A Return to In-Person: Impressions Expo - Long Beach

First major decorated apparel exhibition since the COVID-19 pandemic started



Johnny Shell


Interested parties can go to the Impressions Expo website to register to attend the event.



Next week, the Impressions Expo (formerly the Imprinted Sportswear Show) returns to the Long Beach Convention Center (Long Beach, CA). Scheduled from January 21-23, 2022, the show is one of the largest gatherings of apparel decorators, featuring hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees. There is still a need to connect and keep businesses moving forward; however, the continued spread of COVID-19 and its impact to the apparel community have influenced how the show organizers will execute the much-anticipated return to Long Beach.


Impressions Expo - Long Beach has historically provided a way for attendees to connect face-to-face with exhibitors to gain insights on technology developments and capabilities, source blank goods for the products they offer, learn tricks of the trade to improve operational efficiency, and compare products side-by-side to help make the best decisions for their business. Networking with industry peers to develop new relationships; seeing the manufacturers of soft goods and printing technology all in one spot; participating in educational opportunities; and (not to mention) being held in beautiful Long Beach, California are the biggest advantages of the show. Many may wonder how the organizers will make the venue as safe as possible as we continue moving through the difficulties of a global pandemic.


It is obvious that the health and safety for all is the top priority in returning to any in-person show. Emerald Expositions, the organizer of the Impressions Expo, is constantly updating their health and safety policies based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of California, and local Los Angeles County health authorities. One important note is that all registered attendees and exhibitors will be required to provide a proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result conducted within 24-hours for antigen tests and within 48-hours for PCR tests. In addition, all registered attendees and exhibitors will be required to wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status when indoors at the Long Beach Convention Center from move-in through move-out—as well as when they are at other show related activities (workshops, seminars, etc.).



Impressions Expo - Long Beach Show Highlights

Exhibitors include top manufacturers of screen printing, embroidery, heat transfer, direct-to-garment (DTG), and dye-sublimation printing and curing equipment as well as a full range of soft-goods manufacturers like BELLA+CANVAS, Hanes, and Next Level Apparel.


There are also numerous educational opportunities. Workshops are being held on Thursday and Friday (Jan. 20-21) and offer more in-depth, hands-on opportunities versus regular seminars, which run Friday through Sunday (Jan. 21-23). Free 45-minute sessions are offered in the Onsite Learning area of the show floor. These feature a full range of topics from marketing success to understanding new and innovative technology. Shop Talk, another free opportunity, offers brief 20-minute sessions with industry experts that are willing to share their expertise. Finally, the Innovation Zone will show the entire manufacturing life cycle of a printed garment starting with apparel production through to the packaged product.


Anything’s Better Than Nothing

The Impressions Expo - Long Beach event will be the first major decorated apparel exhibition held in the US since the COVID-19 pandemic started, so it is no surprise that some companies have decided not to exhibit at this time.


Of note, the M&R Companies will not be exhibiting; however, many of their dealers will be at the show. In a video released on December 22, 2021, Danny Sweem (CEO, The M&R Companies) stated that due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the company “has made the difficult decision to not be present in Long Beach.” He emphasized that this show had historically been one of the largest and most important trade shows in the industry and the company is committed to supporting the Impressions Expo in the future.


Also of note, Kornit Digital will not be exhibiting either. In a statement released on January 13, 2022 by the company, “Kornit Digital has made the difficult decision to withdraw its participation in Impressions Expo Long Beach. However, we remain committed to serving the marketplace, our customers, and their on-demand production needs, and will be announcing alternative events shortly, so stay tuned.”


On a positive note:

  • Brother International Corp. will show their DTG line of GTX printers.
  • Epson America, Inc. will undoubtedly show its SureColor F3070 DTG printer, as well as a selection of their SureColor F-series dye-sublimation printers.
  • OvalJet, who makes their debut at the Impressions Expo will showcase their multi-pallet oval design of DTG printer.


Additional exhibitors of note include OmniPrint International Inc., who will display their award-winning line of DTG printers; and Roland DGA, will showcase the new Texart XT-640S direct-to-garment printer and their new VersaSTUDIO BN-20A desktop printer/cutter.


While the Long Beach show may not be the same as previous years, it is definitely a good sign for the decorated apparel market that the show will be held in 2022. After two years without a gathering, I’m sure that this community is eager to return to Long Beach in whatever form the show will take. I know I am.


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