Here's the report from WIS TV in Hickory, NC...
North Carolina company making biodegradable clothing
February 5, 2007
Bryce Mursch - WISTV, NBC
(Hickory, NC-NBC) Feb. 5, 2007 - Clothing made from corn could be saving hundreds of North Carolina textile jobs from heading overseas. Four North Carolina factories now produce socks and scarves from a corn-based fabric.
The machines humming at Catawba Valley Community College may be spinning the next hot seller in socks. That's where textile plants send newly developed fabric for testing as US companies try to figure out how to fend off foreign competition.
"It's hard to predict what the consumer is going to buy or what's going to be the hot thing next," said Dan Saint Louis. He runs the hosiery technology center in Hickory, a lab that recently perfected the latest invention in clothing fabric made from corn.
Jerry Collins with Twin City Knitting said, "It's a new yarn that we're introducing, but we're very pleased in the interest that people are showing it."
Four North Carolina companies now produce clothing made from ingeo, the patented cloth that looks and feels like cotton, but is actually a man made fiber derived from plant sugars. The fabric is biodegradable and has become a big seller in Japan.
"They are very very environmentally conscious. They don't have places for anything extra in their landfill," said Dan Saint Louis.
Scientists have also developed clothing made from bamboo and crab shells, a niche in manufacturing that companies say will save jobs and is creating room for expansion in a very competitive industry.
"It would be hard to compete with us," said Dan. "That's the name of the game for us."
You'll pay between eight and nine dollars for a pair of socks made from corn.
Several department stores including Nordstrom and REI now sell this and deals are in the works with other major department stores.