically any pattern and with very fine details. However, printed patterns are one-dimensional, which means they have a flat look and finish. When printed, the tights are placed on cylinders and color is pressed on each side separately, which makes it impossible to achieve a continuous and even pattern. This procedure also leads to printing edges, which can be seen on each side of the legs. 

When printed tights are stretched by wearing, the base color that is under the print will become visible. This leads to a faded look. The more they stretch, the more they fade. Meaning that the color is more intense on for example the foot than on the thighs.

A fairly new technique, 360 degree printing, has recently entered the game of pattern printing. This technique can improve the results of both color stretching and eliminate the printing edge entirely. Not many manufacturers in Italy offer this technique just yet, but STUDIO APHINO is anxiously waiting to try out this technique as soon as possible.

The other option for producing patterned tights is to knit the pattern. This technique includes multiple yarns – one for each color of the pattern, as well as a base color. This leads to the patterned areas being thicker than the base of the tights, which results in a dimensional texture. This technique is a more complex procedure and it sets certain limitations when it comes to design. The patterned areas can only cover a certain amount of the tights, to keep the balance between the base and the pattern. This balance is needed to avoid the tights getting rigid and uncomfortable to wear. With the knitting technique the pattern colors stay dense while wearing, meaning the colors stay vibrant and saturated.

STUDIO APHINO are confident in their decision of applying the knitting technique to their premiere collection The Diamond Tights. Yet curious of the future possibilities for printed tights. Psst! They might already have a couple of designs ready for experimenting with the printed technique.