Denim That Transcends Time

NCTODenimTW Special Report

Denim is ingrained in our culture. It’s in the movies we watch, the songs we listen to and the closets we envy. It tags along on our first date to the school dance, and it’s waiting for us when we get home from the first day at our first job. It stands by us during our successes and failures. It subtly reminds us of the past, makes us feel good in the present and eases our anxiety concerning the future. Our denim knows us, inside and out.

“Denim is something we talk about as being extremely personal. It’s unlike any other fabric, because it can adopt the characteristics of the person wearing the jeans,” said Kara Nicholas, vice president of product design and marketing for Cone Denim LLC, Greensboro, N.C. “People create a bond with their favorite pair of jeans. More than any other item in a closet, jeans tell your story.”

Cone Denim, a supplier of denim fabrics to top denim apparel brands, was established in 1891 by brothers Moses and Ceasar Cone. More than a century later, the brand remains focused on its core principles — innovation, art and American heritage.

“The dichotomy of old alongside new is something distinctive to Cone Denim,” said Nicholas. “Our 110-year-old White Oak plant runs a 1940s loom next to the modern looms, the next generation works alongside operators with 60 years of experience, and we still use a long-chain dyeing process developed by our employees in the 1920s. Thanks to our rich history, we are able to provide people with iconic denim.”

Cone Denim strives to strike the ideal balance between artistic heritage and scientific innovation. With scientists, fabric construction experts, and loom technicians and operators all in-house, the company endeavors to be on the forefront of product innovation and ahead of market trends.

“We understand the pulse of the market, and we want to provide brands with innovations they can count on, such as sustainability initiatives, new moisture management, antimicrobial properties and other performance technologies,” said Nicholas. “We’re constantly weaving these innovations into our long and glorious, unique history.”

Denim enthusiasts worldwide recognize Cone Denim for its place in history as the creator of long-chain indigo dyeing, denim sanforization and Cone’s Deeptone Denim, introduced in 1936. Furthermore, the White Oak mill is recognized for its re-creation of vintage selvage denim.

“It’s about connecting with people and meeting them wherever their love of denim lies: Vintage or contemporary, light or dark, worn or like new. No other fabric moves so easily from the NYC runway to rugged cowboy to workwear,” Nicholas said. “Other fabrics don’t speak to people like denim. Denim excites and inspires. It gives you a feeling that you can’t quite pinpoint.

“At Cone Denim, we’re in the business of sharing our passion and inspiring denim.”

Editor’s Note: This article appears in Textile World courtesy of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) as part of the “American Textiles: We Make Amazing™” campaign. NCTO is a trade association representing U.S. textile manufacturing. Please visit to learn more about NCTO, the industry and the campaign.

January/February 2017