From the USDA: The United States lost more than 900,000 textile and apparel jobs from 1994 to 2005 which subsequently led to the closing of hundreds of mills across America. This week’s featured Monday Maker is the story about a young investment banker who took it upon himself to rescue the last of two remaining textile mills in the United States.
Please meet Jacob Harrison Long.
The journey started when Jacob purchased the American Woolen Company trademark in 2013. Educated as an engineer with an investment banking career that took him all over the world, Jacob was drawn to the idea of manufacturing men’s luxury clothing – in the USA. American Woolen was a leading producer of the finest woolen and worsted fabrics in the U.S. For close to a century, the company operated 58 textile mills in New England and employed over 40,000 people.
NAFTA led to the decimation of the American apparel industry and the closing of most of the mills and American Woolen Company was not spared. When Jacob purchased the brand name in 2013 the company needed a new home. At the same time, the famous luxury Italian brand, Loro Piana, bought out by the LVMH conglomerate, was closing its Warren Mills manufacturing facility in Stafford Springs, CT. Jacob stepped in and took over the mills and gave American Woolen Company its new home.
Credit to J Holt
The idea was to own and operate his own supply chain and break away from the high-volume trade that the American textile industry has struggled with. He instead wished to focus on creating a very high end product competing with European textiles rather than cheap Asian goods.
Jacob, himself always impeccably dressed like a true gentleman, understood style, sophistication, taste and luxury. He also understood that the American man has different color and fabric sensibilities than his European counterpart and American Woolen Company is developing fabrics tailored to the American textile market.
Jacob teamed up with third-generation textile manufacturer Jennifer Knight.
The two are committed to bringing back jobs and the technical mastery required to make the finest natural fiber fabrics in the world and to do so in America. The two want to prove that the American textile industry can produce a high quality American Made product.
Jacob and Jennifer believe that American manufacturing is poised for a comeback and that there exists a real desire, on the luxury end, to work with textiles made in the USA. It’s all about the Farm2Table movement and the consumer’s desire to know the provenance of his food, his clothing and products. Real hands making something beautiful.
Jacob and Jennifer are convinced that now is the time for America to reclaim its rich textile history. Upon purchasing the mill, Jacob rehired the many employees who had been laid off by the initial closure of the mill. People who had been working there for as many as 25 years. Real people, artisans, knowledgeable, skilled and proud of their work.
Meet Wendy in samples and shipping and Chanjira the factory’s re-coning operator.
And William, the finishing fulling operator.
Or Angelo, pattern cutter and a master at his craft.
American Woolen is only just getting started.
Brands like J.Crew have taken notice. J.Crew has incorporated ‘Made in America’ into their accessories collection.
Its signature Ludlow suit is made from American Woolen Company’s fabric and crafted by master tailor, Martin Greenfield, in Brooklyn, NY.
American Woolen is busy designing their own collection of men’s luxury jackets.
Their FW 2017 Cashmere collection is coming together.
The collaboration with Brothers & Craft has turned out this exquisite camelhair sport coat.
Their plaid flannel sport coat which pairs exquisitely with denim or khaki for those special big city moments.
There’s tremendous room for growth at the mill and within the industry. They’re trying to reinvent an industry that America once led and is ready to lead again. Notable designer’s like HVRMINN have taken notice – ” one thing great about American Woolen is they have a huge collection of designs. I’ve never seen a big collection like that before. I was very impressed when I visited the mill.” HVRMINN, known for his military inspired collection has put the following stunning FW 2016 collection together for men using American Woolen fabrics.
All New American is delighted to present another ‘Made in the USA’ company offering a quality American Made product. Since 2014, the American Woolen Company has reentered the market of designing, manufacturing and distributing American Made textiles for both the men’s and women’s luxury markets. Today, Warren Mills in Stafford Springs, CT is the manufacturing headquarters of American Woolen Company. It is the only domestic mill capable of producing the highest qualities of both worsted and woolen cloth thanks to Jacob’s vision and passion. Jacob and his team can be proud to be part of the American community that is fuel for the engine that makes America great.
Thank you for giving us your time today. Have a great week. The Team.