MADE IN AMERICA | PART I
PART ONE: Writer Heath Stiltner introduces the pressing need for the Made in America movement, particularly in the clothing industry. Join us each day this week as Heath interviews members of this community as well as American consumers.
When was the last time you checked your clothing tag? How many times have you bought a 'classic American design' then realized it was grown & sewn in a country you can barely pronounce? It's no secret that the outsourcing of jobs has taken over our clothing and fashion market. However, we are all told it is to lower our prices. If that is the case, why do J.Crew basic tees, foreign-manufactured and sold as all-American basics, cost seemingly the same price as California-based fashion designer and producer American Apparel's basic tees?
This week that question has never been more thought out or wide-spread. People are wondering what we are actually paying for when we buy these products. With the upcoming Olympic games in London this summer, New York-based American icon Ralph Lauren released our 2012 American Olympians' uniforms. With their red, white, and blue scarves (must have missed the 'summer' olympics memo) and berets, our athletes are sure to strut proudly behind Old Glory in the parade. Oh, did we mention the uniforms were made in China?
Yes, during this summer Olympic event our most talented athletes will stride proudly through London wearing foreign manufactured clothing designed by America's most iconic designer. Many questions have been forming around the situation, causing quite the debacle. It leads many to question just what it is we are paying for when we buy so-called American designer goods. Are we paying for the outsourcing of our own jobs? Our own designs?
The truth is, there are plenty of brands designing, and manufacturing, quality goods right here in the United States. It is not an underground market, though it seems that they do sometimes slip under the radar of most Americans. Many of these companies are small artisan-run and artisan-established brands that produce seasonal fashion for the American public. This week, we will be investigating those brands, and their owners in an effort to figure out just what it means to be American-made, and why it is so important for them. Stay tuned for the rest of this series with quotes and interviews from great American brands like Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons, Archival Clothing, and Sweet Harvest Farms about their participation in the made in America movement and their pledge to stay American-made every day.