Veteran-owned apparel brand calls on American brands to demand accountability from supplier Next Level Apparel
Savannah, GA - The veteran-owned apparel brand Nine Line Apparel is issuing a call to action to American apparel brands across the country to demand accountability from behemoth wholesale supplier Next Level Apparel due to its import of cotton consistent with the Xinjiang region of China, which is known for the forced slave labor of the Uyghurs. Despite numerous opportunities to rectify this issue and explain themselves, Next Level has instead employed a coordinated campaign of dodging questions, releasing misleading statements, and making legal threats.
“Americans would be horrified to discover that apparel they buy that sport religious or patriotic statements might have been manufactured by forced slave labor. They may be unwittingly buying shirts which were made by imprisoned men and women being persecuted for their faith – all of which is being papered over with cheap prices. Companies like Next Level are hoping American consumers never wake up to this ruse,” said Army CPT (ret.) Tyler Merritt, Nine Line Apparel CEO. “Actions speak louder than words and the next steps taken by the companies in our industry will set the tone for others to follow. Until all brands that use Next Level Apparel demand accountability, the demand for forced labor will only increase. We are calling on all brands that utilize Next Level as a supplier, to test, quarantine, and return all products that originated from the Xinjiang region just as Nine Line has.”
Earlier this year Nine Line Apparel exposed Next Level for selling materials that testing proved were consistent with the Xinjiang region of China. On multiple occasions Next Level’s products have tested consistent with coming from the region of China where imports are specifically banned under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. From the start, Nine Line has asked Next Level to specify what it is doing to examine its current inventory and to ensure that no more Xinjiang cotton enters the market by identifying the supplier they used. They have failed to provide the requested information and assurances.
Oritain Forensic Testing Results:
In earlier statements, former Next Level CEO Randy Hale admitted that Next Level’s own testing on inventory which Nine Line had returned tested positive for cotton consistent with coming from Xinjiang, but he then contended that the test result just reflected a problem with an isolated batch of “fabric.” Nine Line’s repeated testing of finished products being sold to customers proves otherwise.
“Next Level’s refusal to identify the supplier of the offending products is unacceptable and is not consistent with the industry’s obligation. Many others in our space may be unknowingly utilizing this supplier that only emboldens and enriches individuals who have conscripted an entire group of people based on their religious beliefs. This is something worth fighting for and we will Answer the Call on behalf of the Uygher people,” added Merritt.