Cone Denims White Oak mill has been in production since 1905

Cone Denim's White Oak mill has been in production since 1905

The US is to lose its last selvedge denim mill, after International Textile Group (ITG) announced plans to cease operations at the Cone Denim White Oak facility in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The move comes just a year after ITG was acquired by private equity firm Platinum Equity, and the closure of the White Oak plant on 31 December will mark an end to its more than 110 years of continuous production. Around 200 workers are likely to by impacted by the closure.

In a statement sent to just-style, the company blamed declining order volumes for the facility's selvage denim, which is used for high-end jeans, as well as customers shifting more of their denim fabric sourcing overseas.

"Despite tremendous efforts on the part of the plant staff and all employees to manage these changes, the plant's large size provides much more capacity than is needed resulting in a significantly higher manufacturing cost that cannot be supported in a sustainable business going forward."

"We truly regret having to take this action to close the mill," adds Kenneth Kunberger, president and CEO of Cone Denim and International Textile Group.

The iconic mill has operated continuously since it was founded in 1905, and is best-known for its 1940s vintage American Draper X3 shuttle looms that produce vintage selvage denim not available anywhere else in the world.

The company has committed to work closely with its White Oak customers to fulfil all orders over the coming months, including transitioning styles to its other global platforms. Cone Denim also has state-of-the-art operations in Mexico and China as well as the Cone 3D R&D incubator focused on advancing denim innovation, performance and sustainability.

just-style has been told the Cone 3D R&D centre will still be based out of Greensboro and will drive new developments and innovations through Cone Denim's facilities in Mexico and China.

"The White Oak legacy will forever fuel Cone's inspiration and innovation as a leader in performance and denim authenticity," a spokesperson said.  

Parent company International Textile Group, too, will continue to be headquartered in Greensboro, with ten manufacturing operations across the US, Mexico and China.