March 23, 2022
The decorated-apparel industry has long been recognized as a place where creativity, innovation and giving back have become defining hallmarks of the community at large, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected everyone — regardless of occupation or industry — in the last two years.
To recognize industry members who have best represented the ideals of creativity, innovation and humanitarianism, Impressions recently recognized winners of its inaugural Lifetime Achievement and Community Service Awards at Impressions Expo Long Beach, which was held Jan. 21-23 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.
The Impressions Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes historically innovative apparel decoration. It’s a way to celebrate apparel-decorating excellence of the past with the goal of encouraging today’s decorators to follow their passions and pursue innovation and quality in their embellishment execution.
A panel of judges were convened to consider multiple entries, and criteria included the following:
• Skill required at the time of decoration
• Technical innovation
• Complexity involved in the reproduction of the decorated image(s)
• Finished quality of the work
The judges unanimously named longtime apparel decorator and repeat Impressions Awards winner Andy Anderson of Anderson Studio, Nashville, Tennessee, as the winner of the Impressions Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of sustained decorating excellence.
“When it came to choosing the very first Impressions Lifetime Achievement Award, Andy was the hands-down right decision,” says Marcia Derryberry, a contest judge and former editor in chief of Impressions. “Having worked directly with the Impressions Awards competition for more than 30 years, I saw Andy’s entries consistently take home the hardware. Andy and his team’s dedication to technical excellence is evident in their four-color and simulated-process skills. The natural adaptation of full-color reproduction on garments is second to none. And Andy, a humble and kind man, has given so much inspiration to generations of screen printers over the years that it adds to this well-deserved accolade.”
During his time as a decorator, Anderson became known for perfecting simulated-process printing, flawlessly decorating T-shirts for musicians such as Josh Turner, Michelle Wright, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and more. The skin tones and details he achieved via the printing process were regularly the envy of other decorators.
In a pre-recorded acceptance speech, Anderson recalled how he got started in apparel decorating in 1971, with a hand-cut stencil printed on a shirt over an old wooden coat case. He thanked his staff, suppliers, associates and industry friends he worked with during his time as a screen printer.
“Thanks to everyone at Impressions and all those who were along for our journey,” he said. “I’m forever grateful and flattered to be honored with this Lifetime Achievement Award.
Special thanks to Derryberry, Richard Greaves and M&R’s Michelle Moxley for lending their expertise to judging the Impressions Lifetime Achievement awards.
After enduring some of the most difficult times in our nation’s history during the past two years, we’ve heard countless stories of the decorated-apparel industry — both suppliers and decorators — putting others first through philanthropy or humanitarian action in the interest of sustaining the well-being of businesses or individuals in their communities, region or the entire country.
After a month-long nomination process, a separate panel of judges convened to vote for a winner of the Impressions Community Service Award. Criteria included the following:
• Service affecting the world; local or regional community; or garment-printing community
• Service beneficiary and level of need
• Level of the project’s philanthropy
• Level of altruism
The winner of the Impressions Community Service Award is Donald Meeker of Summit Safety LLC dba HiVis Supply. The company sells high-visibility clothing for various industries and companies, along with doing embellishment and printing. Summit Safety gave back to its local community by working primarily with two charities: AMI Kids and Operation Heart F.E.L.T.
AMI Kids is a non-profit dedicated to helping youth develop into responsible and productive citizens. The organization’s mission is to protect public safety and positively impact as many youth as possible through the efforts of a diverse and innovative staff.
Operation Heart F.E.L.T. is a non-profit that provides nutritious meals to students and their siblings on weekends, holidays and extended school breaks. Taking the stance that every child deserves the advantages that good nutrition provides to physical, emotional and intellectual development, the organization identifies low-income families for its services.
Under the guidance of Donald and Lisa Meeker, Summit Safety has donated about $60,000 in products, equipment, food, time and money to both organizations. Employees have volunteered to pack meals with Operation Heart F.E.L.T. for hundreds of local children who would otherwise go without food on weekends. In the last 10 months, Summit Safety donated more than $40,000 in products to AMI Kids to help keep kids safe while learning trades, helping the organization save money on supplies.
Special thanks to judges Rick Roth of Ink Kitchen, Kriya Stevens of econscious and Eric Solomon of Night Owls Print Shop for judging entries for the Impressions Community Service Awards.
For more details on Impressions’ future awards programs, please visit impressionsmagazine.com and follow Impressions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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