US manufacturers are developing advanced materials such as conductive fabrics with antistatic properties, electronic textiles that monitor heart rate and other vital signs, antimicrobial fibers, life-saving body armor, and fabrics that adapt to the climate.
There are a vast range of products offered by the industry, from burlap and cheese cloth, to industrial woven fabrics, to specialty fabrics for the aerospace manufacturing environment and beyond. US textile and apparel manufacturers shipped nearly $78 billion of products in 2017, exporting nearly $29 billion of materials to more than 200 countries worldwide.
Over the past three months, sourcing for fabrics is up 21 per cent over its historical average, sourcing in the category of industrial textiles is up eight per cent, and sourcing for textiles is up six per cent. This activity comes at a time when the US is focusing closely on trade, to level the playing field for US manufacturers against unfair trade practices from abroad – something that has hit the American textile industry hard in recent decades. Other factors playing into what many see as a resurgent US textile industry are low domestic energy costs, advances in automation, and a growing buy it, make it, ship it production model made possible by e-commerce.