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From The Editor

Textiles 2010: A Look Ahead

Jim Borneman, Editor in Chief

T he intriguing part of putting together Textile World 's first issue of the year is getting a glimpse of the opinions of industry leaders mixed with outside analysis.

The good news is that there are reports from companies that support a sense of renewal - a sense that the rate of decline has softened, and that they are now participating in rebuilding inventories and have opportunities as new supply chains are assembled.

Yarn Market Editor Jim Phillips reports optimism with a dose of concern from U.S. yarn spinners. It is unfortunate that plant closures in 2009 reduced spinning capacity. However, this may produce opportunities for remaining spinners, but it also might present the threat of short supply petitions.

Economics Editor Robert S. Reichard produced TW 's annual economic outlook, and it is definitely worth taking the time to read. Reichard has been reporting on the industry for years, and this year offers a sense of rebuilding and recovery - not overly optimistic, but his numbers seem to have flattened out, and now project marginal increases as the industry reorganizes from the free fall of recent years.

TW also had the opportunity to speak with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association President and CEO Wally Darneille. Darneille also is chairman of NCTO and is focused on a range of issues facing the industry. His Executive Forum interview just scratched the surface of the breadth of industry activities and opportunities facing his company and the industry as a whole. One of the most interesting subjects Darneille broached is the opportunity for U.S. cotton to impact socially conscious retailers by going beyond sustainability and presenting full traceability of a garment's fiber - in this case, cotton jeans - all the way back to the field where the cotton was grown. The program, SAFEDenim - Sustainable, American and Friendly to the Environment - could be a real solution for retailers and brands as they continue to develop sustainable solutions for the apparel marketplace.

Darneille's overarching view appears to be one of engagement, of activating all aspects of the industry and reaching out to other textile associations in Central America to come together and take on issues that could impact the Western Hemisphere.

But there are still big unknowns out there, ranging from uncertain U.S. domestic policies - healthcare, taxes, cap and trade, and more - to just how quickly the consumer will resume spending.

There seems to be consensus that serious doom and gloom are subsiding and that somehow textiles is entering a stabilizing phase. Plans for reinvestment are on the table, but the confidence and credit aren't always in place to pull the trigger. Some, however, are happening - with $6.5 million going into a new facility in Gaffney, S.C.; $75 million committed to new facilities in Lacassine, La.; $13 million into an expansion in Bristol, Va.; $80 million into a facility in Statesville, N.C.; and $1.1 million into upgrades at an Ellerbe, N.C. facility - all reported in this issue of TW .

2010 is no time for the faint of heart, but for many, 2010 will be better than the recent past and may mark the beginning of the uptick all have been looking for.

January/February 2010