American and Indian Textile Partnership Hits Stride at Showtime: Epingles and Velvets Hot

American Silk Mills Launches New Brand and New Collections to Record Attendance

December 16, 2019

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- American Silk Mills, one of the oldest American textile brands founded in 1896, has turned a critical corner after being bought by Sutlej Textiles & Industries Ltd. in India.

ASM officials say the working partnership came to fruition at the 2019 Showtime Market, where they launched a new brand (ASM Loft) and two new collections (Anthology and Off-Loom) to record attendance.

“We’ve had more attendance than the last 14 Showtimes, and more walk-ins, and extraordinary response from customers, to the point that they’re seeking us out,” ASM Creative Director Susan Hedgecock says. “Obviously, it’s a new day for us.”

ASM Creative Director Susan Hedgecock (left),  Highland House President Nathan Copeland, and Highland House Creative Director Lee Belmore gather inside the ASM offices during Showtime in Nov. 2019. 

Several customers agreed, including Highland House President Nathan Copeland: “They’ve done some good work.”

In what could be a first, a major Indian textile company, Sutlej, bought ASM in Nov. 2017. Officials say the aim has been to integrate both companies, so that ASM provides design and marketing in the U.S., while Sutlej provides infrastructure and manufacturing in India.

“We see this as a step to get into the U.S. market,” C. S. Nopany, executive chairman of Sutlej, said in April 2019.

The new brand, ASM Loft, is a first major product by the American and Indian teams, offering textured plains and feature fabrics that incorporate novelty yarns, such as twist, slub, space dye, boucle, and chenille yarns. Intentionally developed around chameleon-like colors, such as blush, linen, sage, and indigo, officials say the collection coordinates with most palettes.

ASM will stock many of the 112 SKUs with shipping within 48 hours of order. ASM CEO David Corbin, who has been at the helm since Feb. 2019, says that the expected price points for body cloths will be between $9-$14 per yard, while jacquards will top out at about $15 per yard.

“ASM Loft is one of the first brands to bring truly affordable luxury to market,” Corbin says. “We believe this will open the door to new accounts that need more accessible price points.”

ASM Creative Director Hedgecock described the new Anthology collection as iconic construction from the 123-year-old archive.

“It’s meant to be luxurious, it’s the sizzle on the runway,” Hedgecock says, adding the collection is refined velvets, epingles, and silks spread across three color palettes. There are 35 SKUs priced in the mid- to upper-range, topping out at 100% silk.

Velvets are a hot item in the collection.

“Velvets continue to grow and a big part of our business and they’re a big part of our customers’ business,” she says. “Seeing them in every facet, so it’s printed velvet, velvet jacquards, and so on.”   

Anthology “is a very niche market for us,” Hedgecock says. “The real workhorse is going to be Loft.”

She added, “We have a stable supply chain coming out of India.”

ASM specializes in designing, weaving, and distributing textiles to customers across residential, contract, transportation, and specialty markets. Its products include Sensuede, an eco-friendly synthetic suede.


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