Made In The U.S.A.

Another American-Made Mens Suit

In Adventures on October 6, 2009 at 12:45 am

I learned today, somewhat embarrassingly, that there is another American-made mens suit. I was informed as much by the salesman at Macy’s who looked at me cross-eyed when I told him that Joseph Abboud was the only major American suit manufacturer. Turns out, according to the “Union-made in the USA” tag inside the random Hart Schaffner Marx suit he pulled off the rack, there’s another.

In fact, there seem to be several others. A few online discussions I’ve popped in on have revealed that some Brooks Brothers suits may be made in the USA (although the web site doesn’t come right out and say it, and this is usually a bad sign), as are some Burberry suits–which may be manufactured under license by apparently American clothier Hickey Freeman. (A little digging reveals that HF has actually partnered up with Hart Schaffner Marx, so perhaps they share some of the same manufacturing facilities?) Not enough? How about Hardwick, maker of fine American suits since 1880. There are probably more, but those folks aren’t very good at making it easy for me to find them, so it serves them right not to get a free promo here.

If you don’t want a suit, how about designer Todd Shelton who brought his production back from China in order to do things a little closer to home.

The first Todd Shelton products were made in China. I was only just beginning and I had a contact in Hong Kong who was willing to work with me. For three years they produced the clothes that had my name on them. The quality and price were fine, but over time I felt increasingly frustrated that this important step in the process was so out of touch with the business here at home. I wanted to build relationships and to feel that the whole process was authentically American. In 2005, I decided to begin making all our products here in the USA.

Shelton goes on to introduce us to the makers of his clothing–Frank in New Jersey, who does T-shirts; Julie in New York, pants maker; Christine in Ohio makes shirts. I find it interesting that rather than find a single facility to make this stuff, Shelton utilizes various talented small-businesses around the country to handle their own little piece of his manufacturing pie. What a way to not only keep your product American-made, but to help small businesses and specialized craftsmen too.

One final great touch on the Todd Shelton site is the forum that he has opened up for discussion about whether or not a “Made In The USA” label is important. Some comments:

I do support the concept of re-establishing a manufacturing base in the USA. When it comes to production, I’m most concerned with labor standards. Nothing depresses me more than the thought of workers toiling in foreign sweatshops so that Walmart can provide me with an article of clothing for under $20. I prefer my shirts without blood on them. As for American jobs, I think we’ve come to rely too heavily on the service industry for our livelihoods. We need to make things here again, but manufacturing and production jobs must provide the workers with high enough wages to live in the American middle class. Our workers should not be asked to compete with wages paid in other countries that do not respect labor. That would be a race to the bottom.

Another concern of mine is the carbon footprint of consumer goods produced halfway around the globe. When it comes to clothing, I’d feel better if the products I buy did not have to sail halfway around the world to get inside my closet in Wisconsin. I understand that trade between nations is important, particularly when Nation A simply doesn’t have access to the resources required to provide what Nation B is offering. I like fruit in the winter and nothing grows under two feet of snow, so it makes sense that my grocer imports bananas from Central America. In the summer, I’m content to eat locally grown produce.

Buying items that are made in America has recently become important to me. My husband and I buy very little new, and the dollars we do spend will no longer go to products that do not support employment in the United States. It’s a personal preference. If this had been a priority for people over the last 25 years, there would be no economic crises in the USA. We would actually MAKE things, which is so rare now, I have only come across about 10 clothing manufacturers that make and use homegrown fabrics from the US. Only two that are fashionable, including Todd Shelton.

With unemployment approaching ten percent and 5 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2001, we must encourage the largest consumer country in the world to help ourselves, our children and our grandchildren and buy American produced goods. Please check SaveAnAmericanJob.com and encourage US manufacturers to join forces with other companies still producing here to create a brand that consumers will seek. We cannot rely on the government, we must take matters into our own hands before all of manufacturing has vanished. This is what you can do for your country and our future.

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  1. Wow! One of your best ever. You don’t need to publish this. I’m about ready to buy whatever Todd Shelton sells.
    Mom

    • Hi Mom. Once your commenter status has been approved, your comments automatically show up. Please don’t post any embarrassing baby photos.

  2. Thanks for the support on SaveAnAmericanJob!
    Now let’s get the few remaining US manufacturers to join the cause and use the SaveAnAmericanJob tags. I continue to hear from Americans who try but struggle to find US-made products particularly clothes.
    The few remaining domestic textile, clothing and accessory makers need immediate help to survive. It is now or never for most of us.

  3. $159 for a pair of Todd Shelton slacks?! Nope.

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