End of an Era: The Iconic Cone Mills Denim Is Closing After 112 Years

Cone Denim White Oak Plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the last selvedge denim mill standing in the United States, and it will cease operations on the last day of 2017. In a press release, Kenneth T. Kunberger, president and CEO of Cone Denim and International Textile Group said:

For more than 125 years Cone Denim has defined American denim and authenticity with the White Oak mill representing the essence of Cone’s heritage. We truly regret having to take this action to close the mill, and we deeply appreciate the loyalty and dedication of all current and former employees of the White Oak mill. Their talent, effort, innovation, dedication, and customer focus all combined to create a White Oak brand, heritage, and legacy that will forever be the heart of the Cone Denim business.

International Textile Group was acquired by private equity firm Platinum Equity just last year in October 2016.

The news is a blow to Greensboro, North Carolina, where the company employed 200 and was a hallmark of the city’s manufacturing tradition.

The Greensboro News & Record writes:

White Oak, once the world’s largest denim plant at 1.6 million square feet with 2,500 workers at its peak, has been hailed in recent years as an innovative survivor in an economy that has been brutal for the textile industry, using its vintage looms to make denim in small batches for high-fashion jeans.

With so many denim brands boasting that their denim was made at Cone, including Wrangler, Levi’s, Ubi and Cole Haan it seemed the facility was a survivor of the fast fashion culture. How sad to find out that’s not the case.

[Photo via the Greensboro News & Record]
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