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28th April 2013, Chapel Hill, NC

Still Standing – The real story of North Carolina’s textiles industry

The video at the foot of this article was made by Robert Newton a TV documentary producer whose family were in textiles in North Carolina for generations. Newton got the idea for the documentary after he found himself constantly correcting people who said that the textiles industry in NC state was dead. It’s a full blown TV documentary which lasts 30 minutes but its well worth watching.

The documentary talks about a survey carried out in 2006 which found that there were still 1400 textiles companies operating in the state – after it was thought by many to be dead and buried. Its full of interviews with industry leaders and case studies of companies which are spearheading the revival of the industry

Still Standing - The real story of North Carolina's textiles industry

“My name is Robert Newton.  I’m a television producer in Chapel Hill, NC.  I got the idea for Still Standing in 2006 when I found myself constantly correcting people who said to me that the textile industry in NC was dead.  I grew up in Shelby, NC in a textile family.  And in 2006 my own family’s textile company, Ansley, Inc. was still in business,” Newton kicks off.

“But you only had to turn on the news during that time to hear stories about the “death of the textile industry in NC.”  I later heard elected officials repeat the same fallacy, that the textile industry was gone.  Having such deep roots in such an important industry, I felt I couldn’t let this idea go unchallenged.   So I partnered with noted Southern documentary veteran, Dr. Steve Channing, my Executive Producer, and we began to explore the idea of creating a documentary to set the record straight about just where the industry stood.”

Scene from Still Standing being filmed by Robert Newton.

A scene from Still Standing being filmed by Robert Newton

When he began, Newton worried a little that this mistaken notion was so pervasive that it might become sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  “We started filming a little here, a little there, raising funds and bringing partners on board who bought into our vision.  By 2011 most of the filming was done.  It took us about a year to finish editing, and in Nov. 2012 we held a screening at the NCSU College of Textiles,” he says.

“The official “premiere” though is right here on the internet in 2013, and we sincerely hope, with your help, we can get this story seen by as many people as possible.”

The documentary is a wholly independent production, not affiliated with any textile company, school, or governmental organization.  It was conceived and produced by one person who got an idea in 2006 and ran with that idea. “We offer it to the public on this site, free of charge, with hopes it will make a difference in the conversation about the textile industry in NC,” Newton concludes.

“All we ask in return is that if you like it, then share that "like" on social media.  We're excited about this internet premiere, and we sincerely hope this model of viewer distribution becomes the future for many television shows.”


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  • Maj-Britt Svane 13th April 2014 16:11PM

    Dejligt at se der er tekstilindustri I USA der vokser.

  • pardeep 20th November 2013 5:23AM

    i am knitting machine stoll operter from india

  • Kate Bini 7th July 2013 3:33AM

    I've worked in the Garment Center in NYC for my entire career. I always sourced fabrics. This documentary was awesome. It is so wonderful to see the textile industry thriving in North Carolina. I spent alot of time visiting mills in NC. BRAVO. I knew we could still make fabrics.

  • Editor 5th July 2013 16:10PM

    What kind of fabrics?

  • Michelle 5th July 2013 15:59PM

    Can you supply a current list of potential fabric suppliers from North Carolina?

  • Editor 5th July 2013 15:10PM

    You are very welcome. Its a great movie about a great story.

  • Display Name 5th July 2013 15:07PM

    Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story. As one in the US apparel industry, it is great to see how strong textiles are in the US.

    D Williams, Minnesota

  • Rajeev Malhotra - India. 5th July 2013 1:07AM

    I am so happy for the US Textile Industry. Time has come for a change in the US in this Industry. I would like to congratulate the person who made this documentary, and making people aware of the history and its Future. Yes USA you can do it.

  • Michelle Myers-Calhoun Sportswear/Catfish Calhoun Inc. 3rd July 2013 14:41PM

    Being a native Southerner (Georgia) myself, but married to an apparel manufacturing entrepreneur in St. Catharines, Ontario (who obviously loves the South-just look at his company name!), and having lived in Winston-Salem too, all of this is very close to my heart! Our business is now 40 years old, with many re-inventions over the years to survive! I hope we can develop a fabric supplier from North Carolina to be a part of their revival!

    We North Americans have to stand together in this age of change!

  • From a family of jeans manufacturing since 1938 24th June 2013 2:27AM

    Wow! Fabulous documentary. Much needed history and positive incentive for the state of North Carolina!

  • Cape Cod Knitters 8th June 2013 6:15AM

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Billy Hunter, Editor 9th May 2013 8:46AM


    You should contact Robert directly at robertnewton@mindspring.com. Please let me have details of your conference at editor@knittingindustry.com. Thanks, Billy

  • Jim Leonard 9th May 2013 2:01AM

    Robert--wonderful video--I would like to talk to you about the possibility of you speaking at a conference I have been doing for the past 4-5 years on the textile/apparel industry. I have worked with a number of the folks in your video--

    Jim Leonard (336) 454-3583


  • Bill Smith 2nd May 2013 17:11PM

    Outstanding video. Finally, a postitive textile story. Wish we could have wider distribution. We in the US, especially the textile South need to quit badmouthing the textile industry and focus on the bright spots, of which we have many, like those shown in this film. Echos what I have been saying for years -- "We're not dead yet - far from it" Still recommends the industry as a career -- mine has covered over 50 years.. One thing I wish it had said, many of the lost jobs have been due to new machinery and higher production with fewer workers.. Thanks Billy for showcasing this video.

  • duncan johnson 1st May 2013 19:44PM

    Absolutly brilliant. An inspration. I left the UK in the early 70s when the Bently Komet sock machine company was having a really hard time. I have been in South Africa since that time, and our industry has also been decimated by imports. But in reality the big companies were outdated and uncompetative. Buy like the documentry about North Carloina, the south African textile industry is starting to grow again through small start up companies using modern equipment. I had to watch this documentry twice. Wonderful.

  • Neil Cordice 1st May 2013 17:48PM

    I am very interested in this documentary. i am the CEO at Textile Automation Sales Ltd in the UK, we own the intellectual property rights to Detexomat, who during the 70's and 80's exported many, many sock toe closing machines to North Carolina. I was involved in the manufacturing of most of them. However during the 90's and the preceeding years sales declined dramatically., so I am really pleased to hear that the area has caught second wind and is thriving. Long may it continue. and bravo Mr. Newton for making this documentary.

  • Paul 1st May 2013 13:43PM

    Fascinating story - thank you

  • Display Name 1st May 2013 13:17PM

    Thank you Mr. Hunter for your story on this important documentary.

  • Display Name 29th April 2013 22:28PM

    I am not a native North Carolinian, but lived in Winston-Salem, for about 25 years, and worked in the Textile Industry for a total of just over 15 of those years. I worked for 3 different companies. My longest employment was 11 years with HANESbrands, Inc., and the plant I worked at, closed, and went to South or Central America, in 2007.