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We frequently receive inquiries about our supply chain and material sourcing due to our specialized experience in the U.S. manufacturing. Recently, a customer reached out with a particularly intriguing question about our Corduroy Standard Jean.
"Could you please let me know where the cotton for these pants is grown and whether the pants are vegan, i.e. without leather patches?"
We thought our community would be interested to know, and here is our response.
"The cord jean made in los angeles is 100% cotton, but imported fabric. We can no longer find an American made corduroy fabric since galey & lord mill went out of business. No leather patch as patch is self-corduroy fabric."

 

 

Galey and Lord Textile Mill stands as a distinguished institution with a storied history and expertise in textile manufacturing. Founded in 1886 by partners William Galey and Charles Lord, the company initially focused on marketing fabrics to the apparel industry.

The pivotal moment for the company arrived during World War II when Galey & Lord began supplying khaki fabric to the U.S. military. Their trademark Camerton Army Cloth became the standard issue for uniforms, earning them the moniker "King of Khaki." This reputation endured, and Galey & Lord maintained its leadership in the khaki market well into the 1990s.

In 1993, the company expanded its repertoire to include corduroy, implementing a distinctive manufacturing approach that experimented with dyeing and finishing processes to set their fabrics apart from competitors.

Galey & Lord operates from three manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, proudly standing as the only vertical producer of corduroy in the United States. However, their once-strong legacy faced a setback when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2003, unable to withstand the trend of offshoring. This downfall led to the abandonment of their textile dyeing and finishing plant in northeastern South Carolina in 2016.

Tragically, it was discovered that the wastewater treatment plant was left unremediated, leading to environmental repercussions. Tests revealed contamination in the wetlands and sediments of Cedar Creek and the Great Pee Dee River, with metals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) posing significant concerns. PFOA and PFOS, known as PFAs, are synthetic compounds with persistent environmental impacts, earning them the moniker "forever chemicals."

Since 2019, environmental agencies have initiated cleanup efforts at the site, and in 2021, the location was added to the National Priority List for ongoing long-term remediation.

The iconic leather patch was introduced by Levis as a distinctive branding trim. In 1873, they incorporated a leather patch onto their riveted denim waist overalls, serving as a mark of authenticity that set their products apart from counterfeits.

However, in today's market, numerous commodity jeans opt for a "Jacron" patch as an alternative to leather. Jacron is a form of paper treated with latex, skillfully crafted to replicate the appearance of leather.

At present, our corduroy fabric comes from Asia, and undergoes cutting, sewing, and dyeing in Los Angeles. Due to its imported nature, we lack precise data about the cotton's origin. The blending of cotton fibers in yarn spinning mills makes tracing the source quite challenging.

Our corduroy remains 100% cotton, steering clear of petroleum-based materials like polyester and spandex. This choice not only aligns with our ethos but also grants us better control over the dyeing process.

While our goal is to eventually create a garment entirely derived from plants, our present approach involves using polyester sewing thread and zipper tape to enhance durability.

Photographer | Dan McMahon @imageheavy

Creative Director | David Mullen

Model | Anselmo Arias

© Save Khaki United 2023

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