Caitlyn Holt, 25, Textile Designer
Before the fashion designer, the seamstress, the patternmaker and the denim weaver can do their part to make your favorite pair of jeans, someone like Caitlyn Holt has to get to work.
Caitlyn, 25, builds fabric from the yarn up for Cone Denim, which operates as part of International Textile Group, headquartered in Greensboro.
Caitlyn got her passion for textiles when she was a teenager and when her cousin, a merchandise manager at VF Corporation, took her to a fashion shoot in New York.
“I thought I was going to be a buyer in New York and wear 4-inch heels to work every day and walk around and be glamorous,” Caitlyn says. “I never expected to be back in Greensboro. Never in a million years.”
But here she is, working in fashion in her home town – and loving every minute of it.
She studied for a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree at N.C. State’s College of Textiles, partially funded with a Burlington Industries Foundation scholarship. The scholarship connected her with Delores Sides, head of the Foundation and director of communications and human resources at ITG. She hooked Caitlyn up with a tour of ITG’s Hong Kong operations while Caitlyn was there for a study abroad.
“In Hong Kong, you got to see more of the manufacturing side of things,” she says. “I got really lucky with my first internship at Cone, and I just fell in love with it. I love the history of Cone, the people here. It’s just so fun.”
During college, Caitlyn held three internships at ITG, working in merchandising, product development and planning and operations. She started full time after graduation, first analyzing consumer and market trends and now she works in product development for Cone Denim’s Mexico and China operations.
Caitlyn is the one who takes the brands’ needs and translates that into a roll of fabric. She’s also part of Cone Denim’s Cone 3D group, a product research incubator that incorporates science and emerging technologies into traditional denim design.
Do you need a cotton with stretch? Something moisture-wicking? Stain-resistant? A denim made with a fiber that is 15 times stronger than steel? A yarn that can keep you cool when you are hot and keep you warm when you are cold? Caitlyn can design that for you.
Working for Cone is a family tradition for the Holts. Her grandfather spent his career running the catering and vending for the White Oak Plant, which still operates in Greensboro today. Her dad worked at the plant’s carpentry shop when he was a young man – a gig that earned him a position on White Oak’s fire brigade.
“I love being in the mill. It’s a different atmosphere. The people there are so great,” Caitlyn says.
“I’m just a textile manufacturing dork, but there’s a lot more to it than you think.”