Debi van Zyl

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AMERICA'S TEXTILE INDUSTRY

It's no surprise that I love fabric and yarn, so I was struck by these amazing photos, published recently in the New York Times Magazine, by Christopher Payne documenting more than 20 of the mills in the Northeast. These days most of the world's textile production takes place overseas, but there are a few mills in the States that still operate, making up what's left of the dwindling American textile industry. See the slideshow here.

Circular knitting machines, Fall River Knitting Mills, Fall River, Mass. Photograph by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Circular knitting machines, Fall River Knitting Mills, Fall River, Mass.
Photograph by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Picker and duster for separating and cleaning raw wool, Bartlettyarns, Harmony, Me. Photograph by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Picker and duster for separating and cleaning raw wool, Bartlettyarns, Harmony, Me.
Photograph by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Wool carders, S & D Spinning Mill, Millbury, Mass. Photograph by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Wool carders, S & D Spinning Mill, Millbury, Mass.
Photograph by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery

What eerie images and a haunting look at the past... and the colors! You can see more of the mills on Payne's website.

While the American Northeast may be losing its textile production, Los Angeles is a city busting at the seams, so to speak, with clothing manufacturing. Much of the fabric comes from overseas still, but it's imported and assembled here into the things we wear everyday. Did you know that Los Angeles produces 75% of the world's denim? My friend, Cathy, did some fascinating research into the denim industry, which is pretty inefficient and dirty. She advocates an innovative architectural approach to denim production (from cotton ball to sewing room floor). "She’s proposing the design of a new factory that employs sustainable denim manufacturing practices and provides public display and educational facilities. Ultimately such a scheme offers consumers a unique vantage point onto the denim industry and brings them closer to the products they’re consuming. would clean up the process and brings them closer to the products they’re consuming."

If such an approach to textile production were to take place, just image the mills of the future? Not to mention the global and environmental impact.

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