[TC]² Bi-Weekly Technology Communicator
August 24, 2005
Industry experts will join with representatives from well-known U.S. retailers and major apparel manufacturers throughout Central America to discuss challenges and opportunities associated with manufacturing and sourcing following the passage of CAFTA. A two-day program includes an impressive roster of speakers, highlighted by Ricardo Maduro, President of Honduras, as the keynote speaker.
Intro to Apparel Manufacturing
September 26-30, 2005
Don't miss this comprehensive course at [TC]², providing details and methodologies from fiber to a finished product.
Seminar highlights include:
the integral components of apparel manufacturing and its support systems
an overview of the various technologies utilized in the apparel industry
key apparel terms and concepts
descriptions of various apparel manufacturing systems and business strategies
For more details, or to register, visit http://www.tc2.com/what/seminars.html.
The Southern Textile Association, Inc.
2005 Summer Marketing Forum
By Kim Anderson, Ph.D. Writer/Reporter for [TC]²
The Southern Textile Association, Inc. held their 2005 Summer Marketing Forum on Thursday August 18th at the Gaston College Applied Textile Technology Center in Belmont, NC. Three themes were showcased- Sourcing, Innovation and Success Stories. Jim Booterbaugh from National Spinning Co., Inc moderated the event. Booterbaugh kept the mood upbeat with humorous and apropos messages.
Mike Todaro, Managing Director for American Apparel Producers' Network (AAPN), opened up the Sourcing segment of the forum with a presentation entitled ‘ If You Aren't the Retailer, You're Just Administration .' The presentation had three main parts- Shift happens, Our perspective on the Supply Chain, and Marketing.
Todaro emphasized the importance of networking, “If you don't belong to a network, you might as well give up.” He moved on to explain his take on the supply chain “…like layers of an onion” from “dirt to shirt.” He defined new sourcing realities - the need for collaboration, communication and discipline within the supply chain. Todaro also pointed out the importance of ‘speed to market', ‘value added' and ‘doing more.'
Todaro highlighted what he believes to be the main marketing challenges - balanced sourcing, direct and fewer middlemen and collaboration.
Todaro's presentation was sprinkled with information regarding past events hosted by AAPN. He encouraged attendees to attend upcoming events.
He closed by stressing the need to “differentiate yourself” and had three additional recommendations:
Jeff Streader of VF Imagewear followed Todaro with a high-energy presentation entitled “ The Global Textile Industry: Advantages and Disadvantages of the East and the West.” After giving attendees an impressive look into VF's portfolio, Streader shared VF's take on the advantages and disadvantages of doing business with the ‘East' and the ‘West.' Advantages of the West include availability of value added products, responsiveness to inquiries, innovative technology and easy access. The major concern is “ too slow at the front end.”
The main advantage of doing business with the East is low-low- low cost . He pointed out that eastern companies are flexible and eager, however, not as “deeply rooted in their technical expertise as the western hemisphere.” His concerns with the East are issues regarding currency, long lead times, inability to respond to ‘rebuys', ‘spikes' and ‘bad forecasts.' In addition, the east does not have a good comprehension of importation laws or a good understanding of worldwide social compliances.
Streader shared some of his insightful predictions.
The over supply of product will be tremendous.
Quality will vary.
Prices will decrease even more.
Only the survival of the fittest will endure.
Moving further into the future
The U.S. will continue to restrict China.
China will be important but will not take over the world.
U.S. companies will thrive in niche businesses.
Streader stressed the necessity for western companies to build a more cohesive supply chain. According to Streader a circuitous route from fiber to product is no longer competitive. Due to their strong unified supply chain, many eastern companies can deliver a price and prototype within three days. It can take up to two weeks to get just a price from a western company and the weeks following are “painful.” Streader believes partnering will be the life's blood of textile and apparel companies in the western hemisphere.
Jerry Perry of Carolina Silver Technologies kicked off the Innovations segment with a presentation entitled ‘ Understanding Bio-Enhanced Textiles and Their Markets .' Perry's opening remarks emphasized what the two previous speakers had stressed– “Networking pays off” -“Listen and look for new opportunities” - “Innovation pays off.”
A happenstance visit to a friend's house redirected Perry's future. Perry an acknowledged “peddler” is now selling silver plated textiles which are reported to have a myriad of beneficial effects on the wearer. These textiles not only have the historical anti-microbial characteristic inherent in silver but also can be used for static dissipation and electromagnetic shielding. In addition, silver reduces odor, acts as a thermal transfer, enhances wound healing and reduces ligament and muscle inflammation. Examples of fabric and yarns passed around by Perry had a soft hand and drape.
Examples of Yarns with Varying Amounts of Silver
Perry noted the applications are endless, including pet blankets, high performance apparel, hats, pillows, blankets, braces and many more.
Lee Thompson of Optimer Performance Fibers continued the Innovation segment with a presentation entitled ‘ The Performance World of Dry Release .' 1996 marked the advent of an exciting new venture. The objective was to find a yarn that would provide superior and permanent performance, have a natural feel and possess odor control properties.
Courtesy of Optimer Inc.
After diligent research, scientists developed a high performance patented yarn called dri- release ®. Combining a high percentage of a hydrophobic synthetic fiber with a trace of a natural hydrophilic fiber, they produced a yarn that keeps the wearer cool, comfortable and dry, and these attributes won't wash out . The yarn is air jet spun to reduce pilling. Fabric made from dri- release ® comes with easy care instructions. The yarn can be embedded with a Freshguard® treatment to virtually eliminate odor. End uses include athletic wear, travel apparel, uniforms, under garments and sleep wear.
William Rearick of Cotton Incorporated gave an information-packed presentation entitled ‘ Innovations in Cotton .' Rearick highlighted nine main research areas and briefed the attendees on the latest developments.
There has been continued research in this area. Researchers are investigating polyethylene softeners that “boost abrasion levels 200-400%.” Cotton Incorporated has also developed tough cotton™ that has better abrasion resistance.
There has been a lot of interest in anti-microbial finishes, however, at present it is not permanent. Research will continue.
A resin that had been utilized by the paper industry is now being successfully used as a flame retardant on cotton.
Microencapsulated ingredients are embedded into the fiber. A variety of effects can be obtained such as changing the fabric's surface temperature. Present research interests are concerned with the durability of the fabric and fabric weight.
By cross linking a surfactant and a resin, researchers have produced a finish that allows the fabric to dry faster, ultimately keeping the wearer more comfortable.
Wrinkle resistant fabric has been a long standing area of interest, Rearick explains “there is no such thing as a wrinkle-free fabric.” Rearick goes on to point out that although developing a totally wrinkle resistant cotton fabric “has a long way to go before it is perfect” Cotton Incorporated has developed cotton shirts that are “close to perfect.”
Cotton Incorporated has developed an eco-friendly ozone treatment that de-colorizes the fabric to give it a wash-down appearance.
Rearick says the age-old question is “When are you going to solve colorfastness?” From a thorough literature review, researchers discovered very little documented information on the effect home laundering has on dyed cotton. Researchers are investigating enzymes, resins and combinations of both to improve colorfastness.
Changes in Home Launder/Tumble Dry (HLTD) Equipment
Changes in HLTD equipment have been proposed by the Department of Energy. Lower temperatures and less water are some of the proposed mandates. The concern is the suggested alterations to the HLTD cycle might lead to inefficient cleaning. Researchers at Cotton Incorporated are actively investigating this topic.
Terry Turner of Wellman, Inc gave a presentation entitled ‘ Holofiber Update.' Several years ago Wellman, Inc. teamed up with Holofiber, LLC to form Hologenix, LLC. The joint effort has resulted in an exciting new product- Holofiber®.
Holofiber® is a responsive textile that interacts with the human body to increase oxygen levels, resulting in increased strength, energy and accelerated muscle recovery. Holofiber® is a PET based synthetic fiber that contains an optical responsive material. The material modifies the spectrum of visible and invisible light, interacting and altering certain wavelengths into energy. The energy is transmitted to the body to better oxygenate the body's cells.
Hologenix LLC plans to introduce a wide variety of yarns containing Holofiber®. Yarns will be utilized in many different end uses including hosiery, bandages, gloves, shoe linings, travel apparel, sleeping bags and much more.
Courtesy of Holofiber LLC
Dan St. Louis covered the ‘Success Stories' section of the forum. His presentation was entitled ‘ Strategies for Post 2005, How Some Hosiery Companies Have Not Only Survived But Thrived in the New World Markets. ' St. Louis reminisced about the good old days when “business was predictable, customers were loyal, styles didn't change and good efficiency equaled profits.” As we all know business has changed.
As Director of the Hosiery Technology Center, St. Louis is in a unique position. St. Louis interacts with a variety of manufacturers. From his experience, St. Louis has keyed into traits he sees as inherent in successful companies.
The businesses that are succeeding are like “blood hounds…let them get a sniff of an idea or opportunity and they're on it.” St Louis believes success is a result of “attitude” not high tech equipment. In fact he sees companies equipped with older machinery having great success.
St. Louis describes successful companies as “swimming the other way” that is “don't just stick with white socks…go with designs.” He sees successful companies as “trying it and doing it in a hurry…when lightning strikes they move!” St. Louis believes a ‘quick turnaround' is essential to success. Other tips St. Louis shared were- identify yourself; know what the market is doing; find something you can do that no one else can; know where your competition is; know what your customer is looking for.
St. Louis wrapped up his presentation with some words of wisdom-“we are now global; everyone is struggling; high tech equipment will not save you; opportunities do exist; respond quickly and efficiently; investigate new markets and products.”
The staff at Gaston College's Applied Textile Technology Center were wonderful hosts. They provided a tour of their testing labs and classrooms. An article appearing in a future [TC]² Technology Communicator newsletter will feature more about their facility and its capabilities.
Member Profile - Bills Khakis®
In 1984 while in college, Bill Thomas, founder of Bills Khakis®, discovered a pair of original World War II Army-issue khakis at a surplus store. After this supply source was exhausted, the search was on to duplicate the fabric, feel, and fit of these trousers. Unsuccessful attempts in this quest launched a cottage industry with 250 pair of khakis, which has grown into the Bills Khakis® organization of today.
Based in Reading, PA, the product line has expanded to include corduroy, flannel-lined, poplin and canvas pants, as well as shorts, shirts and other paraphernalia. John Dever, Company President, remarks, “Although not separate from the line, women seem to enjoy the product, given the shape of the original WWII pattern.” Products are available in many retail stores and can be ordered online. The company proudly proclaims that all products are 100% Made in USA.
In 2004, Bills Khakis® was inducted into the Inc. Magazine /ICIC Inner City 100 Hall of Fame for being recognized as being one of the 100 fastest growing inner-city businesses for the past five years in a row.
The following quote is from the company's newsletter, providing background on the logo apparently missing a needed apostrophe: “What may appear to be a typo is a purposeful and appropriate omission. Plainly, the word “Bills” was never intended to be possessive.
We didn't invent Khakis, nor are we presumptuous enough to think we own the right to their heritage. Khakis exist in the world of public domain, belonging to the millions of men and women who wore khakis while serving their country, and later at work, building futures for themselves and their families. At best, we are an adoptive custodian to a little piece of Americana that's worth preserving, and even celebrating.”
For more information on Bills Khakis®, visit www.billskhakis.com.
ASAP Global Sourcing Show. Sands Expo, Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Mike Fralix, [TC]²’s President, will moderate a panel discussion of U.S. government leaders on Protection Efforts for the U.S. Textile and Garment Industry. To register to attend, or for more information, visit www.asapshow.com.
Ergonomics Overview - The Law, The Intent, and The Handbook Seminar at [TC]². For more information, click here.
El Foro - Executive Insights & Competitive Strategies (The Central American Forum to Advance Textiles & Apparel), co-produced by The Honduran Manufacturers Association, SPESA, and [TC]²
Club Arabe, San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Apparel China Symposium & Sourcing Fair
Shanghai New International Expo Centre. For more information, visit www.apparelmag.com
Pattern Development Seminar at [TC]². For more information, click here.
SPESA Expo – AHM Sourcing, Central America Expo Center, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Visit [TC]² in Booth B503. For more information, visit www.spesa.org
Introduction to Apparel Manufacturing Seminar at [TC]². For more information, click here.
Material World Fabric and Sourcing Show
Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City. For more details, visit www.material-world.com
For detailed information about industry events, visit www.techexchange.com
Thanks to the techexchange site sponsors Apparel Magazine, Gerber Technology, Intentia, Lectra and Methods Workshop.
A Look Ahead
The ASAP Global Sourcing Show
View previous editions of this newsletter
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