Apparel in the United States of America

July 18, 2014

The current state of the industry isn’t as big as it used to be. The history of apparel manufacturing in the USA goes as far back as the early settlers. The first cotton mill was opened in 1790. Soon afterwards, that mill was producing the mechanical loom for completing cloth as well as mechanized cotton carding and spinning.

After this innovation at the turn of the century, many textile mills continued to pop up in the east coast, each employing hundreds of workers. At the time of the Civil War, there were reportedly more than two million spindles in more than 1,200 cotton factories and 1,500 woolen factories in America.

The apparel industry at the turn of the 20th century was booming across the east coast, especially in New York City. In 1911, a great tragedy happened in one of these factories where 145 workers were killed in a fire. Because of this, unions stepped in to demand safer working environments in these factories. There were many reforms to help prevent future disasters, along with stronger labor unions.

The domestic apparel production continued through the highs and lows of both world wars, economic, and cultural changes. There were also dramatic changes to fashion. Things changed, however, in the 1970’s when mills started to be concerned with the newly-thriving international market.

Apparel eventually became a low cost imported commodity which would force companies that sold American made goods to shut their doors. By the 1990’s, the vast majority, approximately 80% of apparel production, was produced overseas. Today in 2014 some of that business is coming back to the states. Many people want American-made garments, including a number of our customers in Kansas City, MO that want custom screen printing and custom embroidery. Today there are manufacturers that offer more options – domestic or international tee shirts and other garments.Please give us a call for your free quote request in Kansas City, MO for your custom screen printing or embroidery needs. We are available to give you a quote 24/7 and yes, we answer our phones.