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Apparel brands and textile companies unite to produce medical masks

March 23rd, 2020 / By: / In the Industry

A coalition of iconic American apparel brands and textile companies, responding to the urgent call from the White House for medical supplies, have come together to build a supply chain virtually overnight and fast-track the manufacturing of medical face masks to help hospitals, health care workers and citizens battling the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) made the announcement Sunday, March 22. 

Parkdale Inc., the largest yarn spinner in the U.S. and headquartered in North Carolina, helped lead the effort to build the coalition and six other companies to set up a manufacturing supply chain and begin ramping up production of the masks.

The coalition consists of brands that are often competitors, such as Hanesbrands and Fruit of the Loom, who are now joining together in the effort. American Giant, Los Angeles Apparel, AST Sportswear, Sanmar, America Knits, Beverly Knits and Riegel Linen are also part of the coalition 

The companies expect to begin production on March 23 and will make the first deliveries by mid-week. They are dedicating their assets, resources and manufacturing capacities to create a high output of facemasks. Once fully ramped up in four to five weeks, the companies expect to produce up to 10 million facemasks per week in the United States and in Central America.

Dr. Peter Navarro, assistant to the President and director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, worked with the coalition and helped expedite the production of these masks. The first face masks have been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Companies interested in dedicating resources to help, may contact NCTO at  kellis@ncto.org. NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers.