Textiles are one of the oldest industries in the United States. Textile is a broad term that refers to clothing or other textiles. The word comes from the Latin word textilis, meaning woven. They played a major role in shaping our history and culture, especially in our state. North Carolina was the first state to adopt the cotton gin, and textile manufacturing became a major economic force. The state has also produced some of the finest examples of handcrafted quilts and home furnishings.
Since their inception, textiles have evolved. In modern times, textiles are made from natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk, linen, hemp, jute, ramie, flax, and bamboo, as well as synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, rayon, spandex, and modacrylic. From the defense industry to the healthcare industry and everything in between, people and organizations are using advanced textiles to innovate the way they work and play. One of the organizations leading the textile revolution is a part of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) network — the NC State University Wilson College of Textiles.
The Wilson College of Textiles was established in 1899, to support North Carolina’s budding textile industry. As a part of NC State’s land-grant charge, Wilson College of Textiles has a core mission of extension and outreach which is encompassed in all their efforts; however, two units within Wilson College are principally charged with this important work – the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC) and Zeis Textiles Extension (ZTE). These units accomplish this mission through the key areas of Lean Six Sigma, continuous improvement and design thinking programs, product development, material and product testing and quality assurance, and textile training.
The College’s award-winning faculty excel at innovative teaching and conduct life-changing research. They’re leading the pack on smart and high-performance textiles, advanced analytics, consumer behavior and more. The College has supported the formation of interdisciplinary teams to address society’s textile-related grand challenges, from how we protect our armed forces and first responders and advance technologies for sustainable fashion, to how we filter the air we breathe and water we drink. The College faculty have established interdisciplinary centers and institutes: The Nonwovens Institute and the Textile Protection and Comfort Center.