In the fashion world, made in America has become a hot-button issue. Worldwide, clothing is a $3 trillion dollar industry, and garment manufacturing employs over 50 million people.
In New York, clothing manufacturing is in the midst of a resurgence. The Garment District, located in Midtown, was once a huge fashion hub. The downturn started over 40 years ago, when production started moving to cheaper overseas locations like China and India. More recently however, garment manufacturing has been popping up in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, which is being promoted for its lower rent facilities.
Though many apparel companies continue to make clothing and accessories overseas, a handful of them appreciate the advantages of domestic production. The ability to closely monitor quality as well as easily respond to manufacturing changes are just two advantages that made in America offers.
Which designer fashion companies are committed to keeping manufacturing in the US? Here’s a list of our top five favorite made in America luxury brands.
Yes, Louis Vuitton is headquartered in France, but the company manufactures a lot of its staple styles in its Southern California factory. Speedy and Neverfull bags in Monogram and Damier canvas are so popular that it makes sense for Vuitton to manufacture in the US. It eliminates the headaches of importing and ensures an uninterrupted supply for domestic customers.
Tiffany & Co. is known for unparalleled jewelry craftsmanship and is largely made in its factory in Mount Vernon, New York. The close proximity to the company’s Manhattan headquarters allows for more efficient quality control. The location also gives the company access to highly-trained craftspeople.
Based in New York City, Parsons graduate Prabal Gurung is committed to keeping jobs in the NYC Garment District. The designer claims that he wouldn’t manufacture anywhere else, and that the proximity to his factories helps him to monitor production quality more closely, and allows him to be more responsive to changes. He manufactures approximately 80% of his merchandise domestically.
Like Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu manufactures the vast majority of his collections near his home base in New York City. Like Gurung, he is committed to the helping the Garment District grow back from the brink of extinction.
Minimalist mavens Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are committed to keeping their manufacturing in the US. Their collections are produced in New York, for ostensibly the same reasons as Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu: quality control and responsiveness.
Made in America Fashion Will Continue to Grow
Here’s a prediction: made in America fashion will continue to grow. As fashion cycles continue to speed up, companies will need to respond with accelerated deliveries to retailers. Fast fashion retailer Zara is proving that the best way to keep up is to position manufacturing close to design headquarters. Frequent shipments and quick responsiveness to consumer trends are keeping this Spain-based retailer at the front of the fashion pack. Here’s to hoping that more US companies follow suit in the future.