Executive Briefings

No Room for America Left in Those Jeans

In October, International Textile Group, acquired by a private equity firm a year ago, announced plans to close the storied Cone Denim White Oak plant in Greensboro, N.C. That factory was a 112-year-old shrine to bluejeans and the last major manufacturer of selvage denim in the United States.

The blow was most immediate among the plant’s roughly 200 employees, as well as in Greensboro - a.k.a. “Jeansboro” - itself. The company filed notice that it would lay off 208 people.

Customers were also distressed. For star-spangled denim-heads and bearded coastal creatives, the White Oak label long served as a badge of American honor - and as an entry ticket into a subculture united around a love of classic American clothing brands.

“It’s a national tragedy,” said Michael Williams, the founder of the influential men’s wear site A Continuous Lean. “The mill represents tradition, pride and the expertise that gets woven into some of the world’s most revered fabrics. History can’t be rewritten, and when the plant closes, Americans will have lost yet another piece of our national identity.”

The news came as a shock. Just two months ago, Williams, who also runs a marketing company that represents heritage brands like Red Wing and Levi’s, wrote a paean about his visit to the White Oak plant.

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The blow was most immediate among the plant’s roughly 200 employees, as well as in Greensboro - a.k.a. “Jeansboro” - itself. The company filed notice that it would lay off 208 people.

Customers were also distressed. For star-spangled denim-heads and bearded coastal creatives, the White Oak label long served as a badge of American honor - and as an entry ticket into a subculture united around a love of classic American clothing brands.

“It’s a national tragedy,” said Michael Williams, the founder of the influential men’s wear site A Continuous Lean. “The mill represents tradition, pride and the expertise that gets woven into some of the world’s most revered fabrics. History can’t be rewritten, and when the plant closes, Americans will have lost yet another piece of our national identity.”

The news came as a shock. Just two months ago, Williams, who also runs a marketing company that represents heritage brands like Red Wing and Levi’s, wrote a paean about his visit to the White Oak plant.

Read Full Article