Following up on its merger this month with the American Fiber Manufacturers, the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) has launched Textiles in the News (TIN), a new website set to promote the U.S. textile industry.
As part of NCTO’s “American Textiles: We Make Amazing” public relations effort to rebrand the U.S. textile industry, TIN’s mission will be to showcase the dynamism of the U.S. textile industry, and cover the policy issues that impact the sector.
Among the aspects of the new site, textilesinthenews.org, are links to the most relevant news and opinion pieces produced by other media outlets about or affecting the U.S. textile industry; original content, including news and opinion from American textile industry leaders and policy experts; and relevant social media posts.
“While some may have an outdated perception of the U.S. textile industry, those working in the sector know it is a global powerhouse,” NCTO president and CEO Auggie Tantillo said. “As a national trade association representing domestic textile manufacturers, NCTO wants to make sure policymakers, business leaders, journalists, prospective workforce entrants and others have greater awareness of this crucial fact. This is the rationale behind creating TIN.”
The move to launch the new site comes during what Tantillo called “exciting and challenging times for the U.S. textile industry,” in an opinion piece for the site.
“President Trump has made the reshoring of manufacturing a priority, giving the American textile sector its first real opportunity in a generation to level the playing field against unfair trade practices from abroad. Growing e-commerce is reconfiguring the retail sector, a trend that encourages a buy it, make it, ship it production model. Combined with low U.S. energy costs and advances in automating garment and sewn product assembly, possibilities for shifting some textile-related supply chains back to the United States and the Western Hemisphere from Asia are becoming increasingly promising,” Tantillo wrote in the piece.
He added that smart textiles are revolutionizing the industry, opening doors for applications beyond fashion, insulation or covering material. In addition, he noted that the U.S. textile industry is embracing greater efforts in sustainability.
“Many companies have set the goal of waste-free or near waste-free manufacturing, and more and more textile products are being designed with a circular lifecycle in mind,” Tantillo noted.
The new website is designed to make information such as media reports on plant expansions, new products, innovation and key policy issues for the textile supply chain “easy to access, track and digest,” according to Tantillo.
NCTO, originally formed in 2004 when the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and the American Yarn Spinners Association came together after a decade of deep retraction of the domestic industry and a flood of imports changed the sourcing landscape.
The new merger and makeup of NCTO comes as the Trump Administration has trade in the crosshairs, with tariffs being imposed and trade deals being renegotiated. The timing coincides with what has been a Made in America resurgence of sorts, driven largely by rising costs in China.
According to NCTO, U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 550,500 in 2017, down from 565,000 in 2016. The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion last year, up from $74.4 billion in 2016 and a 16 percent increase since 2009. Exports of fabric and yarn increased 6.7% in January compared to December and were up 4.8% year-to-year to reach $960 million.