Blue jeans are a staple of many people's wardrobe, but did you know the blue jeans you wear could be made from denim in Littlefield, Texas.
Littlefield is home to one of the largest cotton marketing organizations in the world --the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association Denim Mill.
"This mill covers over 10 acres under roof. And we manufacture cotton denim. Today our capacity is somewhere around 40 million linear yards per year, when we are running 24/7. And that's about 10% of the total U.S. Denim capacity," said Company Spokesman John Johnson.
In other words, the denim made right here in Littlfield is used to make more than 30 million pairs of jeans. But it all starts with the cotton, most of which home grown in West Texas.
"From the time a bail of cotton enters the plant and it's opened and blended, and spun into yarn, then woven into fabric, then to go through the finishing process, it takes about a week," John Johnson said.
From there the denim material will be shipped out and used to make brand-name clothing for Levi Straus, Gap, Eddie Bauer and others. "The demand currently for denim is very good and we're doing all we can to meet that demand," John Johnson said.
But the demand is being challenged with what, Company Spokesman John Johnson calls unfair competition from Asia. "Apparel and textile products that are coming in and being illegally subsidized by those countries. So, the denim industry is focusing on product development. Developing new value added styles of denim that will continue to meet the needs of our customers and we think give us an advantage against the foreign import."
An advantage that the city of Littlefield and the denim mill is counting on. "This plant has been a very important part of the Littlefield community ever since 1975. Currently we have almost 600 employees working at the plant and as I said we're running 24/7 and we're glad to be a part of Littlefield," John Johnson said.
The denim mill puts $7 million in salary alone to the Littlefield economy.