Last month, International Textile Group announced its plan to shutter the historic Cone Denim White Oak mill in Greensboro.
The closing dealt a blow not only to the nearly 200 workers who will lose their jobs, but also to dozens of independent fashion labels that source their fabric from Cone, such as Raleigh Denim.
“I’m just sad for all the people losing their jobs and the skill and experience being lost,” says Victor Lytvinenko, co-owner of Raleigh Denim. “A lot of those people helped us build our business, in a way.”
The White Oak mill opened in 1905, and the factory long produced the fabric for Levi’s 501 jeans. In more recent years, the plant has become the producer of choice for many hip independent denim companies that source selvage denim woven on the mill’s vintage looms, which date to the 1940s.
“In other countries, they’d declare White Oak a national treasure,” Lytvinenko says. “There’s a cultural significance of that mill with the denim of the United States and North Carolina. This is the mill that actually filed the patents for denim production.”
Lytvinenko says the closing came as a shock. Raleigh Denim still has a supply of Cone fabric in its factory, and Lytvinenko says he expects another year’s worth of denim before the mill closes on Dec. 31. He says Raleigh Denim is in talks with a mill in Georgia to keep the bulk of the company’s denim North American-made.
But for Lytvinenko and others who saw the mill as an important partner in not only their business, but their design philosophy, it feels like the end of an era.
“We always worked with them,” he says. “It’s the first place we got fabric.”
Holiday shopping events
Ready or not, the holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Local merchants have plenty in store for holiday shoppers. Here’s the skinny:
▪ Northgate Mall in Durham will host several pop-up shops for the holidays. On Nov. 24, the Black Market features black-owned businesses, along with live music and more. The market will be held 11 a.m.-7 p.m. in suites 119, 128, 129, 130 and 132. Also on Nov. 24, Dress for Success Triangle NC will hold a one-day pop-up shop, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Proceeds from sales of new and gently-used women’s apparel will benefit the organization’s mission to assist local women in need. A LuLaRoe pop-up – held 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 24 in suite 124 – also will dedicate a portion of its proceeds from women’s dresses and casual wear to Dress for Success.
▪ Joint Venture Jewelry in Cary hosts its annual wish list party Nov. 24-25. Customers can build a wish list for holiday gift-giving, and enjoy refreshments and a free gift. Gift-givers will receive $100 off wish list purchases. Visit jointventurejewelry.com for more info.
▪ Joint Venture’s sister store, Peachy Keen, hosts trunk shows of local designers Nov. 24-25. Customers can check out new goodies from Kenda Kist Jewelry, Pamut Apparel, Lillie + Ruth Hoop Art and more. Refreshments will be served, and attendees can score a free gift with purchase. Visit thepeachykeen.com for details.
▪ Knitwear made with sustainably sourced premium alpaca fibers by Paris West comes to Dovecote Style boutique in Pittsboro’s Fearrington Village for a trunk show Nov. 24-26. The company specializes in scarves and wraps. Call 919-542-1145 for info.
▪ Carrboro co-working space Perch Studios hosts its annual Holiday Handmade Market 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 25. Clothing, jewelry, skin care products and more by local makers will be available. For details, call 919-260-5313.
▪ StyleFinder boutique celebrates Small Business Saturday with a free gift with purchase for the first 25 shoppers on Nov. 25. Visit shopstylefinder.com to learn more.
▪ Vintage and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces come to Chapel Hill’s Dina Porter boutique for a trunk show Nov. 25-Dec. 3. Vintage pieces from Lunch at the Ritz and limited editions from Donna Chambers, Darla Nordstrom and more will be among the offerings. Call 919-929-4449 for more information.
Pro Image Sports Opens
Team apparel store Pro Image Sports is now open at Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield. The store carries licensed clothing for men, women and children featuring local favorites N.C. State, UNC, Duke and the Carolina Hurricanes, among others. The shop is located in the mall’s south plaza and can be reached at 919-989-8757.
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