Before becoming President of Fashion Fabrics of America, textile expert Mitchell Peligri saw firsthand how harmful fast fashion is for the environment and people involved.
After spending 15 years in the U.S. textile business, he watched his colleagues and competitors slowly move manufacturing overseas. The textile industry was hit hard during the offshoring movement, leaving manufacturers with a choice–adapt to industry changes and move production overseas, or find a new job. Faced with a tough decision, Mitchell decided to import.
“I loved the industry and this is what I knew,” Mitchell said. “So, I became an importer.”
During his time as an importer, he travelled around the world, finding beautiful fabrics from all different cultures. While traveling to textile factories in foreign countries, he encountered horrible human rights abuses he never expected. After seeing the conditions the workers endured, he vowed to leave the imported textile industry, bring awareness to the harm it was causing, and start an entirely ethical and Made in USA textile business.
“I felt it was my duty because no one was picking up the baton. Someone has to pick it up and start twirling it.”
That was 10 years ago. Today, Mitchell is President of Fashion Fabrics of America. Inc., an entirely American mill-direct textile resource offering a variety of textiles from dressy to athletic fabrics.
Fashion Fabrics of America works with over 10 U.S. mills and three garment companies, making it a one-stop-shop for apparel companies that want to keep production in America. Although the company has been around for 10 years, Mitchell says business is just finally starting to pick up due to tariffs on textile imports. Since Fashion Fabrics is connected to several U.S. textile mills, it’s the ideal resource for transitioning an apparel company to Made in America, capable of making garments of 300,000 units or more per month.
“Textile is a commodity, just like oil,” Mitchell explains. Just like oil can run low, prints and clothing trends are quick to go out of style, meaning businesses have to work twice as quickly to stay on top of trends. As COVID-19 has caused shipping delays, many importer companies have had to throw out unused prints because they arrived to the U.S. after the trend had expired.
So, although Mitchell wishes that human rights abuse was enough to persuade businesses to buy Made in America, there are now several other factors contributing to the cause. Higher freight prices, slow shipping, and costly tariffs are starting to take a toll on importers and urge them to reshore production so they have easy accessibility to their suppliers.
“At the end of the day, it’s country first, profit second,” Mitchell says.
Are you ready to be part of the Made in USA movement?