Next Level Apparel will be making more of its products closer to home.
The blank apparel designer, supplier and manufacturer said it’s expanding an existing relationship with Grupo M, a textile manufacturer based in the Dominican Republic, to nearshore more of its manufacturing while supporting a shift to using only U.S. cotton.
“With our premium products, our customers not only look good, but they also can feel good about how those products are sourced,” Next Level Apparel CEO Randy Hales said in a statement. “As part of our ethos, we seek like-minded suppliers who prioritize sustainability and uphold equally high standards. This exciting partnership with Grupo M is another step forward in our longstanding commitment to supply chain visibility and accountability.”
Next Level Apparel said Grupo M’s “previous performance” encouraged the company to give more of its business to the CAFTA-DR producer, whose Dominican and Haitian facilities will manufacture apparel for the blank garment firm. The move comes as many in the sector are looking to de-risk their supply chains and enhance transparency.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with NLA to offer nearshore production while furthering our shared visions of innovation and transparency,” said Fernando Capellán, president of Grupo M, which is supplying “less than 15 percent” of Next Level Apparel’s total production. “We appreciate Next Level Apparel’s passion, enthusiasm and due diligence in bringing the highest quality products to its customers while being equally committed to ethical and responsible sourcing.”
Goods produced by Grupo M will ship by ocean to U.S. ports in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, gateways seeing increased cargo volume in the wake of historic pandemic backlogs at Southern California’s highly trafficked ports.
Because of the investments it’s made recently, Next Level Apparel isn’t worried about its shipments getting intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which has been enforcing the landmark Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act since the middle of last year. That’s because it’s working with Oritain‘s forensic science-based technology to verify the origins of its cotton. Next Level Apparel is an approved Fair Labor Association (FLA) member and has also partnered with Better Work, which tries to improve garment supply chain working conditions on a factory, national and international level. The company has received Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) for its factories as well.