Posts tagged ‘textiles’

Trashing Textiles

USAgain (pronounced “use-again”) has released an info-graphic illustrating how many pounds of textiles Americans trash every year.  Pulling information from the EPA as well as running a 1,500 people survey, the green for-profit enterprise claims that 11 million tons of clothing end up in landfills each year.  The recycling firm works to reduce textile waste by providing thousands of convenient locations across the US where we can drop off our gently used clothes and shoes any time of the day, any day of the year.  By putting them back in the use cycle we conserve precious natural resources, prevent greenhouse gas emissions and save landfill space.  We at CRAiLAR think it’s not only important that we make a concerted effort to recycle our fashion by-products but also that we buy clothing that is sourced and manufactured sustainably.

12/06/2012 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

Harvest Time

As mentioned Wednesday this week, we would like to keep you updated on how things are going with the flax harvest this spring.  At the risk of sounding a bit smug, we can confidently say that our efforts are bearing fruit, seed and straw in our case.

We have been working on growth trials, trying various strains of flax from around the world, and testing the fields for a few seasons, and we are getting very close to harvest in South Carolina.  Winter growing is a bit of a challenge but flax is proving itself to be a very robust and hardy plant.

Below is a series of snaps that we’ve taken over the past week or so.  We’ve also been getting our growers together and up to date on the latest harvesting methods, equipment and building some good, old-fashioned CRAiLAR team spirit along the way.

Tending the field, assessing the crops’ progress

 Flax in bloom

Flax blossoms close up

Flax seed bolls closeup

Shelbourne Header fixed to the combine

 Shelbourne Stripper Header refresher course

 Setting up the mower (the flax straw will be cut as close to the ground as possible)

 Flax straw mowed and allowed to ret.  Next stop: Pamplico  

Speak to you soon!

The CRAiLAR Team

04/05/2012 at 10:08 pm 2 comments

Textiles 2012: The Prognosis Good

The U.S. industry’s rebound from the lows of the last decade is expected to continue into another year.

Robert S. Reichard, Economics Editor

The $70 billion U.S. textile and apparel sector is alive and, in fact, doing quite well. Too upbeat an appraisal? Not really — given the fact that even in today’s relatively lackluster business climate, these industries have managed to rack up gains for two consecutive years.

To be sure, the increases have been rather modest. Nevertheless, they mark a major change from the steady tattoo of declines and retrenchments that marked most of the past decade.

And the good news is almost sure to spill over into the new year. Again, any improvements will be far from spectacular. But, by and large, overall production, shipments and profit numbers should end up at or above 2011 levels when all the results are in.   To read the full story please click here.

01/02/2012 at 9:37 am Leave a comment

NAT Names Tom Robinson Chief Operating Officer

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas C. Robinson, a 27 year veteran of the textiles industry, as our Chief Operating Officer.  Robinson joins us from International Textile Group (ITG), where he was most recently Vice President of Cotton Operations Planning and Technical Support in the company’s apparel division.  Robinson’s appointment coincides with our imminent plan to establish a permanent production facility in Kingstree, S.C. that will replace our testing facility established there in August 2010. Jason Finnis, co-founder and immediate past COO, will become Chief Innovation Officer, responsible for innovation of sustainable bast fibers, cellulose pulp, and their resulting by-products.

“Tom is an excellent organizational fit for NAT whose appointment comes at a strategic time for the company,” said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. “He will assume leadership of our manufacturing facility currently in development, and brings with him experience launching four international manufacturing platforms.  Tom’s presence will allow us to advance current and future development and purchasing agreements with global partners.”

Robinson began his textiles career in 1984 with Burlington Industries, the leading full service apparel solutions organization for apparel manufacturers and retailers.  From 1984 to 2004 he held a number of leadership roles for the company, culminating in Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations Planning. His experience included greenfield startup manufacturing facilities, as well as oversight of multi-plant operations throughout the U.S., China, Mexico, India, Vietnam and Nicaragua.  ITG later purchased Burlington Industries to become one of its six current companies, and positioned it alongside Cone Mills, one of the premier denim manufacturers and wholesalers in the world.  In 2004, Robinson became Vice President of Operations Planning and Customer Support at Cone, where he was responsible for global denim operations planning, customer service, technical product development and quality control.  He played a key operations role in the integration of Burlington Industries and Cone Mills as they each became part of ITG.

Robinson brings with him deep textile experience with a focus on understanding the performance and customer impact of natural fibers in the spinning, weaving and knitting process.  He will be our senior-most executive permanently located in the Eastern U.S., where we plan to install a fully integrated flax fiber decortication and CRAiLAR enzymatic processing facility with the capacity to produce 650,000 pounds of CRAiLAR Flax fiber per week.  We expect to be ready to commence production in Q1 of 2012, ramping up to full-scale capacity by Q2.

Robinson is a 3rd generation textile industry veteran with a BA in economics and business from North Carolina State University, and an Executive Program Certificate from University of North Carolina.

Finnis, co-founder and now CIO, will increase his focus upon our deep relationships with research partners, including Canada’s National Research Council, United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA – ARS), and partners like HanesBrands. This newly created role will focus on ways to improve NAT’s processing techniques, throughput efficiencies, and yield.

08/09/2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

The Future of Fabric Structures

Fabric is one of the oldest materials humans have used for shelter; it remains an important material with diverse applications in design and construction today, and it will play an even more important role in the constructed environment in the future.

Predictions of energy scarcity and resource depletion, exacerbated by the burgeoning middle class in developing countries like China and India, point to ensuing decades of high commodity prices and fuel shortages.  In these circumstances, existing resources and structures will be valued more highly, and traditional, energy-intensive practices like “raze and rebuild”—in which buildings are demolished to make way for others—will be less attractive.  Instead, architects and builders will have to be more resourceful in their treatment of existing contexts and materials.

CLICK HERE to read the full story in Specialty Fabric Review.

03/06/2011 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

Alternative Fibres in High Demand

With so much talk about the soaring costs of cotton these days, we thought we’d offer a fresh perspective from the other side.

Due to undesirable weather conditions including flooding, cold snaps and hailstorms, cotton crops are coming up short this year and with the world’s demand of cotton so high, prices have been skyrocketing – rising almost 80% since July.  With global apparel prices stagnant for some time now,  apparel manufacturers and exporters are being hit hard.  Companies like Jockey, Liz Claiborne, Levi’s and Hanes are in search of a solution so as not to have to pass this price hike onto consumers.

While some are in search of cheaper cotton sources in Banglasdesh and Vietnam, others are attempting to find alterntive cost effective yarns to blend into their cotton garments.  You’d be surprised at the increase of emails we’ve received lately from spinners, knitters and manufacturers from around the world, enquiring about the availability and pricing of our CRAiLAR® fibres.

Both Levi’s and Hanes have stated that they will be integrating new materials into their products in order to lower costs, Bon-Ton chain is switching from 100 percent cotton in items like sweaters to more acrylic blends.  Liz Claiborne, which makes brands like Juicy Couture and Kate Spade, is also playing with some of the materials it uses.  One example, said spokeswoman Jane Randel,  would be shifting from some imported Italian fabrics to “suppliers who produce their own raw materials or yarns”.

Ms. Johnson,  an analyst with First Capital Group, stated that “We may be training a new generation to be far more accepting of synthetic fibers, which is likely to hurt cotton’s market share in the long run.”

We believe that companies can blend their way out of the cotton dilemma.  However, with the higher demand from manufacturers switching away from cotton mixed with the anticipated rise in oil costs, the price of polyester and other synthetic fibres continue to rise  – nearly 25% this past year.  So, are synthetic fibres the solution?

We believe that CRAiLAR® Organic Fibres are the foundation of the first truly sustainable yarn in the apparel industry, and are poised to become the revolutionary next step in sustainable fibres, providing an economically sustainable complement to cotton.

Created using bast fibres such as flax, hemp, jute and kenaf, the yarns made from CRAiLAR® Organic Fibres can be used in knit, woven or nonwoven fabrics, alone, or blended with other natural fibers.  CRAiLAR® can be used in both mainstream and alternative apparel and fashion fabrics, as well as industrial textiles.  Through spinning trials, CRAiLAR® Flax was found to be of very high quality and ideally suited for fine knit items such as T-shirts.

With cotton prices currently well over a dollar per pound, flax is a cost-effective raw material for fibre production.  We estimate that we will be able to provide CRAiLAR® Flax at approximately $0.90 per pound making it an econimically viable complement to cotton.


18/11/2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

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