2017-11-02 / Front Page

Tignall’s Platinum Sportswear gets deal to make Georgia Grown shirts

By JANE ELLYN AARON
news editor


On the assembly line at Platinum, seamstresses sew sleeves onto the T-shirts. On the assembly line at Platinum, seamstresses sew sleeves onto the T-shirts. Georgia Grown’s new line of 100 percent cotton T-shirts was recently unveiled at the 40th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. However this particular unveiling has a special meaning for local business Platinum Sportswear as the company was contracted as a manufacturer of the new line, and is tasked with sewing the fabric together to create the shirts, and it’s all done right in the heart of Tignall on Almar Street.

“Working with the Georgia Department of Agriculture is a really big deal to us – it’s a huge opportunity. I love their enthusiasm,” Platinum Sportswear owner Tobias Felder said. “And this is a good opportunity for us to keep growing. They’ve been great clients, and it’s a really good concept.”

The 100 percent cotton shirts are sourced from south Georgia and ginned at Osceola Cotton Company in Irwin County, and from there Platinum Sportswear receives the finished fabric and sews the shirts at the plant in Tignall.


At the front of the assembly line at Platinum Sportswear, seamstresses begin taking the 100 percent Georgia cotton fabric, and start turning it into T-shirts. At the front of the assembly line at Platinum Sportswear, seamstresses begin taking the 100 percent Georgia cotton fabric, and start turning it into T-shirts. “The people who work the hardest at Platinum are the sewers, those ladies work so hard. They work 10 hours a day, so I have all the respect in the world for them – my hat’s off to them,” Felder said, honoring those who have made his business a success.

“We’re very pleased that we were selected to sew this product from the Georgia Department of Agriculture,” plant manager Vivian Hawes Hulin added.

The entire T-shirt making process is completed within a 600-mile-radius, according to officials with the Department of Agriculture. Georgia Grown has also partnered with local screen printers, including the Georgia Industries for the Blind, to complete the design process for local businesses and organizations.


Before the shirts are sewn together, the fabric is measured, laid out, and pressed by pre-production workers at the Platinum Sportswear plant. Before the shirts are sewn together, the fabric is measured, laid out, and pressed by pre-production workers at the Platinum Sportswear plant. All of the shirts are completely customizable and feature a 100 percent Georgia Grown cotton tag.

“With the largest row crop industry in this state being cotton, it is an honor to present 100 percent cotton shirts grown and sewn in Georgia,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. “We are thrilled to identify a transparent supply chain to produce a high quality, Georgia made product that consumers will be proud to wear.”

For Platinum Sportswear, the business has over a 30-year longevity, and can now add servicing the entire state of Georgia and beyond to its list of accomplishments through its contract with the Department of Agriculture.

Platinum was established in 1980 as a retail clothing store in Atlanta, and through the years has steadily expanded to different branches, and a company-owned factory that focuses on catering to other companies in need of goods with the “Made in USA” seal.

Today Platinum Sportswear manufactures and wholesales sportswear made in the USA with union labor. It also ships its goods across the United States and Canada, along with making its own fabric under the brand name Platinum Sportswear by using three separate vendors in its supply chain, which includes Frontier Spinning Mills, Alandale Knitting, and Macaro Dyeing.

“We go from dirt to shirt in five-six weeks,” Felder said, elaborating that after purchasing United States-grown cotton, Frontier spins the fibers into yarn; Alandale knits the yarn into greige goods, which are raw fabric that has not been dyed or bleached; and Macaro dyes the fabric, choosing from an assortment of 26 colors.

As is the case with the Department of Agriculture, Platinum also provides contract sewing services.

Ownership of Platinum was shifted to Felder when he purchased the business in July of 2013, and while he stumbled into the industry by “happenstance,” he explained that he nonetheless envisions immense growth for the future, as he is steadily working on renewals for old customers, and sending out contracts for others.

“I bought the company to change the company,” Felder said. “We just have such great potential here.”

Since Felder took over Platinum, he reported that 30-40 new customers have been picked up, and he is currently ready to close on a sewing contract with a major T-shirt manufacturer for 10,000 T-shirts per week, which is scalable to 100,000 T-shirts per week “for major USA apparel.” He has accomplished this, with more in the works, on top of winning the sewing contract with the Georgia Department of Agriculture for 40,000 T-shirts.

In a paralleled fashion, Felder has found that the Department of Agriculture has mirrored that of his own gumption.

“They found me through a reference, and they reached out to me,” Felder said, explaining that the department was already searching for a manufacturer for the T-shirt line.

Felder likewise expressed that he hopes the Georgia Grown line will put pressure on other companies in Georgia to source their goods locally within the state, and that it will bring in other manufacturing businesses that currently don’t exist in the state such as products and services for certain types of yarn, knitting, and dying.

Regardless, Felder is both impassioned and hopeful for the future of Platinum Sportswear.

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