North Carolina-based Guilford Performance Textiles has partnered with Concept III to develop business with leading outdoor and active-wear U.S. apparel brands. Guilford has been noted for leadership in producing high quality synthetic knit fabrics for automotive and specialty applications since 1946.
“This partnership makes great sense,” says Devin Warren, Guilford director of sales and product development, “Concept III brings with it decades of strong relationships and performance fabric expertise, while Guilford is uniquely positioned to help customers continue their trend of shifting sourcing back to this hemisphere.”
Both Guilford and Concept III are well versed in the western hemisphere’s connections for manufacturing apparel. While Asian supply chains are still very important to U.S. brands, garment production in the Americas has become increasingly significant. A rise in global transportation and manufacturing costs has made apparel production in Mexico and Central America even more attractive with its lower costs and shorter lead times.
“Outdoor and active apparel has become everyday street wear around the globe,” says Chris Parkes, Concept III partner and director of sales, “Much of the volume is in poly/spandex or nylon/spandex which Guilford offers in a collection of ‘top-of-the-line knits’ and has done so here in the U.S. for over 65 years.”
While premium, smooth surface knits have and will make up the bulk of Guilford’s customer requests, Parkes describes the company an innovation leader strategically geared to further develop countless unique fabrics, and finishes that enhance both performance and aesthetics.
Concept III’s preference are to work with environmentally sensitive and compliant mills. Guilford has constructed a methane gas pipeline from a local landfill to power plant generators and also recycles 98% of all its fabric waste. “Their social and environmental responsibility is impressive,” says Parkes.