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					US feature:Harrogate Swimwear & Lingerie.qxd               01/03/2011     10:09     Page 38

           Company profile

           Made in US
           Rising labour costs in the Far East and a growing American consumer appetite
           for US-made products has prompted one family knitted fabric firm to consider
           bringing cut and sew back. John McCurry reports

           Los Angeles-based Eagle Fabrics has been        Ottoman and seersucker. Knitting
           making a variety of knit fabrics for a wide     machinery ranges from 8 to 32 gauge.
           assortment of markets for 23 years. A           The company can also supply a range of
           family-owned and operated company,              woven fabrics such as poplin.
           Eagle Fabrics was founded by India-born           The array of fibres used in the
           entrepreneur Pradeep Loomba in 1988.            company’s products is just as vast. It
             “Our primary markets include                  includes cotton, Supima cotton, Modal,
           contemporary men’s and women’s, missy,          Micro Modal, wool, linen, flax, cashmere
           children’s and juniors,” says Diviya            blends, Dri-release, nylon, viscose, acrylic,
           Loomba, Eagle Fabrics’s vice president of       spandex, polyester and rayon.
           marketing. “We pretty much cover the              Finishing processes used by Eagle
           whole spectrum. Our customers include           Fabrics include conventional and organic
                                                                                                           Diviya Loomba of Eagle Fabrics believes
           those who are not only looking for high-        dyeing, finishing, laundering,                  the future of US fabric manufacturing
           end fabrics but for the best quality at         compacting, brushing, sanding and               is bright
           reasonable prices and especially more so        wicking. The company also offers
           now than ever, our eco-friendly fabrics         customers both pigment and wet                  back to the Americas.
           and practices. Our size, capacity and           printing. Eagle Fabrics accomplishes its          “The contemporary market has and
           flexibility enable us to serve large and        manufacturing by leasing plants in the          always will stay here in the US because
           small customers alike. Our hands-on             Los Angeles area that work under its            they need the latest fabrics in the
           approach allows us to welcome new start-        guidance and quality control, according         quickest time. Local manufacturing is in
           up companies who are looking for a              to Ms Loomba. It employs 18 people              a position to turn around goods in two
           reliable, innovative knit fabric source.”       directly and 200 indirectly, she says.          to four weeks while overseas it takes two
             Eagle Fabrics’s product lines appeal to         Ms Loomba, who is Pradeep Loomba’s            to three months.
           the sportswear, junior, contemporary,           daughter, says Eagle Fabrics has two              Now, other markets are also switching
           children’s, loungewear, dance, yoga,            primary sources of inspiration for fabric       gears and moving manufacturing back to
           maternity, activewear, eco-friendly, and        development. The company develops new           this hemisphere between the US, Mexico
           outdoor markets featuring performance           fabrics based on forthcoming trends in          and Central America because of high
           fabrics such as Dri-Release and ‘body           both American and European markets.             labour costs. We also cater to customers
           conscious’ fabrics such as Lenzing Modal.       The other way is through concepts               who are based in Los Angeles but ship to
           Some of Eagle Fabrics’s apparel customers       suggested by customers.                         cut and sew in Central America. There is
           include Elizabeth and James, Monrow,              “Customers come to us with different          a huge shift from garment production in
           The Row, Barbara Lesser, Hot Cotton,            fabrics that they’d like to incorporate         Asia to this region.”
           Charlie Rocket and Gregory Quinn.               different aspects from and create their           Ms Loomba says the volatility of the
             Eagle Fabrics also has varied knitting        own unique blend,” she says. “We work           cotton market is the company’s biggest
           capabilities including jersey, rib, flat rack   from scratch developing fabrics that fit        current obstacle.
           rib, sweater knit, single knit, double knit,    the needs of our customers.”                      “The challenge at the moment is cotton
           terry/loop terry/velour, French terry,            Eagle Fabrics keeps a close watch on          pricing and availability, at least over the
           fleece, interlock, pointelle, piqué, stretch,   evolving global shifts in the industry,         short term. The future in US fabric
           burnout, mélange, prints, ponte/double          which are changing the supply chain, she        manufacturing is very bright because
           face, gauze, yarn-dyed, mesh, velvet,           says. Speed to market requirements are          there is a growing affection for ‘Made in
           sherpa, crépe, jacquard, metallic,              bringing some cut and sew operations            USA’ in the new generation.”

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                                                                                                                     Company profile

          Ms Loomba and her father have                 Mr Loomba grew up in a family                  fit and high fashion appeal.
        recently started up an apparel company        involved in wool and acrylic yarn                  As a family owned company, Eagle
        called Dirt LA, which specialises in eco-     spinning in India. He moved to                   Fabrics has particular advantages, believes
        fashion. The company’s mission                Portland, Oregon, where he started a             Mr Loomba. “The advantage of public
        statement says Dirt LA ‘strives to            company focusing on woollen                      companies is an overall higher capital
        transform the eco-fashion industry by         sweaters and imports. He later moved             which enables unlimited resources but
        providing designer collections that infuse    to Los Angeles where he launched                 with a family owned company, we’ve been
        complete earth-conscious fabrics,             Eagle Fabrics.                                   able to call all the shots and make our
        processes and inks with aggressive              As eco and recycled products grew in           own decisions. In today’s world, success
        colours and lines’.                           popularity within the fashion industry,          lies not only in following fashion but
          That earth-conscious emphasis is also       Mr Loomba began work on developing               being able to control costs to try and
        apparent at Eagle Fabrics where the           new products and fibres using organic            prevent economic conditions getting in
        Loombas say the best way to have an           treatments that included recycled poly,          the way of being innovative.”
        impact on the environment is to have as       bamboo, soy, Modal and Tencel blends to            Mr Loomba foresees that within the
        little impact as possible. Ms Loomba          meet the growing response from retailers         next three to five years Eagle Fabrics will
        cites use of particular fibres as examples    and buyers across the globe. Mr Loomba           develop into a vertical operation,
        of the company’s efforts in this area:        produced products for Los Angeles-based          bringing cut and sew back to the US,
        Modal, Tencel, soy, organic cotton,           apparel companies including Three Dots,          continuing to create high quality fabrics
        viscose, bamboo and recycled polyester.       Rachel Pally, Foreign Exchange and Hot           while focusing on its core value of ‘Made
        The company also does organic dyeing.         Cotton, brands now known for quality,            in America’ production.

        This dress by apparel company Barbara Lesser uses fabric by Eagle      St Grace apparel using Eagle fabric

        April 2011                                                                                                                             39

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