Why We Chose American Made Denim (And Why You Should, Too!)

September 27, 2016

White Oak Mill, Cone Denim, The Navy Men of WWII and The R. Riveter Signature Denim Collection.

Tucked away in the rural community of Greensboro, NC stands a 200-year old Oak Tree. In the late 1800's, The Oak Tree became a place for travelers and the community to gather. Today, the tree provides shade to the White Oak Mill -- built in 1902. Unlike most American mills that stood tall, providing much-needed employment during the difficult times of the 20th century, White Oak is still very much operational. Home to Cone Denim, a  leading supplier of denim fabrics since 1891, White Oak Mill continues to provide growth and sustainable careers to the men and women of Greensboro.
Image Courtesy of wgsn.com

From the first bobbin of yarn, produced on April 20, 1905, to the R. Riveter Signature Denim handbags, released in September 2016, every piece of denim that leaves White Oak Mill embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of brothers, Moses and Ceasar Cone. Their authentic and innovative desire to inspire the global market has been revolutionary to the manufacturing arena. Cone Denim has taught the world that it is possible to embrace your heritage while still developing new technologies. The men and women at White Oak Mill have proven this time and time again, as they bring vintage denim styles to the forefront of modern fashion each year. Their desire, ambition and devotion to the Cone Denim brand drives them to achieve an intense proficiency and familiarity with the science and art of denim production.


Our handbag designs have always been influenced by the military, and the search to find the perfect material to represent the Navy Dungaree Uniform of WWII was not something our Riveters took lightly; only the most authentic material would do. That’s when we discovered Cone Denim.


Also known as the Navy Blue Denims, the Navy Dungaree was the fatigue uniform worn by most Navy personnel during WWII. Denim became the go-to material for the US Military in the early 20th century due to its viable and lasting nature. Throughout recent years, this particular vintage uniform has been affectionately sought after by WWII veterans throughout the country. And when they are rarely located - in an estate sale or a surplus store - they are cherished beyond measure for still being completely intact and authentically faultless.


This was the inspiration behind the R. Riveter Signature Denim Collection.  These handbags carry with them not one, not two, but three remarkable stories of commitment, selflessness and fearlessness. R. Riveter.  White Oak Mill and Cone Denim. The Navy men of WWII. The heart and heritage of so many, being brought together into one handbag that is bound to last through the ages, has been nothing less than empowering for our Military Spouse Riveters.
R. Riveter Signature Denim Otto

"When we began working with Cone Denim, I was intrigued and did some research. What I discovered was that they are the only denim manufacturer in America that still uses shuttle looms -- especially with the selvedge edge! Once I knew this, I felt honored to work with this material. I began treating the denim with the kind of care it truly deserved. Having the opportunity to work with Cone Denim has been a highlight for myself, as well as many of my fellow Riveters." Angie, RR089


As we continue to embrace the story of White Oak Mill and Cone Denim, we are thankful to them for remaining true to their heritage and becoming one of the last remaining manufacturers of selvedge denim in the United States. 


We invite you to visit them online at www.conedenim.com to learn more!

Still Made In America from Cone Denim on Vimeo.



Story by: Kellie Gunderman

Infographic by: Leslie Brians