Geoff Krasnov offers apparel/clothing/garment manufacturing and sourcing news.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Update on cotton yarn availability

Cotton yarn spinning has gone through quite an evolution in the past 5 years. Where there were once many smaller spinners churning out 1-3 million pounds a week (Cheraw, Borden, Avondale, Harriet and Henderson, Swift, RL Stowe,Vintage, etc) we saw a huge consolidation of acquisitions and mill closures, resulting in two top dogs (Frontier and Parkdale) , who produce in excess of 9 million pounds of yarn a week each (while all of the aforementioned mills are gone)! During the worst of the recession both of these spinners looked for efficiencies through reductions in labor and closures of less profitable operations. As demand started to build again both operations found a shortfall in capacity of the most basic of commodity yarns. Those utilizing open end yarns have no buying options outside of domestic mills, as the rest of the world never took to open end spinnings labor reduction gains, as they already had very low labor costs. Hence, import yarns are strictly ring spun. To answer the shortfall Frontier is investing $15million in its Sanford operations and Parkdale is re-opening a Gaffney plant purchased from Wellstone and investing $45 million to re-furbish and upgrade equipment and facilities.

In the meantime, production backlogs are extending weeks to months, as inventories have shrunk from weeks to just days. In many cases, buyers are having to resort to purchasing lower quality yarns to keep pricing in line with retailer expectations. Prices have risen over 40% on most commodity yarns in just the past 6 months, increasing apparel costs by 5-8%. As a buyer of apparel, you need to be aware of any yarn substitutions that may effect durability or eveness of the finished product.

Style Source Inc has not made any yarn substitutions and has continued to find alternatives to help defray rising raw material costs. We currently have implimented a cotton surcharge of 4% on our pre-patterned apparel, absorbing a portion of the overall increases. Buyers need to stay informed of market conditions, as most manufacturers are minimizing on hand inventories while material costs remain elevated, so ordering further in advance or taking a stronger finished inventory position is highly recommended.

Purchasing custom apparel from Style Source Inc means having a management team with over 100 years of industry experience to guide you with material sourcing, fabric selection, private label clothing options, re-labelling of existing apparel, or building an apparel brand. Our apparel import division has over 25 years of importing experience and can provide you with fully customized apparel starting at 1200 piece minimums per style and 600 per color. Give us a call at 910-399-2288 to begin your journey of creating custom private label apparel!