January 23, 2014

American Beauty

We have been following the Made in the USA movement since early 2012 and this year, it's beginning to really reach its peak. Due to the recent tragedies in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Haiti, larger more established companies are linking up with new and innovative ones who are specifically geared towards a Made in America mentality.

video via Manufacture NY

One of our favorite organizations, Manufacture NY has collaborated with Texworld USA to connect independent designers with exhibitors who offer smaller minimums, eco-friendly textiles, and domestic sourcing. Manufacture NY's mission is to "reawaken and rebuild" the fashion industry by fostering the next wave of creative talent all while remaining transparent and sustainable. Their headquarters are based right in the Garment District and furnished with sampling rooms, classrooms, conference rooms, fitting rooms, computer stations, and already in use by over dozens of local designers and members. According to the founder Bob Bland, "The fashion loving public is embracing Made in the USA and it has become a major selling point." They have already started promoting for Fashion Week as they partner with retailer Adorama who specializes in photo shoot equipment rentals, to produce a state-of-the-art runway experience.

video via Ecouterre

Most recently we attended the event, Made in the USA Founder Forum 2014, organized by Manufacture NY that hosted a panel of experts including the co-founders of Maker's Row. This online marketplace introduces American manufacturers to businesses and has literally broken down transparency into a 6 step process, from sketch to production. And now, they are taking it to the schools to help emerging designers understand the know-how of manufacturing so they will have the choice to either work for Fortune 500 companies or build their own brands. Not to mention, they have teamed up with Cotton Inc to gain more insight about cotton growth as well as to connect textile firms with US cotton growers.

As this enthusiasm for Made in America continues to gain popularity across the US and consumers make it clear that there is a demand, retailers like Brooks Brothers and Walmart are finally seeing the value in promoting locally made products. With that said, the advantages are pretty obvious – lower shipping costs and weather adaptable production – which is why, preserving the Garment District has become such a powerful cause. Ralph Lauren is just one of the major fashion houses supporting NY garment manufacturers by contributing to the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a partnership between the CFDA and Andrew Rosen to help grow and sustain existing factories within the five boroughs.

photo via Made In NYC

Since NYC is home to almost 7,000 small factories, producing everything from pianos to fashion to food, printing, and furnishings, there's also Made In NYC, a project of the Pratt Center for Community Development. This organization not only caters to manufacturers but also consumers who can shop local products, learn about emerging designers, promote sustainability, and even create jobs. In the end, for any city to be fully sustainable, local manufacturing is a crucial component and with so many bustling industries, NYC has an undeniable potential to live up to.

photo via fashionista.com

Nanette Lepore, who is a major advocate for saving the Garment District is just one of the many designers committed to the diversity and craftsmanship sitting right here in midtown. Most recently, she's caught the eye of new Mayor, Bill de Blasio by dressing his wife, Chirlane McCray and daughter at his NYC inauguration. In a statement made by McCray, "Chiara and I are proud to be wearing this beautiful clothing today, that was made right here in New York City. This city needs more creative entrepreneurs like Nanette Lepore who are committed to keeping our city's garment industry thriving."

video via Flint and Tinder

Flint and Tinder, who just launched a new shirt and slack line called "Perfect Flannel," is another US made brand you need to know about. If that's not enough to win you over, all their products have a 100% quality guarantee, including their 10-year hoodie and locally made men's underwear line.

Even the shoe pioneer New Balance is on a crusade to produce the first fully American made sneaker. While about a quarter of their shoes are already labeled "Made in the USA," they still contain components made overseas so let the challenge begin!

Whether you've already jumped on the Made in the US bandwagon or not, there are a ton of brands made right here that you may not even realize, and this is just the start. 

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