Having our clothing MADE IN THE USA isn't just a trend for neve / hawk but something we truly believe in... a hard line. As of now, we produce our clothing in Los Angeles and North Carolina, with only sewing in NC. All fabric is made, dyed, buttons and trim bought etc. in California. Our dream is to have almost all aspects of our production as close to home as possible. We want to be a part of the movement of revitalizing the textile industry here in the Carolinas. You see, the Carolinas used to be the hub of the industry. But, free trade regulations and fierce price competition from global countries triggered a steady relocation of the textile industry from the Carolinas to overseas. And, well, we want to bring it back.
Last Wednesday, I went on a 24 hour journey through the Carolinas with the wonderful Heather Koonse from the Charleston Garment Manufacotry. We both share an incredible passion for the future of the garment industry not only in the Carolinas but right here in Charleston. (click on the link above to read about Heather and her amazing company/vision.) So, we joined forces, hopped in a car on election night and began our journey of finding a strong network of individuals and companies in the Carolina industry...
Our first stop of Clemson Apparel Research in Pendleton, SC. I had heard about CAR in passing from a number of people this past year. Not really sure how they would fit in with my path and being shy about my lack of overall knowledge, I had never contacted them. Oh, how I regret not reaching out sooner. From the moment I first spoke on the phone to Elroy Pierce at CAR, I knew my relationship with CAR would be a lasting one. (Elroy was a sly guy and managed to dodge every picture) He has worked at CAR for 25 years and has immeasurable knowledge of the Carolina textile industry. From helping link us with the companies we need to being able to digitize and grade patterns, CAR can be a helping hand. Everyone was as sweet as honey, wanting to help with anything they could.
Their facility was incredible.
<----- HEATHER, GIDDY.
Both Heather and I left CAR with a fire and spark.. excited about everything we could learn.. and everything we could contribute.
Following our stop at CAR, we headed to Opportunity Threads in Morganton, NC... I will be doing a blog post on them in the future... the way the business is set up is fascinating. Anyway, it was a great stop and another lasting relationship was hopefully made.
From Opportunity Threads, we trucked on to the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, NC. I wasn't sure what to expect here since Heather was the point of contact and I had never spoken with them. Ummm... I WAS BLOWN AWAY.
First of all Dan St. Louis, the director of MSC, was one of the nicest people I have ever met.
<----- THIS IS DAN
He is one of those people that has a spark, a fire for what he does and for connecting people in the industry. His new facility was breathtaking. What does MSC do? Well, overall they" help US manufacturers increase sales, improve quality and improve efficiency to create or retain jobs." They do this by making prototypes, testing products, analyzing materials, training personnel etc.
We watched as socks were being dissected to test their fiber composition...
as chairs were being moved back and forth via machine to see how many times their casters could roll back and forth before giving out...
as WHOLE sweaters were being knit in a machine... (although I love HAND knit, this was incredibly interesting and fitting in numerous situations)
We toured the entire facility, seeing numerous testing sites including an area for flammability testing for garments...
<-------- FLAMMABILITY TESTING MACHINE
something that neve / hawk will need in the future when making children's sleepwear. This was a missing piece of our puzzle. A piece that overwhelmed and mystified us. No longer.
<----- SOCK PATTERNS
I MEAN, HOW FANTASTIC IS THIS PLACE??? *insert a long fulfilling sigh here*
So, all in all, it was a great trip. No, it was a wonderful trip. Beyond wonderful. Oh how I wish I was a good writer. This post doesn't do our 24 hour tour justice.
On the way home, tired beyond belief, we were smiling at what we are a part of.. what we are learning.. what we will learn.. how our pieces will fit into the whole puzzle.
It was a great reminder that THE JOURNEY IS THE DESTINATION.
Create a day you love-