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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

130 years old iconic US mill ‘Cone Denim’ introduces sustainable designs

US mill Cone has come a long way from making denim the conventional way 130 years back to 100 percent recycled cotton designs. It has unveiled a multi-directional collection of fabrics for the autumn-winter of 2025.

Cone Mills Corporation, often referred to simply as Cone, is a historic and iconic textile mill in the United States, renowned for its production of denim. Founded in 1891 by Brothers Moses and Ceasar Cone, the company quickly established itself as a leader in the textile industry, particularly in the manufacturing of denim fabrics.

Initially it focused on producing high-quality denim fabrics, going on to become a key supplier for major brands, including Levi Strauss & Co. Its White Oak plant, established in 1905, became one of the most famous denim mills in the world. It is known for its production of selvedge denim, which is highly sought after for its durability and unique aesthetic.

Cone Mills was at the forefront of textile innovation, introducing various improvements in denim production techniques. It maintained a reputation for high-quality, durable fabrics. That has great impact on Denim Industry going on to become integral to the growth of the American jeans industry.

Faced with increasing competition from overseas manufacturers and changing market conditions, Cone Mills experienced financial difficulties in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

However it survived somehow and in line with sustainability trends has mastered a way of using its industrial cotton waste, which has traditionally been used for insulation or stuffed toys, separating it in such a way that it is pure enough to make a natural colour. The spinning machines are modified and the weaving slowed to make a durable 100 percent recycled fabric.

The next stage of R&D will be to add slub patterns to the 100 percent recycled fabrics. Its Cone’s Luxe for Life collection uses cotton-tencel blends, which fits well with Western wear and Radio Star is a slubby cotton-tencel blend with some recycled cotton, which works well for 90s/YK2 looks.

Other collections include a green cast fabric which previously had green cast fabric that was muddy, but Cone has created one that can look like indigo but with hints of green.

At Kingpins Amsterdam, Cone also showed its collaboration with COLOURizd, a technology that directly infuses pigments and a binder into the yarn, eliminating the need for traditional dye baths. This results in a 90 percent reduction in water and 73 percent reduction in carbon footprint compared with conventional dyeing.

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