Tag: fashion

‘Made in America’ High Fashion Easy to Find at Fashion Week


(NEW YORK) — Is “Made in America” clothing making a comeback at New York fashion week? Though designers from around the globe have gathered in the Big Apple to display their spring and summer collections for 2014, many say their clients still get a kick to learn their clothes are made in the U.S.

Though it means higher retail prices, several designers say they produced 100 percent of their collections in the U.S., including Joanna Mastroianni and Honor.

Even large design houses say they produce a majority, if not a large chunk, of their collections in the U.S.

Trina Turk, who presented for the second time at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City on Sunday, says about 40 to 60 percent of the clothing from her women’s label is produced in the U.S.

“There’s a customer segment that enjoys that things are made in the U.S.,” Turk said.

Turk has boutiques across the country and sells her clothing in department stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

The design and production behind her summery “California Roadtrip”-themed collection available this spring took place in her headquarters in Southern California.

Even global jet-setting designer Vivienne Tam, whose clean, structured spring show was an “ode to modern Shanghai,” produces some of her clothing in the U.S.

Michelle Smith’s edgy and modern women’s spring ready-to-wear was presented on Wednesday for her brand, MILLY. Smith says that while retail prices are higher when she produces domestically, she believes better quality is delivered to customers.

“One of the greatest benefits of producing in the US is that I have a better handle on quality control,” she said. “My sampling room is located one floor below my studio in the heart of the Garment District.”

About 80 to 90 percent of MILLY is made in New York City, while the remaining percentage is fully fashioned knitwear, which cannot be produced in the U.S., her company says.

Without knits, it may be easier for designers to tout their American-produced clothing during fashion week’s spring collections than the winter presentations in February.

Lela Rose, whose brilliantly-colored women’s line was presented on Sunday, said knits are the last remaining puzzle of clothing items she does not yet make in the U.S.

She said 95 percent of her collection is produced domestically, and she is starting to develop and produce knits in the U.S.

“We’re not there yet,” Rose said.

But she is on her way, because the benefits outweigh the challenges of producing in the U.S.

Based in New York City, her factories are based within a 10-block radius of her headquarters.

“If they have a question, they send a representative with a sample,” she said. “And we have people constantly monitoring the factories.”

While it may cost less to produce abroad, Rose said overseas lead times “are so much longer than they are here made in [America].”

Many times, operations have ended up becoming more costly due to things lost in translation or having to revise clothing because things haven’t gone right.

Rose said she supports the preservation of New York’s garment district for “very self-serving” purposes. “If we didn’t have these factories, we wouldn’t have trend stores or last-minute things to add to our collection,” she explains.

And, Rose adds, her clients appreciate that her clothing is produced in the U.S.

“Women love that. I think customers are proud to wear things and are happy to spend money on supporting this economy, especially after all these years of seeing manufacturing diminish,” she said.

Lela Rose
Lela Rose

Designers like Nanette Lepore, whose spring presentation attracted hundreds of clamoring fans on Wednesday, have become politically active in lobbying to protect U.S. manufacturing jobs. Lepore has even helped organize rallies in support of New York’s Garment District.

Melissa Hall, who is behind the website TheEmergingDesigner.com, said new designers want to produce in the U.S. for several reasons, such as being close to the design process and control quality.

“Many designers are also keen on helping to stimulate their local economy and provide jobs to factory workers,” she said. “Plus, one consumer trend that is happening right now is their desire to learn about the designer’s back-story to feel a connection with the brand. That’s where Made in America comes in as a marketing vehicle along with being able to communicate the craftsmanship that goes into making their product.”

Emily Saunders of the up-and-coming label SAUNDER said she loves being able to support industry in her hometown of New York City.

“And it’s important to me to have a relationship with the people who help make the clothing for my line – SAUNDER is my baby and it’s nice knowing that my baby is in good hands,” she said.

Marlon Gobel, behind the men’s line Marlon Gobel, is another New York-based designer who takes pride in producing in the U.S. In his recent fashion show, his “We Built This City” collection was inspired by iron workers who built Manhattan in the early 20th century.

“It just makes more sense to make it here. You can control the timing of your product so much better.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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Made in USA Certified

A Label That Has Regained Its Luster

From left, John Kieselhorst, Dave Schiff and Scott Prindle, founders of Made.
Photo:Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

REMEMBER the Chrysler K-car? Dave Schiff, a founder of Made Collection, a new flash-sale site that sells only American-made goods, hopes not.

When he was coming of age in the early ’80s, the phrase “Buy American” was epitomized by Chrysler’s boxy, style-challenged sedan, marketed as a star-spangled rebuke to the sleek imports of the day. In Mr. Schiff’s view, you bought one to satisfy a patriotic duty, not a sense of style. “ ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ came with baggage,” he said.

Times have changed. Even as the “Made in the U.S.A.” label has grown scarce, thanks to the offshore manufacturing in apparel and other industries, it has acquired cachet as a signifier of old-school craftsmanship, even luxury.

The movement has come far enough that Mr. Schiff, a former advertising executive from Miami, believed the time was right to start a Gilt-like shopping site for the Americana set, selling items like shuttle-loom jeans, lace baby dolls and a 19th-century-style baseball made of leather sourced from a Chicago tannery.

“The old ‘Buy American’ is get something lousy and pay more,” said Mr. Schiff, 45. Now “it’s a premium product.”

Style bloggers were among the early adopters. “ ‘Made in U.S.A.’ has gone through a rebranding of sorts,” said Michael Williams, whose popular men’s style blog, A Continuous Lean, has become an online clubhouse for devotees of American-made heritage labels like Red Wing Shoes and Filson.

But the embrace of domestic goods has also moved beyond scruffy D.J. types in Brooklyn who plunk down $275 for a pair of hand-sewn dungarees sewn from Cone denim from the company’s White Oak plant in North Carolina. The adherents now include “urban creatives, high-net-worth individuals, locavores, liberals, conservatives,” said Mr. Williams, who also represents some of these heritage brands as a marketing consultant.

In other words, Americana chic has gone mainstream. Just visit the nearest mall. Club Monaco unveiled a Made in the USA collection last year, in collaboration with Mr. Williams. J. Crew cashes in on Americana chic by selling domestically manufactured Alden shoes, Levi’s Vintage Clothing jeans and Billykirk leather goods. Joseph Abboud’s home page trumpets its collections as “Made in the New America.”

The newfound pride also extends to American cities and smaller communities. Made in Brooklyn is a phenomenon so self-aware, there are stores like By Brooklyn that specialize in products made in the borough. Similarly, an old shoe-polish brand called Shinola has recently been revived to make upscale watches, bicycles and other crafted goods in Detroit and is being promoted as “Made in Detroit.”

Continue reading “A Label That Has Regained Its Luster”

Leg-Baring Auto Mechanics Chose Made-in-America Kilts

Image credit: KOTV – CBS affiliate

If you wander into a certain auto shop in Oklahoma, you may be a little taken aback by the view: two men working on cars in kilts.

“It was mainly that we were looking for an alternative for the heat,” said David O’Brien, the owner of O’Brien Auto Performance in Tulsa, Okla. “And since I have Irish and Scottish heritage, it was just a fun thing to do.”

With no air conditioning in the shop, O’Brien decided to invest in an airier alternative — and he wanted it to be Made in America.

So he turned to Kommando Kilts.

“We chose a company that’s right here in Oklahoma City,” O’Brien said. “Their whole pattern and the fact that they’re an Oklahoma company just worked perfectly for us.”

But they’re not cheap — the kilts come in at $130 a pop.

“That’s actually inexpensive for kilts,” O’Brien said. “But, you know, for work clothes, that’s really expensive.”

O’Brien and technician David Denney, who goes by Dinkums, are the only two who wear the kilts. The other technician, Ryan Henry, isn’t quite as comfortable showing a little leg around the office.

“He doesn’t even wear shorts, so he’s definitely not going to wear a kilt,” O’Brien said.

But he also pointed out you can’t get too comfortable.

“You have to be really careful when you’re laying on the ground — knees down, legs crossed,” O’Brien said. “Plus you can really burn your bum on the seat of a hot car.”

But for these leg-baring men, it’s about more than just the breeze.

“You know, it’s a hard business,” O’Brien said. “You’ve got to have a little fun with it.”

Source http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/08/leg-baring-auto-mechanics-chose-made-in-america-kilts/

Made in America: Outfitting Olympic Gymnasts

For over two decades, GK Elite has made bright, fun leotards for the world’s top Olympic gymnasts.

Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, GK Elite designs and manufactures gymnastics leotards for a dozen of countries.

From dazzling sequins embedded over bold colors to nude bodysuits embellished with crystals, the leotards worn by gymnasts during the Olympics are almost as fascinating as the Olympians that wear them. The garments have to be comfortable and flexible, while accentuating the movements of the athletes.

While you might assume these complex designs come from a French fashion house or a haute couture designer, a majority of these leotards are actually made by a 30-year-old apparel company based in Reading, Pennsylvania.

GK Elite Sportswear has designed and manufactured the leotards for the world’s top Olympic gymnasts for two decades. For the London Games at the end of the month,GK Elite produced uniforms for nine teams, including Russia, Britain, Greece, and, of course, Team U.S.A. “Gymnastics is one of the most watched sports during the Olympics,” says CEO Dan Casciano. “It always surprises people that a good number of those teams’ leotards are made right here in the U.S.A.”

The Best Kind of Marketing

It all began in 1989, when the then-8-year-old company inked its first deal with the U.S.A Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, to supply the American national team with leotards. This led to the company’s debut Olympic leotards at the Barcelona Games in 1992, and soon other national teams approached GK Elite for leotards. By 2000, GK Elite was supplying dozens of countries with women and men’s leotards, and it also became the sole manufacturer of all adidas-branded national team gymnastics apparel.

Behind the scenes, the company spends years (yes, years) developing, designing, and manufacturing these high-profile uniforms.

Continue reading “Made in America: Outfitting Olympic Gymnasts”

Team USA To Be Decked Out in Uniforms Made in China

ABC News’ Sharyn Alfonsi reports:

They are the pride of America – Team U.S.A. – and for the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in London, they’ll be proudly wearingred, white and blue, from beret to blazer.

The classic American style – shown in an image above – was crafted by designer Ralph Lauren. But just how American is it?

When ABC News looked at the labels, it found “made in China.”

Every item in the uniforms that the U.S. athletes will be wearing at the opening ceremony in London will carry an overseas label.

Nanette Lepore, one of the top U.S. fashion designers, said she was shocked that none of the uniforms had been made in the states. Further, Lepore said that it was “absolutely” possible that the athletes could have been outfitted in U.S.-made clothing. She said U.S. manufactures could have easily made the uniforms – and for less.

Here’s how much the uniforms cost:

Beret – $55
Tie – $125
Belt – $85
Shirt – $425
Blazer – $795
Trousers – $295
Shoes – $165

Beret – $55
Scarf – $58
Belt – $85
Shirt – $179
Skirt – $498
Blazer – $598

“Why shouldn’t we have pride not only in the American athletes, but in the American manufacturers and laborers who are the backbone of our country?” Lepore said to ABC News. “Why? What’s wrong? Why was that not a consideration?”

Continue reading “Team USA To Be Decked Out in Uniforms Made in China”