International Textile Group has announced it’s closing Cone Denim White Oak Plant in Greensboro, N.C., shutting down America’s last major producer of denim. The plant had been open for 112 years.
The plant was partnered with Levi Strauss, providing the material for their famous 501 jeans, and were considered a powerhouse in the world of denim. With countries like Japan entering the arena with their own premium brands, and customers continuing to outsource their business to foreign nations– it was becoming impossible for the plant to stay afloat.
Michael Williams, founder of men’s clothing site “A Continuous Lean,” called the plant’s closing a “national tragedy” and thinks they served as a point of pride and tradition for the U.S., according to NYT.
“History can’t be rewritten,” Williams said. “And when the plant closes, Americans will have lost yet another piece of our nation’s identity.”
Williams had visited the plant in 2015 and wrote a piece for his website praising their innovations, and crediting them with helping Levi Strauss become one of top brands in denim.
“Cone established the White Oak mill and the company quickly rose to prominence as the foremost maker of denim in the world. During that same time Levi’s has become one of the most iconic American brands of all time,” Williams wrote.
Others in the clothing industry are not as concerned with national pride, and are beginning to admit the business is becoming more global. They believe the idea of “Made in America” is beginning to fade.
President Donald Trump made American manufacturing a focal point of his campaign, and had an entire “Made in America” themed week back in July, promising to revitalize industry and increase domestic production.
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