Meet the Rising Stars: Tyler Dowdy
Tyler Dowdy shares his knowledge and standardized process across Abercrombie and Fitch Co.
Senior IDC Technician | Abercrombie and Fitch Co. | Columbus, Ohio
Age: 32 | Years in the Industry: 5
Community Involvement: Active at Grove City Community Church, leading the music program, singing, and playing guitar; supports the American Lung Association, fundraising and participating in the annual Fight for Air Climb
Tyler Dowdy began his specialty printing career “catching garments at the end of the dryer” at a contract print shop, diving into apparel decoration with the desire to learn everything about the medium. Always up for a challenge, Dowdy quickly learned how to do specialty prints, create samples, manage staff, and train new team members, writing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and creating the educational training used for onboarding. In his current role at Abercrombie and Fitch Co., Dowdy manages his department, trains staff, assists in the development of graphics for seasons in advance, works to standardize print processes, and more.
“Tyler is one of the most technically sound printers in the US,” says his nominator, Nathan Leber of Leber Design and Print, who first employed Dowdy in the print industry. The two now share a workspace. “Tyler started with zero print knowledge. After three years, he was my right-hand man. Now, he is not only a print expert, but also an expert on dyeing and wash techniques, separations, and management. You can’t help but feel more positive when he’s around, and he has leadership skills that are second to none.”
You’ve crafted SOPs, educational training/onboarding processes, and technique books for standardizing print processes across a worldwide brand. Tell us more about your passion for education, training, and streamlining workflow.
I attended Ashland University for art education. My entire educational career revolved around teaching and helping others succeed, so when I found my place in the screen printing world, I was excited to have a position that required me to troubleshoot and help others work through issues and techniques. Something I’ve had to learn is how to make informational notes that other printers can recognize and implement. It’s easy to talk with other screen printers about issues that might arise or products they might be familiar with; the test is communicating to designers and others involved in the process. The challenge arises when dealing with things like language barriers, working with an international brand with global offices, product availability, and knowledge of said product or technique. I’ve been involved in developing a process to unify the language of technique for projects between our design team and international production facilities. Seeing the fruit of these efforts has been satisfying and has sparked interest in pursuing these initiatives further.
Simulated process, spot process, four-color process, HD, flock, and foil are just a few of the garment printing techniques you’ve mastered: What technique would you say is your favorite to execute? Can you tell us about a specific job in which you used it?
Being up to date on new product and visual trends is a requirement, and staying on my toes is always a test I’ve enjoyed. I have had a variety of technique prints come my way that needed “matched” and this daily challenge is what keeps me striving to learn, experiment, and develop new techniques. In short, the satisfaction of getting that “good strike” completed is motivation enough for me to continue learning and moving forward.
There is nothing quite like pulling off a technique print. One of my favorite prints I’ve worked on was a high-density print for which we had an order of 10,000. The sampling of this wasn’t the hard part, either; it was figuring out a way to get this off a press in one rotation and en masse. Three screens and several tests on different products later, we had our print ready and approved for production – a nice monochromatic, high-density print with fine text and a high gloss finish.
Read more about Screen Printing's 2018 Rising Stars Award winners.