Archive for the 'Clothing' Category

25
Apr
14

Summer Shorts than Double as Swimming Trunks – Flint and Tinder

Flint and Tinder – Proudly Made in America | All-Summer Shorts. For only eight more days, Flint and Tinder is pre-funding summer shorts that double as swimming trunks. They are all made in the USA. The price is $74.50 per pair.

Flint and Tinder All Summer Shorts

Flint and Tinder All Summer Shorts

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03
Apr
14

Stella Neptune – Vintage Cashmere

Stella Neptune is a small company that finds some of the older but higher end cashmere and recycles it into refurbished cashmere sweaters and hoodies. Embroidered on almost all of these cashmere garments are patches, which Stella Neptune (aka Eva Kisevalter) has made up herself.

I really like this recycling trend. It is eco-friendly. It is a refreshing direction from the “Fast Fashion” and the dumping of tons of Asian-made cheap and useless garments which end up in our landfills.

I saw Stella Neptune and spoke to Eva Kisevalter at the Vintage Fashion Expo in San Francisco on March 23rd. She was busy sewing and patching. I was very impressed when she told me she learned to do her own die making like in the old fashioned Tool and Die making, which used to be very important in manufacturing for so many years.  However, like manufacturing in America, it, too, has become a lost art.

Just a word regarding the Vintage Fashion Expo, shows like this are becoming more and more popular. Vintage means used, but they are only slightly used and usually of a higher quality. The Vintage Fashion Expos are expanding to more and more cities every year. You should check them out as well as Stella Neptune. Remember to buy American.

Stella Neptune Refurbished cashmere with decorative patches.

Stella Neptune
Refurbished cashmere
with decorative patches.

 

23
Apr
12

American Giant: A New Business Idea for Made in USA Clothing

SHOOT FOR INC. MAGAZINE | VERDICT PHOTOGRAPHY. The link has a 1 minute 36 second commercial on why American Giant is making clothes in the USA through the internet. American Giant makes sweatshirts in the USA.

So, why should I cover a company that sells clothes over the internet, when my mission is to help people to find clothing made in the USA at brick and mortar stores? It is not the lure of a free sweatshirt, but it did get my attention. It is because: the company is local, Headquarters in the Mission District of San Francisco and manufactured in Brisbane, CA ; and it just opened for business on February 1, 2012;  plus, their marketing department has done a great job getting their name out. In fact, I have never seen a new start-up internet clothing business with so much advertising through the internet. This may be the future of new business start-ups. (There will be a list of the internet articles at the end.)

The Name: American Giant

The phrase American Giant conjures up a lot of images, usually of large, oversized people, for some, it is that huge green man with the skimpy shorts, but, possibly, it conveys the image of the movie: “Giant” co-starring James Dean, the icon of cool. Bayard Winthrop, American Giant Founder, came up with the name and then checked to see if it was trademarked. His heart dropped when he found out it was. But he did not give up. Mr. Winthrop found out that the trademark was owned by a trademark lawyer, who had trademarked American Giant which was the title of a book he had written. He, then, called the lawyer, they started chatting and found out that the lawyer was a big fan of American made apparel. They became friends and Mr. Winthrop was granted permission to use American Giant.

The Owner

Bayard Winthrop was the former CEO of Chrome Bags. For those of you who have never heard of Chrome Bags, I will provide a little background on the company. Chrome Bags started 16 years ago when a couple of guys needed bags and found that nothing to fit their needs (it reminds me of the story of the founders of Rag & Bone and their search for jeans), so they started making bags on their own in very modest surroundings, their garage. They grew slowly at first, then moved to San Francisco and expanded their inventory to include clothes, gear and shoes. So, American Giant does have a background in clothes making.

The Philosophy of American Giant

The purpose of American Giant is to produce good quality clothing in the United States and sell them at affordable prices. They have directed their competition towards J. Crew and GAP customers. Mr. Winthrop loves the make of sweatshirts of the past: the 1960’s and 1970’s and is devoted to making clothes in this manner, which means obtaining good quality material and better manufacturing practices. To keep prices down, American Giant will be selling over the internet only. The reason is as follows.

Traditional Business Model of Clothing Stores

It was not that long ago, (and presently with a few independent clothing stores) that the clothing store owner bought clothing (traditionally it was all made in the US) at wholesale cost. These clothes were then sold to the public at a 50% mark-up. This 50% mark-up was used to cover all costs to run the business: the rent, the gas and electricity, the salaries of employees, taxes, shipping, supplies etc.  Having big sales were not very common and usually skimpy (compared to today’s sales) So, overall, there was not great profit in this business, but there was enough to make a decent living. Today, there are multiple mega-stores which buy volumes of cheap clothing. The mark-up, at these places are no longer 50%, but 300 – 2000% . That is why they can have 40% sales, or 50% sales or even 70% sales and still make money. For a small store, when a customer who is used to going to discount stores and expects 50% off, it is a difficult situation. To make a sale to this type of customer it usually involves educating the consumer – who is usually less than interested in learning anything.

New Business Plan

American Giant has combined the manufacturing of clothes with the selling of clothes. When many people discuss costs, they incorrectly assume that most of the costs are due to labor. Most authorities agree that labor makes up a small percentage of costs, about 5-10%. But, according to Bayard Winthrop, CEO of American Giant, it is the soft costs – the overhead that drives up the costs. The costs including setting up a facility, travel, transportation, executive pay as well as the costs of maintaining a brick and mortar space. Overhead is responsible for up to 600% of labor. By eliminating stores all across the country with all of their inherent costs, much of the overhead is eliminated. Therefore, American Giant has elected to do everything over the internet.

Why Some People Do Not Buy Over The Internet

There are a couple of inherent problems with selling clothes over the internet: 1)a  huge problem is that nobody knows you exist – hence, the establishment of a marketing department for American Giant, mostly through the internet; 2) a few people have no internet access, but, also, some people do not trust internet companies, as they have no address, and contact is limited, there is no actual person that you meet, contact is only through the internet or if you are lucky via phone; 3) often it is difficult to judge a piece of clothing on the internet – the color may be off, the quality may be poor, the size and fit aren’t right. To remedy this, American Giant has just opened a showroom on April 17, 2012 at 3171 21st Street, San Francisco, CA (in the Mission District – the Mission District is a growing place for trendy clothes – down the street is Freemans Sporting Club, all US made clothes, and Self Edge, mainly Japanese made clothing). In the future, may be there will be new additional showrooms.

Business Plan

American Giant has been making and selling sweatshirts since February 2012. American made sweatshirts are a difficult to come by commodity and it is a welcome addition. American Giant has just started making T-shirts. Their plan is every 6 – 8 weeks, they will bring out another line of clothing, next, I believe, will be Polo shirts. Now, this will be a very greatly appreciated as Polos made in the USA are harder to find than sweatshirts. Other basic wear is to follow. I will not post any pictures of these clothes as pictures of clothes just laying on a table are not really enticing to the buyer.

Potential Advantage

There are two advantages to manufacturing things yourself and selling via the internet besides the costs. One advantage is that, if you sell-out of an item or a size, new items can still be made and sold as long as the raw material is still available. Second, because American Giant manufactures all their clothes locally, there can be a very quick turn around (from idea to ready for sale). For example, Zara, a Spanish company with clothing stores all throughout the US (most clothes are manufactured in Spain, Turkey and some overseas) can design and distribute a garment to market in 15 days. Whereas, a brand will have to make a purchasing decision for overseas production 18 months in advance. That is correct: the newest colors and designs for next year and possibly even the next year after that, have already been pre-determined. There is no reason, you couldn’t wear next years colors this year.

Remember to avoid slave labor made products, remember to listen to your conscious, buy American. Good luck to American Giant. I cheer for your success but I hope that you, unlike many other companies who became very big, became too greedy, and started outsourcing their jobs overseas, stay true to your original mission and keep making clothing locally.

Success

To be an internet only company, the most difficult part is developing name recognition or even to be seen. American Giant has been successful through marketing. But they have also been blessed by being discovered by ABC News in their segments about Buying American. As there business has grown, the types of articles of clothing has also expanded.

(Updated April 18, 2014)

Internet Articles

Esquire

Tech Crunch

Inc.

Fast Company

Gear Culture

Get Kempt

Selectism

Men’s Threads

Get Kempt – Cardigans

The Style Raconteur

Gear Patrol

Free/Man

San Francisco Business Times

ilovekeithedmonds.com

“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions” -Victor Hugo

08
Apr
12

Sweatshirts Made in USA

American Giant Clothing | USA Made High Quality Apparel Free Shipping.

Mainpoint: clothingmadeinusablog goes searching for sweatshirts made in the USA.

Sweatshirts have been a staple of the male wardrobe since the 1920’s. Casual, comfortable and inexpensive, they are omnipresent like T-shirts or jeans. Sweatshirts are an American invention and up until the 1980’s, just about all sweatshirts were made in the U.S. But with the loss of trade restrictions and the widespread expansion of outsourcing, finding any American-made garments is difficult, but with sweatshirts, it is doubly difficult to find. We will attempt to find US made American sweatshirts and we will examine the history of sweatshirts.

History

The sweatshirt was invented in the 1920’s. It filled a special niche that wasn’t being met. In the early 1920’s, sportspeople, people doing track events or playing football or baseball, in order to keep warm, had to wear these knitted woollen sweaters. These sweaters were typically grey, often quite heavy and they were worn against the skin causing them to feel scratchy and uncomfortable. Additionally, because of perspiration, these garments needed to washed frequently, but they were horrendously slow to dry (they didn’t have electric clothes dryers at that time) and quite prone to shrinkage.

The new idea: in 1922, Bennie Russell, a keen University of Alabama football player suggested to his father that if they could modify a women’s union-suit top made of soft, thick cotton (which his father made) to create shirts that were loose, collarless pullovers for him and his teammates. The father was Benjamin Russell who had been making women’s and children’s underwear since 1902. These new “sweatshirts”, named by an anonymous Russell employee, were an instant hit. Within a decade, Russell had created a new division, solely for the sweatshirt business. This division was called Russell Athletic, still a major manufacturer of sweatshirts today, although, no longer in the U.S.

Refinements

The Knickerbocker Knitting Company(KKC) (est. 1919) created by brothers, Abe and Bill Feinbloom, patented a process that greatly enhanced the sales of sweatshirts in the 1920’s. The process was a flocking process that enabled raised lettering to be printed on fabric, which was ideal for high school sports. KKC, trading under the name Champion, made other improvements as well, such as the hooded sweatshirt and the zip-up. They also developed the first reverse-weave sweatshirt; the light ribbing ran horizontally across the body rather than vertically up it, which meant minor shrinkages did not affect its length, no matter how many times the garment was washed. These were manufactured by loopwheels which minimized any tension when the thread was being woven and arguably created a better garment. Loopwheels fell out of use in the 1950’s, because they were slow. These loopwheels are considered collector’s items now.

Sweatshirts were abundant but not really cool until 1963 with the release of The Great Escape, when Steve McQueen, wore one under his A2 flight jacket and during his motorcycle escape attempt.

Wrong Turn (you may skip this paragraph if you don’t want to hear about economics and politics)

In 1980, The United States made 80% of all of its manufactured goods. Wal-Mart was a speck on the map, McDonald’s hadn’t even sold 10 million burgers, China was the world’s 10th largest economy behind Argentina and Spain. The big three sweatshirt manufacturers: Russell Athletic, Hanes, and Champion, all made their clothing in the U.S. But at the end of 1980, began the “Greed is Good” Era (from the fictional Wall Street character, Gordon Gecko who was based on Wall Street Inside Trader Ivan Boesky). I am not sure why this started, but I presume it was because the public bought into “Reaganomics” and his “Trickle-Down” Theory, which said if you give money to the rich it will help the poor and the middle class (which has been proven patently false). It never made sense to me, it is like saying if you give more food to the obese, you can help the skinny gain weight. Keeping with this same analogy, if the poor and middle class are to have any money come their way, they are going to have to forage through the monetary digestive waste of the rich. Conversely, if you gave money directly to the poor, then you would see money put back almost immediately into the local economy. (Maybe a theory for the future – let us call it ‘The Trickle Up” theory.) Now that the corporations had more governmental and political power, plus more money as well as being incentivized to move jobs overseas, outsourcing started and continues to run rampant, this has improved corporate margins of profit (however, it did not increase, but actually decreased US jobs) and most importantly (to the people that passed these laws), increased executive salaries. (In 1980, the average CEO salary to the average worker ratio was 42:1; in 2010, CEO to average worker ratio increased to 343:1.) All this outsourcing has majorly injured all American manufacturing, but clothing manufacturing received an additional blow when in 1995 Congress ended all import quotas and restrictions on clothing (repealing the 1974 Multifiber Agreement). There was a full phase out by 2005, the next year, 2006, China increased its exports to the US by 100%, which continues to increase. The effect of “dumping” cheap clothes, through foreign government  subsidies, illegal manipulation of the Chinese yuan, slave labor, and illegal (if it were in the US) kickbacks to executives had caused almost all of the American manufacturers to be “Wal-Marted” out of existence. (The Wal-Mart effect – through volume and greater monetary resources a company can keep prices artificially low for an indefinite amount of time for the sole purpose of putting the small shop out of business. It is borderline illegal like colluding companies that fix prices or monopolies. Maybe if the courts said that WalMarting was illegal in 1980, then we would not have all these Mega-Stores, Mega-Banks, Mega-Insurance Companies, Mega-Chain restaurant/stores, and Mega-Communication/Utility companies). The effect of all this has had a devastating effect on the clothing manufacturers – almost daily US manufacturers folded or moved their operations overseas.

Present Day and Where to Find US Made Sweatshirts

The United States, in 2012, manufactures only 2% of the clothing it needs., but lately we have seen a few  companies bring manufacturing back to the United States. The major sweatshirt companies (Russell Athletic, Hanes, Champion) presently, have all their sweatshirts made in Honduras, Vietnam, China or elsewhere. In fact, sweatshirts are one of those very difficult items to find made in the U.S., because for many consumers, sweatshirts are casual and inexpensive to start with and, therefore, quality is usually not a big issue with many buyers. But there are some high quality sweatshirts out there, but you will have to search.

American Giant Sweatshirts

One of the newest makers of US made sweatshirts is American Giant. They are based in San Francisco and sell directly to the consumer which keeps costs down. The way that they get their brand recognition is through the internet, through blogs and clothing websites.Their prices are reasonable and of very high quality.

Listing of US Made sweatshirts – Retail – Men’s (Found in stores)

  1. American Apparel
  2. Aviator Nation
  3. Day After
  4. Envae
  5. Fieldscout
  6. Filson
  7. James Perse
  8. Joe’s
  9. Land’s End
  10. Local Green
  11. NSF Clothing
  12. Obey
  13. Patrick Ervell
  14. Retro
  15. Rogan
  16. Sol Angeles
  17. Steven Alan
  18. Threads for Thought
  19. Tim Coppins
  20. 1901

Listing of US Made Sweatshirts – Retail – Women’s (Found in Stores)

  1. Abbot and Main
  2. Allen Allen
  3. American Apparel
  4. Eileen Fisher (uncommon)
  5. Hard Tail
  6. Haute Hippie
  7. h.i.p.
  8. Jason Wu (rare)
  9. Juicy Couture (rare)
  10. Living Doll
  11. Make and Model
  12. NSF Clothing
  13. Patterson J. Kincaid
  14. Peek
  15. Pink Lotus
  16. prANA
  17. Rag & Bone
  18. Retro
  19. Soul, Mind, Breath, Life
  20. Splendid
  21. Textile
  22. T2
  23. Wildfox

Partial Listing of US Made Sweatshirts – Internet

 

  1. Aether Apparel
  2. AKWA
  3. All American Clothing
  4. American Giant
  5. American Joe
  6. Bayside
  7. Camber USA
  8. Campbellsville
  9. Daisy’s Swimwear
  10. Dehen
  11. Dyer and Jenkins
  12. Eagle USA
  13. Flint and Tinder
  14. Fresh Produce
  15. Jest Sweatshirts
  16. Kellsport
  17. King Louie
  18. KL Apparel (King Louie)
  19. Leftfield (NYC)
  20. Lightning Bolt
  21. Lifewear, Inc.
  22. My Boxercraft (Hoodie)
  23. Pop Outerwear
  24. Red Ant Pants (Hoodie)
  25. Rising Son and Co.
  26. S & H Athletics
  27. Schoodie
  28. SOS
  29. Sweatshirts USA
  30. Union House
  31. Velva Sheen (at hickorees.com)
  32. West is Dead
  33. 1791 Supply and Co.

 

Conclusion: Sweatshirts can be found in the USA, but it takes a little bit of searching – a helpful hint would be to use my blog entry;”Nordstroms, NiemanMarcus, etc. Links to clothing made in USA”. Find the store link: under” search”, type in: ‘sweatshirts made in usa’ (or ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s’ prior to ‘sweatshirts made in usa’). I still prefer to go to the stores and try the garment on before purchasing it.

I saw a TV commercial yesterday. Old Navy was advertising $5 polo shirts for Easter. You know, if you bought one, you are still being ripped off. My personal opinion is that they should take all the clothing off the shelves of Old Navy and put them directly into the landfill, and bypass you the middleman, who will ultimately send them to their proper place (the landfill) after one or two wearings. Just say NO to slave labor.

“I saw a women wearing a sweatshirt with Guess on it. I said ‘Thyroid Problem'” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Reference:  Icons of Men’s Style by Josh Sims, Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2011

(Updated April 18, 2014)

20
Feb
12

Are People Taking Casual Attire Too Far? – San Jose Mercury News

Has the casual Bay Area vibe turned us into fashion ‘don’ts?’ – San Jose Mercury News. This article hits the nail on the head on how we dress today, which has become too casual. This fantastic article was written by Angela Hill in the San Jose Mercury News on February 19, 2012. Referenced in the article is “Etiquette for Dummies”, by Sue Fox. One major point made (in the article) is how we dress does have an influence on how we act and feel.

One item that Ms. Hill did not address was comparing Bay Area dress to other areas in the country. In my own humble opinion, I would say that in the East Coast cities like Boston and New York, people do dress a little (okay, maybe a lot) better than the Bay area. Bay area casual appears to be antithesis to the book: “Dress for Success”.

The reasons why California dresses down are several. First, warmer weather. The warmer the weather, there is less need for layering. Comfort is more important. As weather becomes more tropical, there is less clothing period, and items like ties and jackets are sometimes just crazy to consider. Second, areas like California have had a stronger counter-culture personality. Californians are more accepting of surfer-dudes, hippies, grunge, and alternate life-styles. And what counter culture doesn’t dress down? Third, the West Coast does not have the deeper traditions that the East Coast has. “To preserve the family name”, is not a mantra seen in California. Business men and professionals, Doctors, lawyers, etc. in California, dress nice, but on a whole, still dress less formal than the East Coast. These are just my observations.

In the article (see the above link), there are a number of pictures of people wearing casual pictures, most are all cheaply, foreign made, not that the U.S. does not make T-shirts, but baggy pants, sweat pants, $10 shoes are not made here. The clothes, on many of the people pictured, look  awful and cheap, and that maybe they spent a whole $20 on their entire wardrobe. How much did it cost to produce in China $3. This is what the world of clothing has devolved into: cheap, awful and disposal. Throw out those ugly clothes or give it to the Goodwill and buy something nice, buy something American- made for a change.

11
Jan
12

Why should you buy American?

You have heard people saying that maybe you should support American made products. But many of the times, you do not hear the reasons why. This blog entry will try to enumerate some of the reasons.

I know you have heard it before: “Buy American”. But this is not the same bogus call of the 1970’s when there was a push by the car manufacturers and workers to buy the definitely inferior American cars at the time over the superiorly made Japanese cars. Their reasoning back then was simply: Be Patriotic. This slogan worked a little, but the American car companies were neither innovating nor even trying to improve their quality. It left a sour taste on those that took the message to heart. So, now the message goes out again: “Buy American”. Should we believe them this time? The short answer is yes. The long answer is this entire blog entry.

I have prepared a list of reasons that may help you decide whether to buy American. I divide the reasons into the E’s – ethics, ecology/environment, and economy; and into the P’s – Patriotic, Personal Health and Patronization.

Ethics

I believe that ethics and the just treatment of all human beings is the leading reason why people have chosen to buy American.  There has been a mass exodus of American manufacturing since the late 1970’s due to numerous reasons: Globalization, Offshoring (Outsourcing); Free Trade Agreements; and Removal of Import Quotas. For a more detailed explanation see my blog entry ‘How Did we Get Here? Part II’. Because there is a scarce amount of American-made products we receive almost all of our products from third world countries. The factory workers in these third world countries work in conditions that if they were in the United States would be considered inhumane, even if it were to be done by prisoners.

Listing of some of the inhumane conditions are: well documented incidents of frequent use in children in factories, as well in cotton fields, not including the use of “work study students” usually ages 16 to 17 years old; exposure to toxic substances without adequate safeguards or ventilation; no air conditioning unless a foreign client shows up; working hours 6 or 7 days a week, 12 to 15 hours a day without overtime; dormitories which often hold 14 to 24 people to one room with annoying restrictions like no tea kettles or hairdryers; forced to stand for hours without taking a break; forbidden to speak to other workers; public humiliation for one that does not obey the rules; threats or actual physical abuse for offenders; sexual harassment is acceptable; no worker rights; no worker benefits such as disability, social security, retirement plans, vacation, sick-time, time-off for pregnancy, workman’s compensation or right to sue for wrongful termination; poor pay $ 4 to $6 per day (yes, not per hour), and even less after deducting for factory food. Because of these conditions, there is the now well told story of how at Foxconn (they manufacture the Apple’s iphone), there has been a rash of suicides from workers jumping off the top of the building. Nets have been placed and counselors have been summoned. To sum it up: “We are like prisoners…we do not have a life, only work.” -Teenage Microsoft worker. By buying the products of slave labor, we enable slave labor to continue and prosper. Buy American, stop slave labor.

Ecology/Environment

Ecology is the study of the relationship of an organism between it and its environment; and the environment is the set of circumstances surrounding that organism. Since these two issues are interrelated they have been brought together as one reason to buy American.

We have only one earth and only one atmosphere that we all must share. We dislike it when smoke is all around us, breathing in pollutants and carcinogens. We dislike it when our water is contaminated with unwanted chemicals and toxins. Most people would like to preserve our water, our air, our atmosphere, and our earth. Some do not care because they make money destroying the earth or they simply don’t care about anything that is not within a block of where they live.

There is a serious problem going on that doesn’t get much press. Our environment is being destroyed. Because of our dependence on slave labor factories in the third world countries, these countries suddenly have a terrible pollution problem. These countries have very little rules regarding preserving the environment and avoiding toxic chemicals. If they do have laws about polluting, they are rarely enforced. And there are no lawyers going to sue the government to stop the pollution. China and India have terrible problems which have yet to be resolved with pollution of the air, the land and the water. China is the world’s most prodigious emitter of greenhouse gases from coal burning power plants, millions of automobiles and Industrial waste gases. The air is so polluted that Beijing’s air violated the World Health Organization standards more than 80% of the time in the last quarter of 2008 (in preparation of the Olympic games, the government halted all factories 4 months prior to the games). 70% of China’s rivers are too polluted to provide safe drinking water. It is expected there will be major water shortages in China by 2020. 10% of China’s farmland are too polluted by heavy metals of Lead, Mercury and Cadmium. India has major air pollution problems because of its numerous automobiles, many without functioning catalytic converters, and buying of unregulated biofuels. Land pollution is as abominable as is their water pollution. “It is no longer just their problem, it’s our problem,” says Kim Prather of Scripps Institute of Oceanography. (See next entry: Newslink: Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West – CBS News). Remember there is only one earth, and only one atmosphere. It is ridiculous to think that destroying the planet on one side of the world would never effect us. One only has to remember that the Nuclear blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki dropped some of its fall-out on the United States. Some of the Tsunami’s effect on Japan this spring is now washing some of the remnants on the shores of the U.S. (Thank goodness, that the radioactive material doesn’t travel throughout the sea all that well). Imported fish often have banned chemicals that find there way back to the U.S. Buy American, protect the planet.

Economy

“The Great Recession” has uncovered just how tenuous the American economy has become. The United States for many years was the world’s leading manufacturer by a long shot. Since the late 1970’s, the United States had gradually stopped manufacturing and became a country that specialized in providing service, which became an even bigger problem as service jobs started getting outsourced as well. In 1965, we manufactured 95% of what we needed, (and accounted for 53% of the entire economy), now we manufacture only 5%, and for clothing, it is only 2% of what we need. When we had the computer and internet boom (two separate booms), we still manufactured our new products, jobs were created, the economy expanded. But now that we have outsourced most of our manufacturing, the present day and continuing boom of hand-held electronic devices has totally bypassed us. We get no jobs here for the new industry we created.

Let us be frank: “The Great Recession” was a depression. The only reason is wasn’t called a depression because of its negative connotations, and they didn’t want a run on all of the banks, not that it didn’t happen anyway. That is why there was the Bail-out. It is funny, back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, depression wasn’t a bad word, as long as it wasn’t a “Crisis” or “Crash”. The definition of a depression, by certain experts, is a decrease of the GDP by 10%: last quarter in 2008 – 6.4%, and first quarter in 2009 – 6.3%. We have gone through a depression, so now what? How do we get out of it, how do we stabilize our job market? Some people think that if we can come up with a new novel idea that this would save our economy, the problem with this reasoning is that if we come up with a great new idea, we will outsource it right away, and will get no benefit from it at all.

Some people, me included, feel that improving our manufacturing base will stabilize our economy. There are several reasons for this line of thinking. First, the strongest economies presently are the ones that continue to manufacture, China (of course) and Germany. Germany manufactures 25 – 30% of all that it needs. Second, it is a proven fact that each manufacturing job provides an additional 2.9 jobs that is associated with the manufactured product. Third, it makes economic sense, that every dollar spent on an American-made product goes back into the economy 100% (and Possibly 110%) versus a dollar spent on a foreign product may come back into the economy depending on whom one listens to from 15 – 40%. The goal would be to get our manufacturing back to at least 20%, it would make us much less dependent on other nations’ (some friendly, some unfriendly) imports. Buy American made, it stimulates our economy and it increases our manufacturing jobs.

The P’s – Patriotic

“It’s not what your country can do for you, it is what can you do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy. Your country needs you and you need to support your country. Buy American “made”, not just because it says it is American. It is better to buy a Toyota model, made in the US with 90% American parts, than a Ford made in another country with no American parts. Buying American made, is not only good for the country, it is good for the people of the United States. It is strange that the same people who used to say “Buy American” to support this country are very silent on this issue today. These same people who said “Beat the Russians” at every turn, have nothing but good things to say against the same “commies”, the Chinese. One theory why they are silent: Big Money. Money means controlling government policies and therefore the making of more money. So, where is this money coming from? Answer: owning companies in China. Certain American individuals have invested trillions of dollars in China and these certain people do not want to upset the goose that lays the golden egg, even if it destroys the U.S. and world economy. China is our biggest competitor, they own most of our debt, and we are dependent on many of their imports. Over the last 30 years we (the U.S. and its policies) have let this happen. We have put our selves in a position of extreme weakness, all the while, Communist China tries to bury us with their flooding the markets with artificially low, government subsidized imports while simultaneously manipulating the Chinese yuan so that it is extremely under-valued. You know, Communist China is not our friend, it is not our ally, they vote against in nearly everything global. It is funny that we do not treat them as the enemy they are. Buy American made, put an end to Chinese dominance.

Personal Health

We sometimes live in a bubble, certainly an information bubble. That is especially true when it come to our health and our exposure to chemicals, some toxic, some not. The United State used to be the pioneer in protecting the public from toxic chemicals. The U.S. passed the Toxic Chemical Act in the mid 1970s, but with a huge loophole that exempted 6,000 chemicals that were already in use. People think that just because a product is on our shelves that they are safe. That is not true. Many of our products and their ingredients are untested, or tested and a committee (whether biased or not) have determined that the chemical might not cause damage. The United States is at least 10 years behind the European Union with regards to testing chemicals (Europe had banned phthalates – used to soften plastics in 1999, the U.S. banned it in 2008). In Europe, each product has to have toxicity data. Not so in the U.S. In fact, some industries will reformulate a product for the European market, but keep the original (but banned in Europe) chemical for U.S. consumption. Europe has banned 1,371 chemicals, the United States one-eighth if that. Even China, which is not known to be progressive, has banned bisphenol-A (BPA) (the coating inside of cans and plastics), but not in the U.S. Europe had banned this in 1999.  Some of the known effects of toxic chemicals: cancer, birth defects, asthma, decreased female fertility, decreased sperm counts, decreased testosterone, altering hormones including thyroid, and neurological symptoms.

So, if the United States does a poor job in protecting its citizens from chemicals, how do you think it does at protecting its citizens from dangerous imports which have even less banned chemicals, such as the flame-retardant materials (grouped together as polybromodiphenyl ether (PBDE)-banned in the U.S. in 2005, but still made in China? The answer is poorly. How many times, do we need to hear another product from China has lead in it? If we did more testing, we would find much more. Lead? People may say, we used to use lead ourselves. Yes, but we didn’t know better, and that was many years ago. They know better and it still happens? They are purposely putting in a poison. In 2008, when China was found to be putting lead in their products, the company, Mattel and their executives had to apologize to the Chinese government – for the damage they had caused the industry. Furthermore, American clothing is rarely “Permanent Press” but this is frequently found coming from the Third World countries. Permanent Press is made out of formaldehyde or a derivative of Formaldehyde, Dimethylol dihydroxyethylenurea (DMDHEU) – its effects are unknown. For your own health, it is best to avoid third world products, the safest is from Europe.

Patronization

Patronize – to aid or support. When you go shopping and you buy from a place, you are patronizing that place. Next time you go out, find the store that carries American made clothes and buy their clothes. You are supporting: the store, the clothing manufacturer, and the United States economy.

Conclusion

There is a myriad of reasons of why to buy American: protesting unfair labor practices, protection of the environment, improving the manufacturing within the U.S., supporting the U.S., avoiding chemicals to protect your health or to support your favorite store, any one of these are a reasonable argument to buy American made. Keep up the good work.

Reference: “Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake For American Power” by Mark Shapiro

09
Jan
12

Freemans Proprietor Taavo Somer & His Anti-Style — New York Magazine

How Freemans and Rusty Knot Proprietor Taavo Somer Developed His Downtown Anti-Style — New York Magazine. This was published in New York magazine on May 4, 2008. This is the best article covering the recent life and times of Taavo Somer, the owner of Freemans Sporting Club, a store that manufactures men’s clothing all within the United States.  Actually, it is quite interesting how an architect became a hip restauranteer and clothing store owner.

“I model irregular clothing.” – Jay London




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