In honor of Small Business Saturday on November 24th, 2012, I would like to list my favorite small business that sells clothing made in the USA. Certainly, like most people, I like searching for bargains and go to places like Nordstrom Rack, and Off Fifth Avenue. But, I do like to go to the small independent stores that are the backbone of the United States economy. However, the independent stores are slowly losing their influence each year as the multi-national corporations continue to expand ever more into just about every area imaginable.
My Favorite Stores
As I live in Northern California, most of the businesses I patronize will be in San Francisco or nearby. I will list my top 10 stores, in no particular order:
1) Marine Layer – 498 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 and, also, 2209 Chestnut St. SF, 94123. What I like about this store is that not only is it 100% American made clothing, but it is locally made around the Bay area. It has casual shirts for both men and women at reasonable prices.
2) Freemans Sporting Club – Three locations: 327 Bleeker St. NYC; 8 Rivington St, NYC; 696 Valencia St. SF. The Rivington and Valencia sites have barber shops. Freemans is an upper end mens clothier which specializes in a somewhat retro look. Most of its clothing is made in New York City or New Jersey. There are plans that within the next 18 months that Freemans will be opening up a local factory in New York.
3) Twenty One Tango – 391 Hartz Ave., Danville, CA 94526. This store has been open since 2001. It contains trendy and contemporary ladies fashions. I stumbled upon this store at an art and wine festival.
4) The Hound – 140 Sutter St. San Francisco, CA 94104. Men’s clothiers since 1972. The Hound carries famous American brands such as Bill’s Khakis, Gitman Brothers, and Carrot and Gibbs.
5) Unionmade – 3 locations: Original store opened 2009 at 493 Sanchez St., San Francisco, 94114; 2005 Larkspur Circle, Larkspur, CA; 225 26th St., Santa Monica, CA 90402. Upper middle to upper end men’s clothiers. Many American brands all in one store. There are some imports.
6) Wingtip – formerly known as On The Fly – 550 Montgomery St. San Francisco. Men’s clothier’s has many American brands. This store is not just a clothing store, but it doubles as a travel and gift store especially for men.
7) Khaki’s of Carmel (or J. Lawrence Khakis Men’s Clothier of Carmel) – Carmel Plaza Shopping Center, Ocean Ave., Carmel, CA. Upper end men’s clothiers. Blend of new and traditional fashions. Many European designers, but a decent amount of U.S. made clothing.
The following stores are what I will label guilty pleasures. There do not carry much US made clothing, but some have a great collection of European or Japanese made clothing.
8) Self Edge – 3 locations: 714 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110; 157 Orchard Street, NY City; 144 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA. Specializes in denim and leather. Most brands from Japan like Flat Head and Iron Head. They also carry 3sixteen – made in USA.
9) Penelope -377 Santana Row, Suite 1165 (on Olsen Drive). Upper middle to upper end ladies fashions. Many European designers and some Canadian made Joseph Ribkoff dresses and blouses.
10) Wilkes Bashford -2 locations: 375 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94108 (7 stories); 450 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304. Extremely high end for men and women. Started in 1966, Wilkes Bashford strove to create the most expensive men’s clothiers west of the Mississippi. He was the first to bring the Italian designers to California in 1972. He added a women’s section in 1978. The designers and clothes are awe-inspring. The prices are jaw-dropping. For men, they carry Kiton, Brioni, Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana. With regards to US made, Wilkes Bashford carries Hamilton shirts as well as some A/G and Agave. For women, WB has many top end designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Yigal Azrouel, Helmut Lang and Alexander McQueen. Don’t let the salespeople intimidate you. WB just came out with a new flier celebrating their newest renovations to both stores.
I really like Allen Edmonds and Steven Alan (15 stores), they both have a great amount of U.S. made clothing and shoes, however, they may be too large to be considered small businesses. Allen Edmonds is best known for dress shoes, but now have started making US made clothing. Steven Alan is a maker of men’s shirts, but their stores carry a great deal of other US made clothing and shoes.
Others: Eli Thomas at Santana Row (San Jose, CA) is a very nice mens clothier and Bossini in the Valley Fair Shopping Center (San Jose, CA) is a great place to find some top European designers like Versace, Armani, and Eton. Bossini has clothing for both men and women. Fashion Passion at the Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto, CA) is a nice ladies boutique with many European designers.
Remember to patronize you favorite small business this Saturday, November 24th for Small Business Saturday.