Made in the U.S.A.

First and foremost, this is in no way a blog reply of clothing company Prana’s new post on why they choose to manufacture in China. Although I may not agree with some points made I understand Nicole Bassett’s views, as the Director of Sustainability she has a great vision for the future of Prana.

"Onward Boys and Girls!"

With a million great reasons to buy goods made right here stateside,  it’s hard to come up with my own unique reasoning of why you should make this choice. Am I telling to you stop buying EVERY product that isn’t manufactured in the good ol’ USA? Hell no, it would be pretty damn near impossible to stop buying products from other countries, unless you live in a small mountain cabin, and are 100% self-sustainable and live modestly(in that case? Do it). For the rest of us, we can make a few better buying decisions together that could have a big positive impact in our future as a country.

What we can do today? tomorrow?

In today’s shambled economy it can be super hard to justify buying a good pair of “Made in America” Levi’s jeans starting at a whopping $178! There is no need to get your PhD in Economics to understand a basic cycle that’s in place despite the fact that it is moving über-slow and taking forever to pick itself up(wise commentary of an econ student). Let’s take a look:

Background info– Suppose our 1st character “Elvis” works at a bad ass microbrewery named FishDog Skull Brewing, for this purpose we will also say he has an insatiable obsession with Levi’s jeans. The 2nd guy is “Billy-Bob”, one of few skilled craftsmen left in this country manufacturing Levi’s premium grade A quality jeans (A as in America of course). He has an unquenchable thirst for FishDog IPAs. And of course like most economic models we assume they live in a fairy-tale economy, don’t require food, don’t pay rent, etc.

OK so this was after a 1st round of buying jeans without the raise..etc, assuming the conditions of the economy were perfect and our business execs/workers were all optimistic. You basically see how it works as a whole, buy more American goods and indirectly improve your quality of life because more spending increased the need for more production and the possible hiring of more workers to meed demand.

Second reason? You’re buying quality.

No I’m not just talking about the materials used to make the jeans for example. While this is going to sound contradictory to my chart of an expanding economy, I’m a realist. I don’t see the demand for Levi’s jeans “Made in the USA” or FishDog Skull IPA’s growing faster than it can be produced. What does this mean for us? Well since some of these manufacturers don’t have to meet insane quota numbers to meet a larger demand, we get more time spent meticulously crafting this piece and better attention to how it is constructed.

"What do you MEAN it was like this when I bought it?"

There is nothing that pisses me off more than getting home with a new product and having looked over some poor half-assed workmanship by mistake which to no surprise falls apart prematurely or breaks. Luckily for us, there are still some companies that have good faith and care about making the best quality product ever and stand by it. A great blog I love reading, A Continuous Lean has compiled The American List: an extensive list of dedicated craftsmen, tailors, bike makers making premium goods in America that will make you take out a 2nd mortgage on your house to buy your Xmas wish list that just quadrupled. For those of us either A. on a tight budget or B. work manual labor(construction, farming, shipyards etc.) there is always a good ol’ classic; Carhartt.

Hamilton Carhartt is considered a forefather of quality US products because of his primary goal when he started his company to “set a standard of excellence to which all others would aspire”(Taken straight from Carhartt’s History). Pioneers like him should inspire all of us regardless of what industry we are in, to provide the best American quality <insert your job here> no matter what. We have been held to a high standard by others for centuries, now’s not the time to let that slide and become dependent on the rest of the world’s products.

I leave you with a great quote from a great American:

“I believe that when a man wears an article that I manufacture, his self-respect is increased because he knows that it is made by an honest manufacturer, who is honest with his employees” – Hamilton Carhartt

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2 responses to “Made in the U.S.A.

  1. We are all struggling with this complicated issue. One of the steps we have taken here at prAna is to pilot the Fair Trade apparel program in order to help improve the lives of everyone in our supply chain. We appreciate your thoughts and hope that the conversation continues at households across the country and around the world. You can read more about our FT initiatives at http://www.fairtradeusa.org/get-involved/blog/wear-fair-carving-fair-trade-path-apparel

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