The saga of White Oak—previously the last remaining selvedge denim mill in North America—continues. As we’ve previously reported, Cone Mills shuttered the White Oak plant at the end of 2017 shortly after the company was acquired by a private equity firm. After the closure, many wondered what would happen to the plant’s 46 Draper X3 looms, some of the last operational models of the historic selvedge denim weaving machine.
Last April, Cone announced that it had sold them to JW Demolition, the same company that had acquired the White Oak facility. At the time, JW owner Will Dellinger announced his intention to get the looms running in their original home. It seems this is no longer the case.
Yesterday, Vidalia Mills announced they had purchased all of the White Oak Draper looms from JW and are having them shipped to their new weaving operation in Vidalia, Louisiana. In a press release, Vidalia CEO Dan Feibus declared their goal of producing denim again commercially, “Our goal at Vidalia is to make high-quality, sustainably-produced yarns and fabrics exclusively using e3 sustainable cotton to meet the needs of brands and retailers in North America and around the world. Vidalia is a resource for brands, retailers, and consumers who appreciate small-batch premium selvedge denim produced in a sustainable, transparent environment.”
This past week, Vidalia showed the first of these looms in action to a select group of brands and retailers. Vidalia has yet to announce when this denim might hit the market but we will update as the story develops.