Fabric Sourcing: Denim in the USA

With outsourcing becoming a much more common occurrence within the textile industry, it is becoming increasingly difficult to source local. Many American mills have shut down in recent years, significantly limiting the options.

One of the most difficult fabrics to find made in the USA is denim, as its design and manufacturing process is complex and an art form within itself.  To make the sourcing process easier, we have put together a list of suggestions for those looking to purchase fabric for a denim line:

White Oak Mill for Cone Denim

Cone Mills is a denim supplier to many top clothing brands in the world and has a rich history. The company’s first mill began production in over 100 years ago, and is still based in its original site in North Carolina. This USA mill, White Oak, has a variety of high-end fabric choices, including selvage denim woven on vintage shuttle looms! Other collections include 100% organically grown cotton, Black Seed Denim, and S Gene, a comfortable stretch fabric.

Their online store is currently under construction, but appointments can be made at any of their showrooms in New York and California, as well as their North Carolina headquarters. Production time is typically 6-12 weeks, with a minimum of 3,000 yards.  Yes, this is a high minimum. But  keep in mind that most mills will do sample yardage and you can also explore the idea of group buying with fellow designers.

SAFEDenim 

Based in West Texas, SAFEDenim is all about being eco-friendly, sustainable, and local. Formerly only available to large manufacturers, the company has scaled back to accommodate these values and the designers who share them. SAFEDenim’s fabrics are available wholesale for small to midsize manufacturing.

A low 30-yard minimum and quick 2-day shipping provides independent designers with easy access to necessary materials! Swatches are available in all washes and finishes so the designer can make an informed selection. Additionally, extreme precaution is taken so that the mill itself is as environmentally friendly as possible including reducing the amount of water and land needed for cotton crops.

Denim North America 

Denim North America is a privately held mill located in Georgia. They provide a full range of denim services, the most unique being “Denim 101,” a virtual or on-site overview of the process from start to finish. One of the company’s main goals is to provide their customers with enough knowledge so that they can design and aid in production effectively.

More helpful features: garment Wet Processing on site, as well as recommendations provided to the designer for laundry formulas to bring his or her vision to life. DenimNA’s collections include  “Heritage,” a vintage inspired line and “everFLEX,” a strong, flexible textile.

Though choosing a US denim manufacturer can be a tricky process, there are options available. Working with fabric suppliers that are base din the USA is not always easy but, when you find one that meets your needs, the entire manufacturing process is easier and more efficient.

Avatar
Jessica Bucci

Jessica has been trained in a wide variety of textile and fiber processes, traditional as well as computer-aided, which she uses in both her design and sculptural work. Jessica has also served as a teaching assistant for beginning weavers and drawers.

3 comments
  1. Avatar
    Terry

    Independent Desinger looking to have someone “company” manufacture my denim from start – Finish less the illustrations, tech drawings and patterns
    Any thoughts ?

  2. Nicole Giordano
    Nicole Giordano

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for your note. 🙂 Did you try contacting any of the suppliers mentioned in the article? If so, did they not meet your needs?

    ~Nicole

  3. Avatar
    jennifer gallo

    Hello. I am interested in vintage- old style looking denim to be bought by the yard. I expect to be in a position to buy large quantities at a later date, but at this time I am looking for a denim supplier who can supply me with maybe 30-50 yards to complete our spring season line. We are based in NY, but have a factory in China that the denim would be shipped to. Are you able to possibly assist us and what would the cost be per yard and soonest we could expect to have denim if possible? Thank you very much!!! Jennifer Gallo

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