Clothing Line Aims To Support NC’s Textile Industry

By Jennifer Bringle
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Having a completely domestic, sustainable operation model is fashion entrepreneur Kat Williford’s way of supporting not only her fellow North Carolinians but also a textile industry that has experienced serious decline over the past few decades.

The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Growing up in North Carolina, Kat Williford understood the importance of the textile industry to the state. And while studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design, she interned with local fashion luminaries Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim, gaining experience designing and producing garments made with fabric produced in the Tar Heel State.

But it wasn’t until Williford moved thousands of miles away to Budapest, Hungary, that she found the impetus to make her own mark on the North Carolina textile scene.

“I believe that living abroad challenges your perception of the world in ways that impact you for your entire life,” she says. “For me, living in Hungary taught me that I can make something out of nothing. The creative scene in Budapest is thriving because of the generation of kids who were born as communism fell. They didn’t have the luxuries (or the dependence on those luxuries) that I grew up with in America. They had to create everything for themselves.”

That independent spirit inspired Williford to found Pamut Apparel (pamutapparel.com), a Raleigh-based, sustainably-sourced women’s apparel line.

“I strongly believe that sustainability is the future of fashion, and consumers are starting to catch on, too,” Williford says. “Our customers want to know that they aren’t contributing to sweatshop labor or environmental pollution.”

The line, which includes shirts, pants, dresses and more, is made with organic or sustainably loomed cotton sourced in the United States. Those fibers are woven into fabric at an employee-owned knitting plant in Lumberton. The garments are then produced in western North Carolina by cut-and-sew operation Opportunity Threads. And any pieces bearing screen prints, such as the company’s positive-message tees, are printed by Durham-based Hey Monkey Design or Greensboro’s TS Designs.

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