A collection of Blue Bell Wrangler artifacts showcasing their position as a player in both the work clothing and westernwear markets
Evan Morrison

Jeans are one of the most ubiquitous clothing items—found in both high-end designer boutiques and on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

Although they originated as work garments for miners, farmers and cattle workers, they have since become a more everyday item.

Research Center Kannapolis, NC


When the textile mill closed in Kannapolis, NC in 2003, more than 4,000 workers lost their jobs. The effects on the small community outside of Charlotte were devastating.

Black and White photograph of Workers Marching in Roanoke Rapids


In the 1970s, the small town of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina was dominated by the J.P. Stevens textile mills, which controlled many aspects of its workers' lives. 

An employee performs quality control on clothing made at the Mortex textile mill in Wendell, North Carolina
USDAgov, via Flickr


For decades, the textile industry was an essential part of North Carolina’ economy. But the industry took a huge hit in the early 2000s due to outsourcing and high rates of automation.

HanesBrands is based in Winston-Salem.

Winston-Salem based HanesBrands is buying bra maker Maidenform for approximately $547 million. The deal would add several brands to the company's already existing line of Playtex, Wonderbra and Hanes. The company hopes the acquisition will increase profits as well as production.

Jeff Tiberii: In between the railroad tracks and the Mayo River rests a once vibrant building. The windows of this former Washington Mills factory have long since been bricked up and no one has worked inside for 13 years. On the back side of the building is a gaping hole, and on this cool winter afternoon, workers are dismantling what has become a symbolic eyesore.

Bill Morehead: It was the backbone of the community, while it was running. It kept people working; they made a living, a good living.