Maybe you’ve heard stories of overseas garment factories collapsing, about the prevalence of sweat shops and child laborers; maybe you haven’t. I’m not here to guilt-trip anyone. However, one of my own resolutions is to be more mindful, in all areas of my life. That includes shopping.
Here’s something that kind of blows my mind: 98 percent of clothing purchased in the United States is imported. That’s right — only 2 percent of our clothing is domestically made. Now that doesn’t mean it’s all made unethically, but you can bet a lot of it is; because it’s cheaper, and then it can be sold cheaper (or marked up so some folks can make a lot of money).
I don’t shop a lot — I'm on a tight budget. I actually buy most of my clothing as vintage/secondhand. And when I do shop, I don’t have a lot to spend. It’s difficult to make a more ethical decision, even though I think people should (and do) matter more than clothes. If you can buy it at a store at the mall — or at Target — it’s likely that it’s made somewhere else and probably not made with ethics in mind.
So what’s a caring, thinking girl who loves fashion supposed to do?
Here are some brands that I love (and can often find on sale) that make some (if not all) of their clothes here in the USA. You’ll notice that most of them are classic all-American outdoorsy pieces (like L.L. Bean) or casual, beachy cool (C&C California). Not a lot of on-trend clothes made here in America, likely because they can’t be made quickly (or cheaply) enough for the current market.
But one thing that stays very true to our all-American fashion roots is denim: A lot of high-end brands are still produced domestically, including AG Adriano Goldschmied, True Religion, Seven for All Mankind, and NYDJ. And for when you want to splurge, one of my favorite brands, Nanette Lepore, makes some of the prettiest clothes and shoes, a lot of them also produced in the USA.
I found a lot of the pieces below on sale site 6pm.com, but you can search “Made in the USA” on some of your favorite online shopping sites.
Some brands that are made on U.S. soil (at least in part):
- Rachel Pally
- Wildfox Couture
- Three Dots
- Michael Stars
- 1791 Supply & Co.
- Imogene + Willie
- True Religion Jeans
- Seven for All Mankind Jeans
- Emerson Fry
- Black Halo
These are all bigger brands you might find at department stores, but don’t forget independent American designers selling at small local boutiques or online at places like Etsy.
Do you try to shop American/buy local? Any brands you love that I’m missing here?