Do You Care if Your Clothes Are Made in America?

ptm24's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | banana points 443

WSO favorite Allen Edmonds's recent marketing campaign is championing the fact that their shoes and other apparel are made in America. Although they are quality shoes, there is definitely a premium people have to pay to get them since they aren't manufactured more cheaply, which prices many people out of their market. I'm curious, do people here consider manufacturing origin when buying clothes?

Note: I'm not trying to start a political discussion over outsourcing, more of a business discussion about the strategic implications of producing domestically.

Comments (16)

Sep 25, 2018

From a purely business perspective yes I care and in a negative way. Not shitting on American clothes or American but this is my reasoning (personal). If I want cheap clothes they won't come out of America because it's just more expensive to produce (such as gym clothes or shitty t-shirts to wear at parties etc). If I want mid-range and mid quality clothes (think brands like Lacoste) they also most likely won't be made in America (or other markets of that standard) because the so-called 'shitty' markets like Thailand, Bangladesh and China are getting better at produce semi-high quality clothing and therefore can produce it cheaper than the US but still give me the quality I want. Aspesi is considered semi-luxury and they make a bunch of their stuff in Turkey. If I want luxury products I would honestly go for markets that have more history/tradition/experience than the US in this sector such as Italy or France and this is just because I believe that a $5000 suit made a custom tailor in Rome, Milan or Naples will be of better overall quality than a $5000 suit made in NYC even if both source their fabric locally. Just an opinion.

Then again, I'm not American so Americans may want to pay a premium for Made in America to keep local businesses running but I don't think that's exclusive to Americans as people from many countries would do this too.

Most Helpful
Sep 25, 2018

I pay 400 bucks for drivers with a buckle. I'd Happily pay another 50 bucks so Americans can work and live.

I want shit made here and so people can make a good wage and fuel the economy. I'd also prefer to not help build up a communist country who builds islands and weaponizes them.

Sep 25, 2018

Not many brands do it but those that do aren't going to give you a bad product. Allen Edmonds and mizzen main are two that come to mind and both deliver best top of the line gear for shoes and shirts.

Sep 26, 2018

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For those without a WSJ subscription.

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Sep 26, 2018

The global apparel supply chain is complicated: the shirt on your back was probably designed in New York, made of cotton grown in one of the states of the old Confederacy, spun into thread in Indonesia, cut & sewn in Malasia, and sold to you by a retailer headquartered in New York.

Everland does a good job of summarizing the costs of a shirt. Based on their math, the vast majority of the value-added accrues to US companies. Is that "American" enough, or does the whole designation turn on the location of the cut & sew labor?

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Sep 27, 2018

No

Sep 27, 2018

I don't care at all. Most of my nice clothes are European made. All my companies except for one manufacture in the US but we did that because it was practical and the benefits outweighed the savings for those particular products.

Funniest
Sep 28, 2018

Manufacturing/industrial operations has generally been pushed out of urban cores to the outskirts of metros where land is cheaper but can still get easy access to interstates. These operations generally provide a good chunk of property tax in areas with a limited tax base.

So from that perspective I do care, as if the plant were to close a lot of times these more rural communities are left with a huge hole in their budgets and are forced to either raise taxes or reduce cost. More often then not, a closure causes these towns to go downhill quick.

If automation is our future, then maintaining domestic manufacturing is important be it a 500k/sf warehouse with drones flying around in it in order to preserve tax revenue to keep the towns lights on.

So in summary, yes I will pay a bit more so my future kin can sit at home on universal basic income doing the floss dance, eating tide pods, and having a Joaquin Phoenix in "Her" type relationship with Amazon's Alexa all because I bought some boots from Allen Edmonds.

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Sep 28, 2018

I would literally shut down foreign trade.

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Sep 28, 2018

I wear ONLY Allen Edmonds shoes for this reason. A few bucks more so someone can live decently here? Sure thing.

It's not possible to do this with everything, as in, I have no idea where my socks are made and I don't care.

Why limit this question to clothes though?

Sep 28, 2018

I have no idea why I would care if they are made in America or not. Quality, style, fit, and price are all factors that matter. Origin isn't.

Glassdoor says the average sales associate makes $9/hr and the average production worker makes $14/hr. That's not "a decent living" anyhow.

Sep 28, 2018

Made in America doesn't actually mean that. So no, I don't care.

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Sep 28, 2018

Totally unrelated question. Are any of your ancestors jewish?

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Sep 28, 2018
TheStory:

Totally unrelated question. Are any of your ancestors jewish?

Yes.

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Oct 1, 2018

I like it. Not a huge deal for me. But I love my AE shoes, extremely high quality.

For the BJJ folks, check out Origin all american made gear