Is Made in America Here to Stay?
Trend or lifestyle? The perception about made in America vs outsourcing products vary in the United States. So, what exactly are Americans' perceptions about “Made in America” and what needs to be taken into consideration?
Products? Quality? Jobs? Price?
Where products are made always have pros and cons. Many Americans are wondering: why is it that America always seems to be losing in this race?
Before we dive into it all, let's take a look at history.
The History of American Manufacturing
“In the 1960s, more than 95% of apparel bought in the US was made in the US” . Fast forward 60 years to where “97% of clothes sold in the US were imported” . By 2000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that we lost 5 million manufacturing jobs.
Where it took a turn could get a little political. Maybe we’ll save that for a rainy day. We can definitely lay out the facts about the shift to overseas production. Then we will look if there is still an opportunity for a shift back.
Firstly, we begin by explaining the standards for the term “Made in America” or “Made in USA”. “The product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.” , Sound vague? That is because it is. Many times brands will use vague terms and phrases to give an impression of being made in America. This is commonly known as green washing, Green washing is when brands make claims to appear sustainable and/or ethical. If you dig deeper you will find "hidden" practices that are not sustainable or ethical. If you want to know more about green washing click here.
Then what does "virtually all" mean? For those who love numbers or want your brand to be a true American brand, what’s the percentage of "virtually all"? Are we talking about 50%, 75%, or 95%? It is unclear from just looking at the label. All that we can tell is virtually all is not 100%. If the garment is not 100% then some part of the garment was outsourced.
Please don’t join the millions of Americans that trust the term Made in USA. Questioning the label and digging deeper is the first step to holding brands accountable for green washing.
Coming to Today and the Future of American Manufacturing
For a country which was once built on manufacturing, Americans have many different perceptions about the future of manufacturing. Specifically, for the garment industry it is with belief that American factories don’t possess the modern equipment needed. Automation would be key for the future of American manufacturing. However, there is an opportunity through customization and with “producing mid-priced and high-end clothes” . Customization is the process in which an item is built through specifications. Customization would be a strong contender for established brands.
Social Impacts of American Manufacturing
Have Americans become consumed with their social status that it is frowned upon to have a “blue-collar” job? There’s no strong evidence that it would be the root cause of the manufacturing shift but cost and skills are significant contributing factors.
Industry insiders have a better grasp as to why fashion merchandise is predominantly produced overseas, you could almost say it boomed with the rise of fast fashion. Overseas labor laws and regulations allow for lower wages. Also different countries and regions provide availability to skill sets needed to produce, The result is the capacity to buy and sell products at a lower price. Although the enticing perks comes sacrifice, like tariffs, trust, accountability, and quality. When you ask Americans about the quality of products made in America vs overseas “44.96% of Americans say made-in-America products are of superior quality” .
Then why not want to produce more products of superior quality on home soil? Providing jobs to millions of Americans, supporting American economy, and creating a true American brand with quality products.
We could go on and on about why here vs there but we laid out below a list of pros and cons to give you a better picture.
As a sustainable fashion company, we noticed through all of our discoveries one thing was not mentioned, sustainability. Among the pros listed above for Made in America, shifting manufacturing back to the US can help reduce the carbon footprint from logistics and the emissions produced by garment factories.
We made a list of Brands made in the US to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Brands Made in USA
We are in love with brands that help contribute to America and sustainability. Shop from our recommended brands that are Made in the USA.
Based in: Los Angeles, CA
Made in: USA
Niche: Feminine, sustainable apparel and accessories
Based in: Los Angeles, CA
Made in: Los Angeles, CA
Niche: Causal Lounge / Work-out
Shop Lacausa: insert link
“14 American-Made Clothing Brands You Can Wear With Pride.” The Good Trade. The Good Trade, July 3, 2019. https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/american-made-clothing-brands.
“9 Affordable & Ethical Minimalist Clothing Brands.” The Laurie Loo. The Laurie Loo, December 6, 2018. https://thelaurieloo.com/blog/affordable-minimalist-clothing
Abnett, Kate. “Does Reshoring Fashion Manufacturing Make Sense?” The Business of Fashion. The Business of Fashion, March 9, 2016. https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/can-fashion-manufacturing-come-home.
“Complying with the MADE IN USA STANDARD.” Federal Trade Commission. Accessed May 25, 2020. https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/plain-language/bus03-complying-made-usa-standard.pdf.
“Manufacturing in the USA.” Manufacturing in the USA vs. Manufacturing Overseas. Accessed May 31, 2020. https://www.p1tec.com/Manufacturing-USA-vs-Overseas.php.
Nini, Jennifer. “9 Sustainable and Ethical 'Made in USA' Brands For the Stylish Shopper.” Eco Warrior Princess, September 25, 2018. https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2018/09/sustainable-ethical-made-in-usa-brands-for-stylish-shopper/.
“Products Made in America - Consumer Reports Magazine.” Products Made in America - Consumer Reports Magazine, February 2013. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/02/made-in-america/index.htm.
Sherman, Lauren. “Unravelling the Myth of 'Made in America'.” The Business of Fashion. The Business of Fashion, November 7, 2016. https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/the-myth-of-made-in-america-ttp-agreement.
“Survey Shows That Americans Prefer 'Made-in-America' Products.” Monroe, October 24, 2018. https://monroeengineering.com/blog/survey-shows-that-americans-prefer-made-in-america-products/.