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America’s apparel industry increasing focus on ‘Made in America’

Low priced apparels are available in the US by outsourcing labour to factories that hire workers for pennies. The Forever 21 T-shirt was manufactured in Nicaragua and the American Apparel shirt was made at home in Los Angeles. According to Rosanne Hart, Founder of the Hart Agency, the North American Free Trade Agreement set in motion a lot of the migration of apparel and textile jobs out of the US. Hart also added apparel manufacturing happens in the US today but on a limited level. She cites that the vast majority of consumers in America don’t want to pay the added costs of purchasing clothing made domestically and that the designers who do manufacture here only do so on a limited level.

According to a report published in the LA Times, more than eight among 10 Americans have become increasingly wary of mass-produced items and want goods that are unique and made sustainably in America. Americans associate the Made in America movement with higher quality goods. The report even suggests that Americans are willing to pay more for domestically manufactured goods.

SMU graduate Matt Alexander became a local Dallas fixture of the Made in America movement with the founding of Need (now rebranded as Foremost) in November 2013. Foremost is an American-made clothing line available for both men and women at an affordable cost. A Pima cotton and MicroModal tee from Foremost costs the same as a plain cotton tee from American Apparel.