Business: A Golden Twist for Textiles

IN the troubled textile industry, double knit clothes—apparel made of specially knitted material instead of woven cloth—stand out like a bright golden thread in a frayed gray shawl. The upheaval caused by double knits has brought fresh earnings and excitement to the industry, created new textile firms and technology, provided a rich source of sales for profit-parched merchants, and satisfied restless consumer demand for increasingly varied fashions.

Largely in the past four years, double knits have sewed up about 35% of the annual $14 billion in women's and children's wear sales. Now double...

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