South Carolina Textiles Summit Focuses On Industry’s Future

Three studies released at a textile industry summit held last week in Spartanburg indicate the
industry still has much to contribute to South Carolina’s economy, even as it is changing to
reflect a new dynamic.

“The Future of Textiles in S.C.” was organized by New Carolina™, South Carolina’s Council on
Competitiveness, a public-private partnership established to help increase per capita income and
promote a competitive business climate in South Carolina.  The summit brought together 100
textile industry and economic development leaders to talk about the industry’s future and find new
competitive avenues in the state. The program included a presentation of findings from three
studies commissioned by New Carolina: “The Contribution of the Textile and Apparel Cluster to the
South Carolina Economy,” and “South Carolina’s Textile and Apparel Industries: An analysis of
Trends in Traditional and Emerging Sectors,” both conducted by Clemson University researchers; and
” Improving the Global Market Competitiveness of the Textile Industry Cluster in S.C.,” conducted
by North Carolina State University researchers. New Carolina also launched, an Internet resource
for the South Carolina textile industry.

The summit is part of a larger effort to build a cluster of textile-related companies that
can collaborate to develop and expand their offerings and thereby attract jobs and investment to

bolster the state’s economy.

“By building the textiles cluster in South Carolina, we can increase productivity of existing
companies in the state, drive innovation, stimulate the formation of new businesses within the
cluster, and recruit new companies to the state,” said George Fletcher, executive director, New
Carolina. “Contrary to a widely held belief, textiles are not dead in South Carolina. In reality,
the industry is reinventing itself, becoming more high-tech and high-skill. South Carolina is in an
ideal position to capitalize on the high-paying jobs that will come from this re-emerging

November/December 2008