No word from @duluthtradingcompany, but a piece in today’s @nytimes has turned my frown upside down. It’s called the Annals of Flannel (link in profile), written by Steven Kurutz, and it tells of @americangiant’s Bayard Winthrop and his epic quest to make yarn-dyed flannel shirts in the US.
He kept being told that it just couldn’t be done here anymore. Only he refused to accept that answer and kept pushing. His obstacles were huge. But he managed to piece together an incredible patchwork supply chain of tiny businesses still hanging on, including one that makes yarn-dyed shirting for the Metro-North and Long Island Railroads uniforms. How’s that for niche?
Although the particulars relate to cotton, this is a story we must hold onto for fuel—specially in light of the announced closure of the old Woolrich mill in Pennsylvania. It IS possible to make textiles in this country. It’s extraordinarily complicated and risky but it IS possible. And it’s so worth it. Thank you, Bayard Winthrop, for being just crazy enough to try.
PS: Bayard, when you’re ready to tackle American wool, give me a call.
PPS: The flannel in this photo is from a much-loved @cpshades tunic that was made here of imported fabric.