From The Editor: U.S. Textiles: More Positive Signs?

By Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief

The recent Americas Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN) meeting in Miami confirmed the continuing buzz that good things are occurring in the Western Hemisphere’s textile supply chain. As always, the apparel business continues to be pressured on price, but there seems to be a growing appreciation for what the chain can deliver, punctuated by speed and quality.

Investments in new technologies are speeding the delivery of  “from concept to sample” — everything from 2-D and 3-D design systems to printing fabrics at the apparel manufacturer using sublimation printing techniques — and those advances are changing the way business is done.

Another discussion dealt with the changes both in retail and in consumer shopping habits — not just the rise of e-commerce, but e-services that will shop for you, learn your preferences, and hone your wardrobe. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a hot topic, with some saying TPP is politically deadlocked and the yarn-forward rule is safe, and others saying  TPP is still quite possible and the yarn-forward rule is in jeopardy.

In other news, additional announcements of expansions, mergers, and acquisitions continue to show high levels of business activity throughout the industry. Whether it be $48 million in financing for Verdezyne — a biotechnology company focused on producing renewable chemicals — or India-based yarn spinner Shri Govindaraja Textiles Pvt Ltd.’s $40 million-plus investment to establish a manufacturing facility in Eden, N.C. — or Mount Holly, N.C.-based sewing thread manufacturer American & Efird’s agreement with Germany-based Gütermann Holding SE to acquire certain assets and subsidiaries that make up Gütermann’s entire industrial and consumer thread business — all this is great news for the industry.

Techtextil North America will have occurred by the time this issue of Textile World mails, but ahead of the show, there is great optimism, and many exhibitors and attendees look forward to making new contacts and reconnecting with old friends.

The Textile World Innovation Forum continues to come together as topics and experts are selected for the September 14-15 agenda. There has been a strong reception by some very high-level management who believe this will be a great, efficient training and education opportunity for key staff. The focused educational program is being designed to offer the latest process technology information presented by educators and consultants in a balanced nonpartisan approach. Also, TW editors continue to flesh out the story of the Textile World 2014 Innovation Award winner — Union City, Ga.-based TenCate Protective Fabrics of North America. TenCate’s rich history — it will celebrate 90 years in business come 2015 — is providing plenty of material.

The textile industry has changed drastically over the last decade, with many significant players long gone. Maybe that’s why observing increased U.S. and foreign investment, even in traditional parts of the industry, rings so clearly — and there is an abounding urge to say  “I told you so” to those who long counted the industry out.

May/June 2014