Contrary to popular belief, the North Carolina's textiles industry is NOT dead -- it has simply transformed over the last two decades, and has been hiding in plain sight right under your nose.
Earlier this week, Frank Stasio interviewed Blanton Godfrey and Robert Newton on NPR's The State of Things about the revival of North Carolina's textile industry. Their discussion mirrored an article I wrote earlier this year about the economic benefits of the textiles industry, which highlighted the then-present industry -- but today's textiles industry is not the one many remember.
Blanton Godfrey, Dean of the NC State College of Textiles, and Robert Newton, director of the documentary Still Standing: The Real Story of the NC Textile Industry, both highlighted interesting facts about North Carolina's little-discussed textiles industry. The take-away of the interview is that North Carolina's textile industry is NOT dead, but has simply transformed over the years -- and is much more innovative today than it was two decades ago.
Stasio also interviewed Lisa Grimes, president and CEO of Durham-based PurThread Technologies. The company develops proprietary antimicrobial textile technologies and has patent-pending integration technology and fiber formulations, incorporating an EPA-registered antimicrobial additive into every fiber and yarn to protect the fabric from degradation. Lisa told listeners the company decided to be located in the Triangle region for its growing commitment to sustainable practices. The full interview is below.
You might have guessed that the words "environmentally conscious" and "sustainability" immediately perked my ears, because North Carolina's commitment to sustainable textiles production rarely gets the proper recognition it deserves. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel along with the Gart Davis (co-founder of Spoonflower), Mariano deGuzman (co-founder of Appalatch), and Rick Levin (co-founder of XOAB). These individuals represent the New Textiles Manufacturing Entrepreneurs and Textiles Industry, composed of three companies who chose North Carolina as their home because of the resources and talent available in the state and the state's particular interest in sustainable production and business practices.
For more on North Carolina's textile industry, watch Robert Newton's documentary Still Standing: The Real Story of the NC Textile Industry.