Made in USA: A New Reality?

Video 1: Panel discussion on “Made in USA”

Recording of a seminar on “Made in USA” hosted by the Texworld USA in January 2015. Panelists include:

  • Pete Bauman, Senior VP, Burlington Worldwide / ITG
  • Joann Kim, Director, Johnny’s Fashion Studio
  • Tricia Carey, Business Development Manager, Lenzing USA
  • Michael Penner, CEO, Peds Legwear
  • Moderator: Arthur Friedman, Senior Editor, Textiles and Trade, WWD

Video 2: Standing Still-The real story of the North Carolina textile industry

It may also be interesting to link this video with the article How a U.S. textile maker came to embrace free trade from page 3 to 9 in the reading packet.

Video 3: Panel discussion on apparel “Made in NYC”

The video is a recorded panel discussion hosted by the Texworld USA in July 2015 on the topic of apparel “Made in NYC”. Most panelists have years of experiences working in NYC as a fashion designer, including:

  • Eric Johnson, Director, Fashion & Arts Teams Center for Economic Transformation, NYC Economic Development Corporation
  • Erin Kent, Manager of Programs at The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
  • Michelle Feinberg, NY Embroidery Studio
  • (The event was moderated by Arthur Friedman, Senior Editor, Textiles and Trade, WWD)

What’s your view on the future of textile and apparel “Made in USA”?

[Discussion is closed for this post]

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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

44 thoughts on “Made in USA: A New Reality?”

  1. Video #2
    The first half of this video explains the declination of the textile and apparel industry specifically in North Carolina during the 1990s until 2005. North Carolinians were interviewed and asked whether or not they believed the industry still existed there, most of them responded by saying that the textile industry in NC was “gone.” Between 1992 and 2005 160,000 jobs were lost and numerous factories across the state were closed. The Multi Fiber Agreement ended on December 31, 2005 which restricted the amount of foreign produced textile products that could be sold in the United States. Textile companies operating in North Carolina were so focused on competing with their neighbors next door that they essentially did not see the impending doom right in front of their faces. After the MFA ended, companies began shifting their manufacturing overseas. Jobs were lost and people were very upset. However, despite the devastating recession, some manufactures were able to rise from the ashes and figure out ways to stay open. Researchers found that even though there were closings and layoffs, over 1,400 textile companies still operated and are based out of NC. Tuscarora textiles began specializing in colored denim and colorfast yarns to differentiate themselves from the competition and gain a more competitive advantage. Glen Raven transitioned from a hosiery business and reinvented itself to drive growth by producing Sunbrellas (umbrellas for outdoor furniture that did not fade). The CEO of Glen Raven says that companies need to reinvent themselves every 5 to 10 years or else they are “just loafing.” NC State never lost hope and they had their largest graduating class in 2012 of 296 students, students that bet their future on the T&A industry. “Made in America means a higher quality,” says Rachel of Mitt’s Knits. She also says made in America means a 21st century approach to design. This is their companies competitive advantage. After watching the video, I believe there is hope for the future of the T&A industry in America. Slowly but surely I believe companies are trickling back to the US to take advantage of technologies we have that other countries do not. The best example and most telling fact from this video is the factory that works at 97% efficiency compared to 80% overseas. People and machines are what make this factory so efficient. I believe our generation, Gen Y, wants to see more products made domestically.

      1. To me, the sock mill using technology from WWII seems like an innovative and creative way to stay afloat in the T&A industry. Although they can only produce 1 sock every 9 minutes, it is an extremely niche market because they exclusively make socks. I am not positive if it will survive in the long run but the women running it now seem to be passionate about the business which is what really matters at the end of the day.

  2. I found the video on the North Carolina textile industry to be very interesting and even inspiring. One thing that I took away from the video is that “Made in the USA” textiles and apparel are not obsolete, and even at the worst times, there were still 1,400 mills working in North Carolina. Factory owners attribute the downfall of the industry to the missed warning signs of an international takeover. Although many jobs were lost, and factories closed, there is still optimism circulating throughout the industry. The 2006 study commissioned by the Department of Commerce in North Carolina revealed that mills were alive and well, and more diversified than ever. Looking back on how the media covered the issue, I feel as if they may have over exaggerated a problem and sent it into a larger downward spiral than it actually was.

    Throughout the video, various factory owners mentioned the vital changes they undertook to keep their companies afloat. First, diversification and was key. Companies could not rely on products that gave them success years ago, but rather look for new products that showed promise. For example, the Glen Raven company completely sold their hosiery products and readjusted their focus on their new Sunbrella textile. Furthermore, specialization gave companies a way to provide a unique product that the competition did not provide. Tuscarora company did this when they stopped producing typical white cotton and moved onto unique, colored denim that set them apart. Recently, the media has begun to notice a growth in the industry in North Carolina- and I agree. I think that the new paths of diversification and specialization can take the North Carolina, and even the American textile industry back into the spotlight for quality, domestically made products.

  3. The textile industry used to be the biggest industry that the state of North Carolina has ever known. It is sad to think that an industry that once employed hundreds of thousands of people became virtually extinct. After the Multi Fiber Agreement (MFA) ended in 2005, the NC textile companies started to manufacture their goods in oversea locations. These companies that were once so popular in this area were only focused on the competition from the textile mills right up the street, causing them to be blindsided by the rapidly increasing competition overseas. This was the ultimate downfall of this huge southern industry. It is such a shame that a once extremely successful and popular industry has completely diminished just because these companies could not appropriately adjust their business plan. Essentially, these southern textile mills were not prepared for the expansion of globalization.
    Despite these unfortunate mill closings and extensive layoffs, it is uplifting to hear that North Carolina is rebuilding the industry. The key to success, as one of the men in the video said, is diversification. They must now correct the mistakes they once made. In order to succeed this time around, textile mills need to adjust to the modern day industry. For example, one mill transitioned from their old ways of producing hosiery to now producing a textile called Sunbrella; it is unique, durable, and successful. It doesn’t fade or degrade even after years outside. I think this is the key to manufacturing in the US in the future. Companies must find a way to stay competitive and to stay on top of manufacturers oversees that are able to produce more competitively based on labor costs. Another mill was successful (right over the border in SC) based on the fact that they have built themselves to be the largest, most technologically advanced manufacturing facility in the world. They are so efficient that they can even compete with oversea manufacturers paying only .20 cents an hour. It is no longer impossible to compete with other T&A markets. There are ways to stay competitive and to be successful producing in the United States and North Carolina is paving the way for many other manufacturers to follow suit. Although this a small start in one state, I can see this trend prospering in the future leading to more production being done right here at home for fair wages, with great conditions, and producing even better products.

  4. North Carolina previously housed multiple textile factory’s which were a part of their culture. In recent years, many North Carolinians could not even name a single factory in their state. This is due to the rising international market. It is very interesting to see that textile factories in North Carolina were competing against each other rather than overseas factories. Due to them worrying about other factories within the state, they were not able to see that the real competition they should be afraid of was the international market. When the largest textile mill closed in 1999, it was evident that the textile industry in North Carolina was over.

    Many textile companies are now realizing that globalization is just bringing about a new way a business. Parkdale, one of the world’s largest textile mills, has proved many people wrong in that the U.S. is able to compete with global mills. It is sad that most of the North Carolina textile mills that closed, closed because they felt that they could not compete globally. I also find it interesting that these large textile mills that exist in North Carolina provide hundreds of jobs; these employees just need to be highly skilled in the textile making. I believe that people who are against international trade because they feel that it takes away U.S. jobs, should take this into consideration. Many textile companies blame their failure due to the fact that China for example, has cheap labor. In my opinion, companies just need to embrace change and realize that the Textile and Apparel Industry is changing, but this does not mean that there is not a place for them in the industry anymore.

  5. Video #3

    Arthur Friedman, the Senior Editor for Textile and Trade for WWD, led the panel discussion to assess manufacturing in New York City. The United States was ranked fifth amongst all of the sourcing destinations in the world. Increasing sourcing by volume in the next two years is one of the goals Erin Kent aspires to accomplish. Erin Kent, the Manager of Programs at The Council of Fashion Designers of America, is passionate to evolve the origins of where garments are manufactured. The CFDA is comprised of over five hundred fashion designers to help not only maintain the status of NYC being the fashion capital, but to examine challenges and develop programs to address manufacturing issues. In 2012, the CFDA launched a fashion initiative, the FMI grant, to provide NYC product facilities with advanced equipment, software, technology, and relocation opportunities to aid in the revival of US manufacturing. It was discussed that it will not be an immediate switch, but more of slow progression of the restoration of manufacturing in NYC. Commitment from designers and manufacturers is pivotal to improve and develop innovation. Within the next three to five years, Erin Kent expects to see changes in NYC manufacturing because of the growing consumer base to knowing where their garments are being sourced. Producing overseas in China was not what it was five to seven years ago, hence the anticipation of the growth in manufacturing in the USA. With a relatively low base, of roughly three to five percent of garments produced and sold in the USA, we can go nowhere but up. In my perspective, I see a myriad number of ambitious individuals who want not only change, but want what is the most efficient and effective methods for our country to achieve.

    1. I am glad you watched the panel discussion, which is quite inspiring. Agree with your observations. Plus, it seems to bring back “Made in NYC” as well as “Made in USA” will be affected by factors far more than just labor cost.

  6. People are at loss of where one of North Carolina’s largest industries has gone. The narrator of “Standing Still-The real store of the North Carolina textile industry,” said this realization came in 2012 when suddenly the unemployment rate was at its highest. The textile industry was vital to North Carolinians and has died a “slow death.” Over 160,000 jobs were gone putting many families in financial trouble. It is safe to say this industry was taken fore granted by the state’s population. There was no plan for US manufacturers to compete before it was too late.

    It all started when international manufacturing started to prove to be cheaper and more profitable for fashion companies. Once American textile companies started to catch on they did everything they could to keep their businesses afloat. However, this often involved outsourcing and replacing employees with machines. It is considered impossible to compete with foreign countries minimum wage to do otherwise. “Standing Still-The real store of the North Carolina textile industry,” is a very interesting video exploring the past and possible future of textile and apparel “Made in USA.”   

  7. Video #2:

    The textile industry in North Carolina diminished for its failure to be in competition with global industries. The textile plants had been in competition with one another instead of being prepared and knowledgeable for globalization. This is had been a similar problem not just in North Carolina, but in the entire U.S. It resulted in many employee layoffs and caused families to struggle. However, researchers at NC state found that there were 1400 textile companies still operating despite the massive layoffs. Its impossible for U.S. companies to compete with commodity textile industries is a common problem North Carolina faces. The video discusses how “change is inevitable” and thats something these textile factories must face as the world we live in is constantly changing. Embracing change seems to be the only way to face globalization and to stay in business. For example, “Sunbrella” is a global product that seems to fit the global market and be successful. Focusing on employee healthcare and wellness is something that increases employee productivity and success. This video proves that there is still a future in textiles and that there is variation of textiles like non-wovens, cut and sew, and natural fibers.

  8. Video #2

    Even with the loss of over 15,000 jobs in the textile industry in North Carolina, it is surprising to see the lack of knowledge communities have about how prevalent the state actually is in the industry. Like the video described, many companies are going directly abroad in order to find manufacturing factories like the Entrepreneur from Drexel. However, in reality, many inexpensive and quality manufacturing factories are directly in our backyard. As seen in the crowded career fair at the university, many unemployed Americans are willing and able to work in textile factories especially since it is so much a part of the state’s history. It is odd to me that there isn’t more buzz about more domestic textile factories. I think that if they made it more public, more companies would hopefully take advantage of producing goods and textiles in the USA, decreasing our imports and even possibly increasing our exports.

    It was also inspiring to me, at the end of the video, when the two women who were laid off in their previous factory had opened their own and started their own sock business. Since I’d like to start my own business some day, it is encouraging to see them take a run down old gas station into a small yet successful factory that produces 1 sock every 9 minutes. To be able to transform a space from nothing into a business that they can live off of is positive, especially the fact that they are working right at home in the USA. Videos like these can open American’s eyes to show them that it is possible to manufacture domestically.

    1. yes, the sock business was very interesting! It is not a typical high-tech driven business, but the company still survives, at least when the documentary was filmed. But it indeed inspires us to think about the future of “Made in USA” and all possible business models.

  9. In the second video it explains the decline of the textile and apparel industry especially in North Carolina during the 1990s until 2005. Many of the people from North Carolina were interviewed and asked if they believe the industry in fact does still existed there. Many of them answered saying that today they could not name one factory still in their state. They believe this is due to the increase in productions overseas. More factories in North Caroline began to close eventually leading to the largest textile mill being closed in 1999. This made it very clear that the textile industry in North Carolina was ending. This lead to many people losing their jobs. Nonetheless, despite the devastating recession, some manufactures were able to remain open. For example, Parkdale one of the world’s largest textile mills has defeated the odds and was able to remain in the U.S. and compete with the global mills. I believe that there is hope for the T&A industry in America, the video even stated that the factories in the states works at 97% efficiency rate compared to the 80% rate overseas. If more companies realized this and decided to come back to manufacturing in the states and take advantage of the new technologies we have that other countries do not we would be able to produce more “Made in America” apparel. In addition, the quality of the apparel would be higher and that should be what American want.

    1. just a correction: 2005 was the year when the textile and apparel quotas were removed (we will cover this topic in later part of the course). but the video describes the state of the textile industry beyond 2005. the documentary was actually filmed in 2012-2013.
      and good thinking on the future of made in USA

  10. North Carolina’s textile industry used to give jobs to over hundreds of thousands of workers. Making it the largest industry in North Carolina back then. Unfortunately, due to technology increasing and oversea work this changed quickly. Once the Multi Fiber Agreement (MFA) ended on December 31, 2005 (which restricted the amount of foreign textile products that could be sold in the United States), North Carolina’s textile companies realized it would be best to manufacture their goods overseas for many different benefits. They were only focusing on their competitor neighbors and weren’t interested in the foreign market. This gave North Carolina’s textile industry a huge competition with oversea manufactures. The people and especially workers didn’t want to see the whole industry go into corruption. Especially because these people were not expecting the expansion of globalization so quickly. But this didn’t stop North Carolina for wanting to rebuild and revamp the industry.
    In the video 2, one of the men who worked in the factories explained that they key to competition with the overseas manufactures was the game plan of diversification. They need adjust to all the technology around them and help them make the best possible products to stand out. This will also help them understand the mistakes they made previously and improve them quickly. They must stay competitive and look at other companies to decide which task to proceed with. One mill in North Carolina decided to start producing a new named Sunbrella for a more durable and unique textile. Still over 1,400 textile companies still operate and are based out of North Carolina. After watching this video and in the class discussions, I believe there is there is a huge future of the T&A industry in America. Consumers are extremely aware of this issue and want to purchases products from American companies. I believe companies are also seeing the benefits of using American advantage of technologies and resources to source their products here at home. The video even stated that American factories work at 97% efficiency compared to overseas working at 80%. This hopefully will show companies to start bringing the T&A industry back home and label “Made in America” garments!

    1. great comment! you can further link this video with our class discussions on the restructuring strategies adopted by the US textile industry: why these strategies are adopted and whether they have worked.

  11. I watched video #2, “Standing Still – The Real Story of the NC Textile Industry”. This video starts off with respondents saying things “What textile industry in North Carolina?”, “We just don’t have a textile industry anymore”, or “It’s gone” and leads into how the industry has declined immensely by 2006 and by 2012, it became clear that “people had no idea what happened to the single biggest industry the state had ever known”. It’s fairly shocking to me that this is the case as this industry is the reason so many companies and building were built. For example, the banking industry and all of their skyscrapers in Charlotte, NC was built from textile industry money. More examples include colleges all over the state. I think the introduction of the video was a strong one and really grasped my attention. I wanted to know more as to what happened with the textile industry in this state and why it declined.

    As it turns out and due to the ending of the Multi Fiber Agreement in 2005, many of the textile industries in this state focused on competing with their neighboring industries rather than their competition overseas. Unfortunately, this was the wrong decision for businesses and was the ultimate reason that the textile industry in NC diminished to almost nothing, leading to several layoffs and financial issues and no preparation for the growth in globalization. The documentary producer, Robert, was born into the textile industry with his family business. This business still exists in NC and the state itself is working to make a comeback in the textile industry. As the state is aware of its mistakes and knows diversification is what leads to success, they plan to make the proper changes and improvements in order to rebuild their textile industry and hopefully bring it back to what it once was—“the single biggest industry the state had ever known”.

    I was honestly not even aware that the textile industry was once so big in North Carolina. This video was very educational and opened by mind to the past and future of the textile industry in the United States, and especially in NC.

    1. great comment! based on the video, you can further think about the restructuring strategies adopted by the US textile industry as we discussed in the class: why these strategies were adopted and whether they have worked.

  12. After watching the video about the North Carolinian textile industry, I felt it was unique because you never really see just how the globalization of this industry truly affects individuals, communities, and in this case an entire state. The textile industry was a huge part of North Carolina’s economy, however once manufacturing over seas proved to be cheaper, there was a huge fear that the North Carolina industry was gone for good. The American industries tried to keep the business and the jobs local, but not only were they now competing with each other, but also the immensely cheap labor and product over seas.

    This huge issue resulted in massive lay offs and factory closings, a devastating loss for North Carolinians, many of whom had work in these factories for generations. Some managers explained the tragedy of having to lay off close friends, a true testament to their management skills.
    In the midst of it all though, North Carolina managed to come back into the industry with new advancements to even put them above some international textile mills, with factories running at almost 97% efficiency, much higher than the average 80% efficiency of most outsourced. These factories have also tried to keep as many of their “veteran” workers as possible. Instead of cleaning house and going off the mind set “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, they tried to teach their employees how to work in these new factories with the new technology. This paired with the ever famous North Carolinia entrepreneurial attitude is helping to keep the industry alive.

  13. Video #2

    After watching the video on the Textile Industry in North Caroline, I believe that there is great hope for the textile and apparel “Made in the USA.” As stated in the video, many textile and apparel industries closed because they were too busy completing with neighboring industries, rather than preparing for globalization and change. Expansion into foreign markets is highly influenced by the cheap labor abroad, and since there is a demand for inexpensive labor that the United States cannot offer, the US needs to create a demand for something that cannot be found abroad to compete with foreign competitors and strive through globalization. An example of this is the North Carolina industry that ceased their original textile industry and started producing Sunbrella textiles. The world has the demand for outdoor textiles that protect people from the summer heat; therefore this industry was able to operate with profit loss and despite the emergence of foreign competitors.

    In addition, in class we learned that the textile industry is capital intensive and that the US has an abundance of capital, compared to many foreign countries that lack advanced capital but have a plethora of labor. I believe that US textile and apparel industry can survive by embracing this advantage, rather than trying to complete with labor-intensive industries. An example of how this can work is shown by the textile industry in NC that uses machines that spray nonwoven fabrics together. This advanced capital has made North Carolina the world’s leading producer of nonwoven fabrics.

    In conclusion, if the United States follows in North Carolina’s footsteps by creating unique products that are highly demanded and utilizing its capital-intensive economy, I think that the future of textile and apparel made in the USA is bright.

  14. In video number 2, I understand why all of the textile mills closed in the early 2000s, however, is it sad knowing that thousands of people in that state had lost their jobs due to cheaper labor overseas. As much as I understand the need for imports and exports, I also think it will be good for the U.S. economy to see more clothing with a “Made in USA” tag on them. Globalization has a huge impact on people all over the world, but I think it is still important to have companies domestically that can produce textiles. However, I think that the lack of education people have on the textile industry, whether domestically or abroad, definitely has an impact on how people view the industry.

    I think it is very important to see that there are still companies around in North Carolina. It is also important for those companies to adapt to the changes that come with the textile industry. As one of the CEOs of a textile company said, he does not feel bad for companies that are too stubborn to change with the time. Keeping up with technology is essential to having continued success and helping to train their older employees to adapt to the new technology is also important. Having more textile industries in the U.S. is important to me because you know that there are fair and safe working conditions and are working for fair wages.

  15. When the video started out, they asked question such as “Is there a textile industry in North Carolina.” When the first asked this question, I thought in my head “no way” and those who were interviewed answered the same way. However, I am pleased to say that by the end of this movie, my thoughts upon the textile industry in North Carolina has changed.

    It is a common misconception that a majority of our textile jobs have left overseas. With the large quantity of textile factories failing during the around 2005, it created a large amount of fear and job anxiety for those working in the industry, the factories who did survive, realized that in order to survive they had to adjust their approach to the textile industry. Some adjusted their industries by focusing on elements of fabric such as colors while others focused on the process in which they created fabric such as mill efficiency and non woven production. Adjusting to changing industry in addition to a new view on their product allowed many mills to survive the hardship. It is exciting to see that North Carolina has around 1,400 textile companies currently, which is more than I though originally.

    It is reassuring that so many different aspects of North Carolina’s textile industries that are thriving. Whether it is an increase of enrollment in NC State department for textiles, or two women coming together to create their own sock business, there are numerous ways in which the textile industry is growing. I can only imagine the success of this specific industry as labor and shipping costs increase overseas. Hopefully North Carolina’s textile industry will be as prosperous as it was a century ago.

  16. After watching the second video on the textile industry in North Carolina, it is quite refreshing to see the success of many mills still in business today. The textile industry is not however what it once was in North Carolina. Regarded for funding the banking industry and the state’s major university, the textile industry was a major contributor to the economic success of the state. The industry created hundreds and thousand of jobs within North Carolina, however pressures from international competition spiked a major decline for the business in North Carolina with 160,000 jobs disappearing. It was interesting to see just how blind sided many factories were as they thought there only competition came from down the street rather than overseas.

    What was most interesting about the video was how factories still in business were able to stay alive in such trying times. Park dale Mills struck me as most impressive. They were able to reach a higher amount of efficiency compared to that of overseas on the basis of collaborating technology with the use of workers. This was the same method we saw in L.L Bean and seemed to be very effective for them as well. Is this a trend that we will see emerging more and more in the textile industry within the US? Another way to remain competitive was through the development of innovative techniques within the textile industry. Some examples were creating colored denim fabric or Glen Raven’s sunbrella. It was a little surprising to hear that these factories need to reinvent themselves every 3-5 years to remain competitive. This is quite difficult as workers need to adapt and learn new technologies. Possible the most refreshing aspect of the video came from Mr. Redding who believed in the idea of treating workers fairly and wellness. With hearing so much of the mistreatment of factory workers overseas, it is nice to hear this is something that does not take place in North Carolina.

  17. The question surrounding the panel in video number 1, was basically how can we embrace working in the United States? The Panel of professionals in the textile and apparel industry has given their outlooks on how we can bring this labor back to the US, and how can that benefit us, as well as the logistics surrounding this issue. Tricia Carey, the Business Development Manager at Lenzing explained that there has been an increase of 6% of companies producing their textile and apparel products in the United States. Every year this percentage gets a little bit bigger, and there is no doubt that this percentage will continue to become more successful.
    The panel explains that North Carolina and other states in the US have the infrastructure to get the textile and apparel industry up and running again. There is still fertile ground in North Carolina, the demand is there, it is just a matter of figuring out an operating system. Our United States economy has a lot to do with it, as well as the ecological impact of individuals in our society. Having products made in the US can be attractive to these individuals. Another plus side to creating textile and apparel in the US is that there will be quicker responses and faster production in the line of intermediaries. Customers these days need things fast.
    Many of these companies work closely with young and emerging designers to product in the US, and specifically New York. Because the problem for these small businesses is meeting their margins, sometimes a smaller production company, here is the US can be more beneficial to them. There is talk among the panel about building up Brooklyn as a new garment business. I think that this could be great for these small businesses with a budget. Since one of their biggest challenges is pricing – since production units are very small – the Brooklyn textile and apparel industry could be a great option for the industry and the US economy. The industry should be encouraging small businesses to buy locally.

  18. Video # 2 started out talking about the decline of the textiles industry in North Carolina. Citizens of the state were shown talking about how the textile industry is completely gone. The textiles industry in North Carolina had previously been the single largest industry the state had ever seen. The video then went on to explain what happened to these companies, stating that they failed to prepare for the globalization of the industry. In 2005, when the multifiber agreement expired, companies were still looking at the guys “down the block” as their competition, and not the companies coming in from overseas. This is what caused the decline of the industry in North Carolina.

    Although many companies shut down or moved out of North Carolina, there are still 1400 textile companies still operating there. The companies who managed to stay open also realized that they had to figure out a new way of doing business. Textile manufacturers in North Carolina have been growing again and one of the largest manufacturing plants in the world is now located there. Cheap textile production is no longer an impossible feat for US textiles companies. This shows how with the adaptation of business strategies, clothing made in America has become more prominent and is making a huge comeback in the North Carolina textile industry.

  19. From the video we can see how the textile industry for North Carolina is declining. It is interesting to see how the industry plants seemed to lack knowledge in globalization which did not help this issue at hand. Many companies are choosing to go abroad. The result ended with about 15,000 job losses and hardships for families in the area. NC State findings highlights the fact that there are actually still many manufacturing factories domestically. They found that over 1,400 textile companies are still operated and based in NC. The video discusses how change is inevitable which is an important quality to be aware of to stay competitive for these factories and it is still possible to stay relevant manufacturing domestically. “Made in America means a higher quality” is hope that we can bring jobs back domestically. With a change in mind-set it could be possible for these domestic factories to be successful, we surely have the technology to do so. I think that we have put so much emphasis on globalization and the idea that we can no longer manufacture domestically that it is an interesting thought that we may be able to bring it back to the states. The textile and apparel industry is constantly changing but if companies change with it I think that they have a good chance of staying competitive in the global market.

  20. Video #2
    It is a common misconception that textile and apparel factories domestically located are out of business. Many people think T&A factories are all in foreign companies because of the way the media portrays the issue. In the video, people were interviewed and asked if there were still T&A factories in North Carolina. They all responded no, and they were unsure of what happened to them. When the Multi Fiber Agreement ended in 2005, there was an extreme amount of competition for NC factories with factories abroad. According to the video, NC textile factories were so prevalent in the state at one point that they were entirely focused on competing with statewide factories that they did not even realize foreign companies could be such a major competitor.
    Though it is true that many factories closed and many people lost their jobs, there is still a large number of T&A factories in NC. There are currently about 1400 factories left in NC, which is a good amount. I believe there is still hope for T&A companies domestically. The video highlighted diversification as the key to being successful. I agree with this point because if a factory is diverse from others, a monopolistic demand will occur. Companies would have to buy from a specific factory if they were the only way to sell the product. The video spoke about two examples where diversification saved factories. The first was Park Dale Mills transitioned into a factory that produced Sunbrella, which is a textile that does not fade from sunlight. The other was Tuscarora, which produced a specific type of colored fabric. Both of these are examples of how diversification is necessary to be successful as a supplier today. Lastly, I am optimistic about the success of the T&A industry in the US because of the quality of textiles that is produced domestically. The video pointed out how a factory in the US had 97% efficiency, compared to 80% efficiency abroad. I think in the future there could be a balance between T&A factories domestic and foreign.

  21. After watching the North Carolina Textile Industry video, I now think there is still hope for Made in the USA textile and apparel. In 2006 several interviews were conducted with strangers off of the street. They were simply asked, “Tell me about the Textile Industry in North Carolina”, to which many replied, “It’s gone”. Back in 1999 North Carolina had many Textile Industries that looked at each other as competition and did not see globalization coming. When globalization hit, thousands of workers got laid off and many plants shut down, according to the media. Although this was true, what people living in North Carolina didn’t know was there were still 1,400 Textile Companies that survived.

    The key to surviving in this new era of globalization is to keep up with it and reinvent yourself. One company that knew to do this was Glen Raven who designed Sunbrella fabric that lasts for years outside in any weather. I found this video very inspiring because, any company can reinvent itself, we just need to change our mindsets that we can’t compete with these foreign and inexpensive factories over seas.

  22. Based on the second video about the textile industry within North Carolina, it seems that moving textile production back to the United States looks promising. I think it definitely depends on the type of company textile manufacturers are looking to operate. If they are like Glen Raven, Inc. who is willing to reinvent itself every three to five years and, overall willing and determined to embrace change, then I believe it will see success. I also believe that there are opportunities domestically because of companies that are thriving the way that Parkdale Mills is. Not only have they diversified themselves by buying U.S. Cotton but also did so by establishing a new mill that is one of the largest and most technologically advanced textile manufacturing facilities in the world. Even with the pressures of globalization and the ability of overseas manufacturers to pay laborers 20 cents, Parkdale Mills is still surpassing the other mills in its efficiency levels. Their service and speed to market combined with the balance between people and machines allow them to do so.

    A major factor affecting the decline of the textile industry in this area was the mindset that domestic manufacturers would never be able to compete with commodity textiles. Just as Glen Raven was open to change, Tuscarora Yarns reevaluated its business and decided the only way to survive was to specialize rather than continue manufacturing white yarn. He had to change his attitude in order to stay relevant in the industry. “Change is evitable and necessary” and the sooner companies realize this and take control of it, the quicker we will see manufacturing move back to the United States. Although domestic textile manufacturers are blaming international companies, and their ability to ship inexpensive goods here for their failures, when in reality their time and money should be put into innovation. Glen Raven also goes against the common thought that old workers cannot learn new technologies. Their employees may have been resistant at first, but were able to adapt to the new technologies. Instead of laying people off, this company successfully retrained and transitioned its workers. The textile companies in North Carolina alone that have withstood globalization and are thriving show the possibilities that exist for “Made in USA” textiles and apparel.

  23. Video 2
    At first when I started watching this video, I was shocked by the fact that I didn’t realize how much North Carolina was involved in textiles. It is so shocking to see that the industry was so strong, and was so close to disappearing. This also goes to show that people, including myself and my peers, are not fully aware of the textile environment that is surrounding us. It is upsetting to see that so many people and companies have lost work and jobs because of the textile industry. But on the bright side, even though many people lost there jobs, it was encouraging to see that 1,400 mill were still up and running in North Carolina.
    If between 2002 and 2012, so many international companies started to take over trade shows, the American manufacturers should have noticed that something was changing. It is so important that if America wants to be apart of the textile manufacturing business, they have to be aware of the international market as well. As the video states, the factories and companies in North Carolina had no idea that they were starting to have increasing competition from international companies, they were only focused on their competing neighbors. This goes to show that the companies in itself are not educated enough on what is going on around in the globe.
    One aspect of this video i found to be inspiring was that the heads of Tuscarora yarns realized that making plain white yarns was not making them enough money. So instead of shutting down, they realized they needed to make a change, and that is when they decided to make colored denim. They make a good point when they say that the world has changed into a 24/7 world, and a huge portion of outlook goes overseas. Many companies are afraid of change, but being in this industry, you have to be able to embrace change, if you want to succeed.
    After watching this video, I honestly believe that there is hope for the textile and apparel industry in the United States, as long as they are willing to take the strides to adapt to the evolution of the industry. Our factories need to be built and maintained to be able to handle the competition, and the owners and managers of the factory must be ready to tackle the challenges of change. Its also important for American companies to always be on their feet and try to be innovative. This video talks about a company called Sunbrella, which was extremely original and innovative. Its so important to keep up with the trends and constantly reinvent yourself.
    Therefore, I do believe that its possible for America to keep up with the textile and apparel industry, as long as everyone stays educated, and is aware of what they have to do to maintain strength in the industry.

  24. Video #2
    Just like many of the people interviewed at the beginning of the video, I did not know that there were still textile mills in North Carolina, or really many in the US. During our discussions about globalization and the manufacturing of textiles, we usually only talk about over seas and not as much about what is happening here in the US. We did watch one video about a cotton mill in the US and how they are coming back, much like in this video.
    The video discussed how many people believe that the reason that there are much fewer textile mills still open, and much fewer jobs, is because of globalization. That is not exactly the case. As stated in the video by the CEO of Glen Raven, you have to be innovative and adapt and completely change the company every 3-5 years. He went from producing hosiery, to awnings. Two products that you would never expect to be made by the same company, yet somehow it saved their company’s life. It is not trade that is fully to blame, but the fact that the owners of the mills got lazy, and did not adapt to the every changing global economy. It was especially important at this time because globalization was quickly accelerating that change.
    After watching this video, it shows that there is still hope for textile production in the US. Not only was the situation better than what I had expected, and what most would think, it is constantly getting better. Companies that produce textiles are learning how to adapt to a global economy, and if they do not, they may not survive. Globalization is all about change and adaptation. There were many examples of companies that changed and are still there, and new companies as well. People that lost jobs from mills closing, took their knowledge and opened up a small-scale sock-knitting mill. They changed their situation and adapted to the changes around them.
    It is clear that textiles will never be a bad business to be in, at least for the time being. There will always be innovation, such as the non-wovens being produced the in video. There will always be room for ideas, and room for jobs, even if they change from labor to manning the machines. In order to be in the textile business, one must be able to thing critically and adapt to the global environment to succeed.

  25. This video opens ones eyes up to how much our textile and apparel industry is declining, especially in North Carolina. Most of the people asked in the beginning would say that North Carolina didn’t have a textile industry anymore. Previously it wasn’t like this, in the early 1990s the textile industry was booming in this specific spot. However many jobs were lost and factories closed after this, and a spiraling decline began. This happened partially due to the fact that these factory owners were completely unaware of how strong international business was, and how quickly it took over. North Carolina was now competing with places much cheaper and faster. There are ways to fix this problem, for example , the CEO of Glen Raven says that companies need to reinvent themselves every 5 to 10 years or else they are “just loafing.”The label “Made in America” always brings the connotation of a higher quality product, plus our generation loves to support our country and we would love to see more products made domestically. After this video I believe there is going up from here, companies will cater to our generation in other ways that helps support our country.

  26. When over 15,000 people lost their jobs in North Carolina, it is disheartening to see the lack of social responsibility/knowledge in general as to just how crucial the state is to the industry. Many companies are choosing to source from abroad, unaware of just how many factories are available in our own country. If companies would realize this, they could employ so many more American citizens, and assume more social responsibility as a result, because there are so many unemployed citizens that are willing to work in textile factories in their own state. You would think that domestic textile factories would be a bigger deal because not only would we be able to say more products are made in the USA, but we would also be able to significantly decrease our imports as well as increase exports. I think we can all learn from the women that opened their own textile factory and use this as inspiration to not only gain pride in our own country, but to also assume more social responsibility by doing so.

  27. Watching the video on the North Carolina textile industry left me feeling extremely unaware of industries that exist in the United States. In school we learn that the world now is extremely globalized and that understanding that is crucial to business. What we do not focus on, is industries that exist within the United States. It is clear after watching this video that attention on American industries like the textile factories in North Carolina need to be kept in business because of the necessity to have jobs available. While moving operations abroad has lead to greater profit margins for U.S companies, it has pushed many American low skill workers out of work. However globalization is not the sole reason for problems according to the CEO of Glen Raven. He stated that innovation is needed for a company to survive in this changing economy. The reason so many mills closed was because owners did not adapt to the new global economy when certain products began being produced overseas.
    After watching this video I am confident that the textile industry will continue in the United States as we are an incredibly innovative country that is capable of manufacturing.

  28. Video #2
    The video on the North Carolina textile industry was really interesting. It told an amazing story of how the textile industry must adapt, with foreign manufacturers, to stay relevant. The textile industry helped build North Carolina to what it is today over a 100 year period. Yet while interviewing citizens, almost all of them responded that there was no longer a textile industry in North Carolina. In 1999, there was only 1 small foreign manufacturer at the big manufacturing expo. In 2012, almost all of the manufacturers were foreign. A lot of the industries either moved manufacturing to overseas or shut down because of the lack of business. Over a 13 year period, it’s amazing how much the industry has changed. This may seem extremely drastic, but 1400 textile industries still remained in North Carolina. Industries that established ways to differentiate themselves remained, while the rest faded out. Parksdale moved right across the line to South Carolina and runs on a 97% efficiency, while foreign manufacturers run on about an 80% efficiency. Meanwhile, Tuscarora yarn moved into a fancy market, colored denim and became more efficient. Sunbrella began to create umbrellas that wouldn’t fade or degrade over time. The big North Carolina state textiles also adapted. They began to make bold steps into offering design, merchandising and marketing majors along with textiles. The enroll went up and they reached out to companies to come to their job fairs. I think the most remarkable thing about the video was the North Carolina citizens optimism throughout the recession and to continue hope during a difficult time.

  29. Video#2

    Back in 1999, the Textile Industry really suffered. In North Carolina, the North Carolinians referred to the Textile Industry as “gone.” Following, the Carolina Mills shut down in 2003 and it really took a toll on their economy. The unemployment rate increased drastically because thousands of jobs were cut. The Multi Fiber Agreement ended on December 31, 2005, which prevented the amount of foreign produced textile products available for sale in the United States. Positively in 2006, the state of North Carolina had over 1,400 companies still operating. This influenced globalization a great deal because companies began shifting their manufacturing overseas. Globalization brought a new way to run the Textile and Apparel Industry. Now plants were running in Honduras with 80% efficiency. Even though “Made in America” brought a better promise to consumers, this brought a new way to run the industry. In contrast, there was some failure brought to the United States that resulted and this failure brought blame to the plants overseas. China and India were being blamed for shipping “cheap” materials to the United States. To me it is contradictory because the reason for doing business overseas was because it was cheaper, but the cheap materials put the United States in a negative light. In addition, Tuscarora was not making any money in the United States and chose to make colorfast yarn the new priority, creating a more lucrative business. This helped increase the Textile Industry’s success and helped it grow. Even thought there were many problems with doing business overseas, it creates more access to resources and helps expand textile knowledge. For example, shipping had increased in time and cost. Overall, the Textile and Apparel Industry today remains up and running and globalization was what helped make it thrive again.

  30. Video #1

    What struck me about this video that I haven’t thought about before was the comments that Joann Kim made about how emerging designers have problems with manufacturing. This is because they don’t produce as many garments as large corporations do, and many factories have a minimum amount of units that they want to produce. She mentioned later on in the video that many manufacturers had a minimum of 1000 units, which many emerging designers don’t have. That affects many up and coming designers and makes it difficult for them to source from America, and many of them don’t have the means to do so especially starting out.

    They also briefly touch on the topic we discussed about the new law in California that allows manufacturers to say the garment is made in the USA as long as no more than 5% is made from imported materials. In the panel discussion, Michael Penner, CEO of Ped’s Legwear, talks about how their product is made all in USA. He raises the point that all his competitors have socks that are knit in the US, but then shipped to Mexico where it is seamed, dyed, stitched, and boxed there. (38:25-39:10). These products still get the “Made in America” tag, and Penner sees this as unfair. Going along with the California law, this begs the question of how documented the “made in” tags should be. We source and produce materials from so many areas in the world. How can we give credit to just one country?

    From one of the audience questions about what the next step will be in the American manufacturing revival, the panel discussed the “cut and sew” technology. Joann Kim commented that many manufacturers in the garment district are scared of change and these new technologies cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which manufacturers just don’t have. Earlier in the video, Penner commented that the federal government helps with financing his productions in the United States. Shouldn’t the federal government help fund these new technologies so that the US can move toward manufacturing?

  31. I watched, “Still Standing – The real story of the North Carolina Textile Industry”. This video started by asking one simple question, is the textile industry still standing in North Carolina. At first, looking at the numbers and the lay offs, and the amount of businesses, one would say yes, foreign factories has taken all business from North Carolina. After watching this video it seems to tell a different story. The industry is still alive and well in the state and the companies that made the necessary changes to their production are still growing and profiting today.

    The companies that had survived the surge of foreign exports were no different than the ones that did not, apart from the fact that they took the necessary actions to stay relevant and profitable. These companies saw the increase of foreign factory business as an opportunity to diversify. The companies that shut down were “ill prepared for the globalization” of this industry. They had 10 years to prepare for in influx of foreign companies. The Multi-fiber agreement, which stunted the amount of foreign imports for the textile and apparel industry had a 10 year expiration. Companies like Parkdale diversified in preparation of this. This company invested in a new plant that has become one of the most efficient and fast mills in the US. By creating such a efficient plant, the company could compete with foreign factories without drastically cutting payrolls. Other companies started to specialize in specific products to compete. Martin Foil’s company, Tuscarora Yarns, made the same white yarn as everyone else. to continue to stay relevant they started producing colorfast yarns, which at the time were not common. By making this their priority Tuscarora found their place in the industry. Similarly, Glen Raven specialized in “sunbrella” fabric, which was a supreme non woven fabric that was much stronger, would not fade for years.

    In this video it was stated that through his research, the director of this film noticed that the factories that survived had been the ones that made the necessary changes to either their production or the product itself, and not the ones that had to cut paychecks and benefits to compete with these foreign companies. Lately in the state of North Carolina there seems to be new optimism about the industry and the opportunities it holds for new employees. This was shown as NC State graduates have increased as more people are interested in joining the industry. North Carolina’s involvement in the textile industry is far from over and today is continuing to expand greatly.

  32. The textile business in North Carolina went on a steep decline because of international competition coming to such a rise. Textile mills were shutting down left and right in North Carolina and the people were witnessing an industry coming to an end and becoming “gone.” It was very sad to see the workers so down but once the CEO explained how well they worked with adapting to the changes it was uplifting.

    I think its great what Rachel Weeks did to show all her clothing was “Made in NC”. They realized how much more expensive, time and energy it was to send overseas instead of making it here. They looked into manufacturing in the US and made it happen. “Made in America” means a higher quality to them and thats very respectable. In June 2010 a textile Mill reopened and North Carolina regained hope. North Carolina started making nonwovens because they are reusable, compete with existing woven fabrics, and most importantly they can make it right there in NC. NC is the largest in the US to make nonwovem textiles and thats shocking to me because no one would know that!

  33. After watching video #3, I found it very interesting that all three panelists were intertwined in the fashion industry business. Erin Kent and Eric Johnson work in similar companies whose main goals are to expand and support manufacturing within New York City. Erin explained how CFDA is a trade association for designers within the U.S. and there are about 500 CFDA members within the organization. In addition, she mentioned that in 2012, the CFDA launched a fashion manufacturing initiative in order to grow the program. She mentioned that one of the most important parts of the initiative is the FMI grant fund which provides financial grants to New York City production facilities. These grants allows facilities to purchase new software/machinery, workforce training and relocation costs. It has been such a successful program and I found it amazing that Michelle Feinberg was one of the recipients of this grant. Also, Erin explained that CFDA also has a production facility database on their website where designers can search based on category and find manufacturing companies within New York. I found this to be such a great idea because it allows designers to grow their business and helps manufacturers expand their production.

    Eric also explained that his company, The Council of Fashion Designers of America, is mainly responsible for a lot of the initiatives developed for the city and when the Mayor presents these ideas to the public, it’s good to know who’s behind them. Eric introduced “Made in NY” as one of the new initiatives that was announced last February during Fashion Week. He stated that it was put in place to extend the brand into the fashion industry and there are 15 million dollars in funds set aside for programs such as the FMI. One other interesting point Eric made was that he stated there are 20,000 people employed in the manufacturing sector of New York. This idea led into Michelle explaining her contribution to “Made in New York”. Michelle said that she was a two-time winner of the FMI grant and it allowed her to purchase new technology to create better products for her clients. She listed some of her clients such as, Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch. After hearing more about all three of these panelists, I am truly shocked by how much work goes into bettering the manufacturing sector of New York. I was unaware at the efforts being made to expand the industry and it allows partnerships between local production facilities and new designers. It is truly incredible and I look forward to hearing more because like Eric stated, New York is our fashion capital and this is a huge industrial movement.

  34. In the second video posted, a documentary based on the textile industry in North Carolina explores the history of the industry within this American state. Many residents of North Carolina when asked if the textile industry was still apparent answered no, unaware of the fact that 1400 textile or textile related companies were still operating in the state as of 2006. The entire economic structure of North Carolina was built on the preexisting and dominant textile industry that controlled the state for years prior to its collapse beginning in 1999. Starting in this same year, foreign manufacturers began to take over more and more of the industry, encroaching on the thousands of textile manufacturers in North Carolina that had been built over a 100+ year period. Before 2005, companies did not adjust their business strategies to reflect the multifiber agreement, which put a restriction on the amount of foreign produced textiles that could be sold in the US. When this agreement was lifted, companies within the United States, specifically North Carolina, were ill-prepared for globalization, and had no choice but to close down or attempt to move their manufacturing overseas.
    More recently, in the past 10 years or so a new more diverse textile industry has emerged from the wreckage. Companies that have survived such as Parkdale and Glen Raven (now owned by another company), remain as examples that the textile industry can survive in the United States, as well as compete at an equal level with many manufacturers based overseas. Although specialization and efficiency are two factors that are very important in this idea of equal competition among international manufacturers, companies continue to prove the textile industry is not dead at all in North Carolina. The future of the textile and apparel industry that is part of “Made in the USA” is not a concept that is dead. Textile mills can still be successful in the United States, especially with technologies constantly changing in the industry as a whole. It offers constant opportunities for companies both struggling and prevailing to gain opportunities for reinvention on a regular basis.

  35. In the third video, Michelle is more optimistic than the Erin and Eric about the production in New York City. She says that she has brought new technology into New York City facilities that allow her factories to make more products, cheaper, and of better quality, than some in Asia. She is very hopeful that as long as we keep an eye on technology and watch the new innovation made by technology, we will be able to make great changes in our domestic production. Although it can be expensive and hard to afford, the technology can be bought from other countries and brought to NYC or anywhere in the United States where labor can be found and domestic production can grow. I definitely agree with this. Companies are not willing to spend the extra money in order to bring production back to the country. However, in the long run it can create better quality garments that will be in demand due to the location of their production, the US.

    One of the questions in the third video was asking how most of the grants go to one specific company for one specific reason and how not enough grants go to start up companies who wish to manufacture in NY. Eric responded by saying they are trying to make sure the grants go to a sector of the industry not just to one company. The man at the podium also stated that the Small Business Administration was also helping fund new and upcoming businesses that wish to manufacture in the US, specifically NY, as well as getting tax breaks to help with the financial aspect of their company because they plan to manufacture using NY factories and labor.

  36. I found the second video to be very interesting. The video begins with interviewers being asked if there is still a textile industry in North Carolina? These interviewers believed that the textile industry in North Carolina is extinct. How is this possible when this video was produced there was still 1400 textiles in North Carolina? Well, North Carolina was built on the textile industry. The banks were built with the profits from them and the schools. It was the textile industry that allowed North Carolina to branch out and widen, creating different towns and cities. However, according to Dan St. Louis he knew this was all going to change when he saw the first foreign textile booth in Las Vegas for a textile convention. Foreign textiles resulted in 160,000 jobs disappearing between 1997-2005. Thus, making North Carolina citizens believe this old industry is now as extinct as the wooly mammoth,

    Yet in 2006 when this video was produced 1,400 textile industries in North Carolina. However, this number decreased as the result of the multifiber agreement in 2005 being lifted. This restricted the amount of foreign produced textiles that could be sold in the US. These companies were not prepared for globalization and were forced to move their textiles oversea. In order to survive North Carolina had to adapt. They adapted by updating their machinery, this new machinery was complex and efficient. So, complex that instead of teaching old textile workers how to use it, they were fired and new workers with more experience with this machinery were hired. Although this has caused job loses for many who worked years in the industry this also opened up opportunities for merchandising and marketing majors.

  37. The North Carolina textile manufacturing video was very interesting! It is astonishing to find out that not only did hundreds of thousands of jobs inhabit the state, but they were practically all gone with in less than a decade! The fact that the mills were too busy fighting each other to notice the move to international manufacturing does not surprise me, however. There seems to be a trend that Americans become too caught up in their own competitions and their own “little worlds” to notice what is going on around them. The fact that there were 1,400 textile mills still located in North Carolina and most the country had no idea is just one large example!

    The United States always wants to compete to be number one. Many assume that this strategy is located internationally, when domestic work and innovation is right in front of them! An example is the woman in the documentary who attended Duke for four years and no idea she was down the street from her potential manufacturing partner. Instead, she wasted much time and money investing in foreign manufacturing just to realize that the best capital gain was in front of her the whole time. It amazes me how ignorant Americans are to industries they work in and how they have such little hope for their own workforce. More awareness and far more education needs to be integrated into the public and especially into collegiate curriculum, regardless of the area of study. The textile and apparel industry dips into almost every college major and the fact that there is such little awareness needs to be fixed immediately to plan for a better American future!

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