TextileWorld: AAPN’s 2019 Carolina Mill Tour: Raising The Industry’s “Apparel IQ


Thanks to Rachel S. Davis and Textile World for this great piece:

Pulling off the Carolina Mill Tour is no easy feat for the Atlanta-based American Apparel Producers’ Network (AAPN). The logistics and transportation required for the event take countless hours of planning, but for the past two years — with the assistance of participating mills — AAPN has made it happen.

Established in 2018, the idea for the tour originated with Ron Roach, president, Contempora Fabrics, Lumberton, N.C. Over the course of five full days, the 2019 tour took 24 participants — who source fabric, production or trim directly for a brand/retailer — to seven mills located in North and South Carolina to learn first-hand about production methods and capabilities that exist in the Carolinas. The tour even threw in a regional AAPN meeting in Charlotte one morning, so participants also got to experience a regional AAPN meeting — one that featured VF Corp. Vice President Thomas A. Glaser.

Participants in the 2019 mill tour came from companies including PVH Corp.; Jockey International; Dick’s Sporting Goods; Fanatics; Tegra; VF Workwear; Haggar; and the U.S. Air Force Uniform Office.

Speaking of the 2019 mill tour participants, AAPN Managing Director Mike Todaro said: “We were delighted to have 24 people from 12 organizations, especially since 16 of those touring were women. This dovetails into our new AAPN(Women) initiative. These young people want to take new skills back to work. They come expecting to learn textiles, but what they also take away is knowledge that others share their profession and that there is a network of them as well.”

Learning Opportunities
Each participating mill had the chance to showcase their capabilities, and was asked to offer insightful tours with education thrown in. American & Efird’s U.S. Global Retail Solutions Manager Bo Graham presented an interactive short course on different threads and when and how it makes sense to use them. The presentation was coupled with a tour of A&E’s Mount Holly dyeing and finishing facility.

Hamrick Mills’ Director of Sales Jim Hopkins gave an entertaining, but insightful look into textile terms common to spinning and weaving — for example, in the textile world, sliver is not a term used to describe something that seeps out of the corner of one’s mouth while sleeping; and drawing is not something performed using a pencil and paper — before participants saw first-hand Hamrick’s spinning and weaving capabilities on a lengthy and informative tour.

Stacey Bridges, vice president of sales, CCW, discussed a variety of dyeing and finishing processes in-depth with tour attendees before the group saw the technologies live and in action on the CCW plant floor.

Positive Reactions
Feedback regarding the 2019 tour was positive from both participating mills and tour attendees. Read More