Lately, there has been a big push for “Made in the U.S.A.” products. Considering that JLD-Studios works with many different clients within and outside the US, and the fact that it is almost the fourth of July, we thought this would be a good time to discuss this issue and take a look at a few brands that are getting it right.
In 1960, about 95% of US clothing was produced in NYC. Today, about 97% of apparel sold in the U.S. is made outside of our country, we have made a complete turn around in the last 50 years. China, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India and The Philippines are where many U.S. garment industry brands produce their clothing. China alone is responsible for about 35% of garment production for the U.S. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that producing clothes in these developing countries is quite a bit cheaper than manufacturing in the U.S., which is why most companies outsource their manufacturing.
Concerns about unfair working conditions and child labor laws are some of the reasons for the push in U.S.-made clothing. Another reason for this push is to stimulate our own economy, and to employ more Americans, and this ideal has come to the forefront, thanks to our recession. It is also easier for U.S. companies to communicate with manufacturers within the country. This alone can lead to higher quality and consistency, compared to their overseas counterparts.
But, as any designer knows, higher quality also means higher cost. Designing and manufacturing a collection means crunching numbers to find the most cost-effective ways to produce your designs. Which is why many designers may intend to design their collection in the U.S., but are forced to manufacture their goods overseas. American manufacturers are attempting to stay competitive through different strategies, which could mean streamlining production, yet still maintaining the quality of the garment.
Here are a few brands that we admire, that work hard to uphold their “Made in the U.S.A.” standards:
Chubbies is an eccentric shorts brand that is 100 percent committed to manufacturing in the U.S., just look at their website:
They started their company with just one pair of shorts, and now they have hundreds, yet their commitment to creating and manufacturing their shorts in the U.S. hasn’t changed. Chubbies proves you don’t need to be a high-end label, or a full-service fashion studio to commit to producing garments in the U.S.
Nanette Lepore is a successful designer, known for her feminine looks, who likes to do her manufacturing in NYC. She says that when they go to make a garment, she will compare manufacturing costs in NYC, to that in China, and she explains that when one factors in the cost of importing and other logistics, and the numbers are pretty similar.
American Apparel may be a brand that is caught in a few scandals right now, however no matter what issue they are embroiled in, they always stay true to their name. They manufacture all their goods in Los Angeles, and they back up this fact on their website with their Vertically Integrated Manufacturing model:
A10 fitness is a tennis apparel company for women, which prides itself on creating flattering exercise attire for women and producing all of their designs locally. It’s no surprise that large, athletic brands such as Adidas or Nike clothing are produced overseas, so it is nice to see a smaller company going against the norm.
This article hopefully provided you with some insights into why this is such a passionate issue in the apparel design world. If you’re a designer looking for a U.S. manufacturer, contact us at JLD-Studio’s today!
P.S. We’d like to wish everyone a safe & enjoyable fourth of July!