Cone Denim Increases Production as Demand for Made in USA Denim Grows

Posted by Ryan Robinson on Jul 23, 2013


As global demand for US-made denim continues to rise, Cone Denim is expanding production of the company's traditional, old-fashioned selvage jeans at their iconic White Oak factory.

White Oak's factory stands as America's oldest working denim mill at 107 years old. Having gone through many transitions over the years, the factory is back in action and increasing production significantly to meet growing demand. 

Demand for selvage jeans, which are much more durable than the modern variety of denim, is rapidly growing as the old-fashioned look is becoming more popular worldwide. This look is characterized by the emerging style of rolled up bottoms displaying the continuous, uncut edge seen here to the right that is only possible to create by using the processes done in Cone Denim's White Oak facility located in Greensboro, NC.

This style of denim was popular for many years, but began disappearing during the 1970's as many U.S. mills switched to higher-speed production processes to remain competitive with global suppliers. Very few companies retained the ability to produce selvage jeans. Now, White Oak is the only place in the world where the original Draper fly-shuttle looms used to produce selvage jeans are still running.

Popular brands the likes of Levi's, J Brand, True Religion, J. Crew, and many more are loyal customers of Cone Denim's White Oak facility because the very unique, high quality denim that they produce isn't posisble to make in a high-speed loom. Cone Denim has found themselves in a unique, valuable market position as the only current producer of an increasingly popular style of denim.

The company has brought all of its old machines out of storage and put them back into working order to meet the growing Made in USA denim demand. The company searched scrap yards and abandoned mills for more old denim looms to get into working order. Now that they've found more looms, they've restored them and fabricated new parts. They expect to boost selvage denim production by over 25% once the new installations are complete in the next month. 

This type of denim production is truly a work of art. And with high-end denim sales fetching over $170 a pair becoming sustainable product lines for many fashion & apparel retailers, that demand doesn't appear to be changing any time soon.