president obama pushes for american textiles

The President has announced new programs for small textile manufacturers, as well as competitions for textile innovation.

by Emily Manning and i-D Staff
19 March 2015, 10:47pm

Image via Flickr Creative Commons

From Eckhaus Latta's experimental approaches to Patrik Ervell's super techy sourcing, American designers are some of the most materially-minded out there. This week marks an exciting chapter for US brands looking to produce innovative garments on home turf: President Obama has invested a total of $500 million to bolster new initiatives that he hopes will reignite the country's stagnant manufacturing industry and create jobs for Americans.

The majority of the federal funds, $320 million, will help strengthen small manufacturing firms in 12 states. Non-profits in each location will battle it out for long-term investment opportunities by bolstering these ailing small businesses with top-of-the-line technology and much needed engineering expertise. What's more: the White House will also lead a new bipartisan Supply Chain Innovation Initiativefocused on building partnerships to strengthen these small manufacturers and the nation's supply chain overall.

An additional $150 million will be allocated to a competition to establish a "revolutionary fibers and textiles manufacturing innovation institute." Led by the Department of Defense, this competition calls on the best and brightest manufacturers, universities, and non-profits to form new hubs focused on the research and development of crazy cutting edge textiles technologies. The first of these institutes is located in Youngstown, Ohio, and after only three years in business, has pulled an investment from GE that will increase its 3-D printing capacities tenfold (get excited, Iris van Herpen!)

Although the institute won't be directly responsible for the next out of this world Hood by Air piece—the project's focus is advancing materials designed for soldiers, police, and peace-keeping forces—it's a great start. A super strong domestic manufacturing industry can only benefit our hometown talents like Ervell and Eckhaus who won't just be able to produce at home, they'll be on the forefront of, as the Obama Administration has dubbed it, revolution.

Learn more about Obama's new initiatives here.


Text Emily Manning
Image via The White House Flickr account

president obama