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Why It Matters Where Your Fabric Comes From

Posted by Guilford of Maine on September 20, 2016

A view of some looms in our weave room - Guilford, Maine

When we purchase anything, whether it is a piece of clothing or a piece of furniture, it is easy to overlook where that product is made. It's easy to forget about all of the processes, people, expertise, resources and energy it took to get it into your hands. A lot of fabric is made overseas, but let's examine some of the drawbacks and why we think it's beneficial to purchase textiles made in the USA and Canada.

Quality

We strive to make the best textiles we can. Generations of people in our mills take pride in the hard work they are doing. We hear quite often about the sketchy quality of imported fabric that is full of flaws or off-shade. This can be trouble if you end up not having enough fabric to finish a job, and your suppliers inventory is gone.

Shorter Lead Times

When fabric is made overseas, they weave container loads at a time, and put it on the slow boat over here to be warehoused. Once that inventory is used up, there are typically long lead times to manufacture more fabric and then a long wait to ship it over to the USA.

Labor Standards

Many countries have no minimum wage restrictions, or the minimum wage is outrageously low. When you choose products made in the USA or Canada, you contribute to the payment of an honest day's wages for an honest day's work. You know that children weren't making your product and that the workers weren't being exploited.

Locality

It takes energy to ship anything, and the farther it travels, the more energy is used. When you buy textiles, or any product that is made closer to you, less fossil fuels and resources are used to get that product to you.Environmental Standards

In the USA and Canada we have strict environmental protocols that we need to follow when making yarn, weaving, dying or finishing. These laws insure we aren't polluting the local water supply or the ground or the air around our facilities. This is not always the case when fabric is made overseas. Also, the majority of fabric that we produce is made of recycled content, and is recycleable at the end of its useful life.

We know you have a lot of choices when it comes to where to buy textiles from. So thank you for choosing us for your fabric needs. We are proud of the work we do and that all of our products are still made on this side of the ocean.

Topics: Textiles 101 Sustainability