Posts Tagged ‘American Giant

22
Jul
17

14 American-Made Clothing Brands You Can Wear With Pride

Source: 14 American-Made Clothing Brands You Can Wear With Pride

14 American-Made Clothing Brands You Can Wear With Pride

Here is a great list from Good Trade

Made in USA

In our search for ethical products, we’re constantly looking for brands that value transparency and quality and reject the practices that surround cheaply made fast-fashion. We’ve found that buying for quality is one of the keys to simple and sustainable living. When we purchase something that lasts, we consume less and live a simpler life. Additionally, transparency allows us to understand where our products came from and the impact they have had on people and planet along every step of the supply chain. American-made clothing brands make a persistent bet on long-lasting quality and radical transparency.

We’ve searched for our favorite men’s & women’s American-made clothing brands making high quality basics like denim, tees, sweatshirts right here in the USA. Beyond just the basics, we’ve added a few brands that make formalwear, bridal wear and lingerie. Check out these brands keeping their design and manufacturing in the USA.


Baldwin Denim & Collection

Based In | Kansas City, MO
Best For | Raw denim
Product Range | Denim, tees, hats, dresses, knitwear, outerwear
Price Range | $18-$50

Founded and designed by Matt Baldwin, Baldwin Denim & Collection is a Kansas City-based clothing and lifestyle brand, founded on modern design, quality textiles, and American manufacturing. Baldwin is an all-time favorite of ours, not just because of our love for Kansas City, but because each design stems from both East and West Coast influences put through a modern filter of the Middle of the country. Their men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections capture a timeless modernism.

Shop Baldwin Denim & Collection Online


American Giant

Based In | San Francisco, CA
Best For | Comfortable sweatshirts
Product Range | Sweatshirts, shirts, polos, bottoms
Price Range | $24-$119

Often referred to as the company that made “the greatest hoodie ever,” American Giant believes in exceptional quality materials and customer service. Typically, 80% of what we pay to traditional retailers has nothing to do with the production of the garment; American Giant ensures that 100% of your purchase supports their USA-made and 100% cotton apparel. They shy away from traditional marketing methods like billboards and the appeal of brick-and-mortar stores, and instead invest in selling directly to American consumers and providing them with outstanding service. With cotton grown and sewn in the Carolinas, relentless attention to detail, top-of-the-line fabrics, and custom hardware, you’ll feel super comfy and proud to wear one of their sweatshirts.

Shop American Giant Online


AMVI

Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Basic essentials
Product Range | Tees, knit tops, bottoms
Price Range | $48-$80

AMVI stands for American Made, Vintage Inspired, and you can see the American influence in all of their apparel. Their high-quality basic essentials will be the ideal foundation for your wardrobe in no time, from their richly colored dolman tees to their comfort leggings you’ll want to wear every day. Designed and produced in Los Angeles, AMVI works only with local vendors to avoid traditional retail markups, and to help support jobs and the US economy, a core value that we love and admire.

Shop AMVI Online


Imogene + Willie

Based In | Nashville, TN
Best For | Signature denim
Product Range | Jeans, textiles, jewelry
Price Range | $50-$350

Friends for 20 years and ultimately lifelong partners, Matt and Carrie Eddmenson yearned to make long-lasting denim right here in the states. Imogene + Willie first started through one email campaign to friends and family with the hopes of selling 250 pairs in 2009, and now they are a staple in the USA-made denim industry. Their rich coloring, tailored fits, and woodsy inspiration make each pair of jeans a piece of signature denim you’ll cherish forever. (Not into denim? I+W also sells everything from towels to toothbrushes in their “Objects” section!)

Shop Imogene + Willie Online


Reformation

Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Bridal wear
Product Range | Dresses, bridal wear, outerwear, jumpsuits
Price Range | $98-$278 {Bridal wear ranges from $198-$588}

Sustainability is something we should all care about when it comes to our clothes, and Reformation makes sure each of their pieces are as sustainable as possible. Created in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, they design and manufacture limited-edition collections in their own sewing factory in downtown Los Angeles. This B Corp utilizes a heat reflecting roof, sources renewable energy, has recycled hangers in their stores, and uses 100% recycled packaging for every order shipped. Their lacy dresses, sheer tops, and statement skirts will be sure to turn heads no matter where you go. They also carry a bridal wear collection with the most elegant dresses we’ve ever seen, which will flow perfectly when you’re walking down the aisle. Fashion has never looked or felt better.

Shop Reformation Online


Buck Mason

Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Effortless style, minimum-decision apparel
Product Range | Henleys, pants, classic tees, belts
Price Range | $25-$175

Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn began Buck Mason, in an effort to craft designs that would be timeless, durable, and true-to-character for the everyday American man. From sand chinos ideal for the workday, to their rockstar-inspired dark wash jeans, this look is perfect for the guy who wants to look good without too much effort. They even offer pre-made packages of well-matched tops and bottoms to try, ideal for effortless style and you only pay for what you keep. Using cotton from North Carolina and produced in Los Angeles, they provide a step-by-step look at the production process. You’ll always feel calm, cool, and collected in their apparel.

Shop Buck Mason Online


Grown & Sewn

Based In | New York City, NY
Best For | Pants
Product Range | Bottoms, boots, tops
Price Range | $50-$275

Former Men’s Design Director for Ralph Lauren, Rob Magness created Grown & Sewn as a tribute to American history and culture. They feature handmade pants, Thorogood boots, and knit v-necks that feel as broken in and comfortable as they do stylish. The painted patterns and patches are applied by hand by an artist, one at a time, so you know you’re wearing a one-of-a-kind straight from the USA every time. Their vintage and artisan pieces will only get better over time.

Shop Grown & Sewn Online


Welcome Stranger

Based In | San Francisco, CA
Best For | Rugged apparel
Product Range | Vests, pants, jackets, and shirts
Price Range | $55-$250

For the outdoorsy man in your life, Welcome Stranger produces apparel that is both rugged and stylish. Designed and crafted in San Francisco since 2010, their collection draws inspiration from nature, west of the Bay Area. For a more tailored fit, they also create handmade trousers, coats, and jackets. If you’re in the area, they have storefronts in San Francisco and Berkeley where you can try on their reversible coats, lined vests, knit caps, and ¾-sleeved shirts. Clothes so comfortable, you’ll never feel like a stranger in them.

Shop Welcome Stranger Online


Haspel

Based In | New Orleans, LA
Best For | Formalwear
Product Range | Trousers, Jackets, Suit Separates, Ties
Price Range | $135-$695

For over a century, Haspel has embodied Southern hospitality and charm through their wash-and-wear trousers, jackets, ties, and formalwear. From Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird, to President Calvin Coolidge, you’ve seen Haspel on every true gentleman since 1909, and we love the clean, simple aesthetic in every piece. Made exclusively in America, Haspel uses seersucker cloth that can withstand New Orleans heat and provide a stylish look for all.

Shop Haspel Online


Beyond Clothing

Based In | Seattle, WA
Best For | Outdoor wear
Product Range | Undergarments, pullovers, jackets
Price Range | $65-$335

If you spend more time in the great outdoors than anywhere else, Beyond Clothing has a custom wardrobe just for you. Their mission is to create durable apparel through a layering system, optimized for survival in temperatures from -40℉ to more moderate temps above 45℉. From design to creation, the entire process stays within the states, to ensure higher quality, more efficient production, and innovation. Whether you’re wearing their parka made for frigid conditions, or a simple pullover while hiking, we think you’ll be poised for comfort in any environment.

Shop Beyond Clothing Online


Flynn Skye

Based In | Venice Beach, CA
Best For | Boho chic
Product Range | Dresses, tops, jumpers, bottoms
Price Range | $85-$205

Inspired by her daughter’s free spirit, Amber Farr combined rockstar edginess and femininity for Flynn Skye. Their gorgeous, flowy, and light dresses are perfect for a day at the beach or a night out on the town. American-made in Venice Beach and Los Angeles, and inspired by cities like London, Tahoe, and Malibu, you’ll be able to rock this look for any event without having to think twice.

Shop Flynn Skye Online


Hackwith Design House

Based In | St. Paul, MN
Best For | One-of-a-kind staples
Product Range | Dresses, jumpers, jackets, plus sizes
Price Range | $85-$325

Looking for apparel that’s both comfortable and stylish can be tough, and finding unique designs is even tougher: that’s where Minnesota-based Hackwith Design House comes in. Their apparel lines include simple and clean basics, swim, and plus-size pieces, where everyone can find a piece they’ll wear forever. We most love their comfort capes and ultra-soft tunics. Plus, every Monday, they release a limited edition piece available for only a short time – if you’re looking for staple pieces that no one else will have, Hackwith Design House is for you!

Shop Hackwith Design House Online


Fibre Athletics

Based In | Chicago, IL
Best For | Workout gear
Product Range | Zip-up hoodies, tops/tees, hats
Price Range | $60-$149

If you’re always looking for the newest trend in clothes and love a good workout, Fibre Athletics may be your one-stop shop! Fibre Athletics aims to create apparel that comforts your lifestyle, shelters your body, and supports the world around us, through 100% organic and recycled fabrics. Their pieces are produced in the USA, where all employees earn living wages in safe working conditions. And, your impact is even bigger than in just the USA alone: with every purchase you make, they donate to environmental restoration and poverty alleviation projects around the globe.

Shop Fibre Athletics Online


Brook There

Based In | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Lingerie
Product Range | Undergarments, apparel, scarves, eye masks
Price Range | $32-$118

For your most intimate moments, you’ll love Brook There. They sort lingerie by size, price, and ethics. Want vegan-made undergarments? Want a pair of undies cut and sewn in Maine? How about a US-milled organic cotton slip? You’ll find everything you’ve ever wanted here, and we love their wireless bras and breathable chemises. Since 2007, designer Brook DeLorme has prioritized comfort and health in each of these pieces handmade in Portland, Maine. Feeling comfortable in your own skin will be effortlessly easy.

Shop Brooke There Online

About The Good Trade

Launched in Los Angeles in 2014 as a community for ethically-minded consumers, The Good Trade is an online publication featuring brands, products & ideas creating positive social change. 

The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea consumers are collectively powerful and capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences and lifestyle choices.

Our team envisions a world where ethically minded consumers vote with their everyday purchases for a world that is sustainable and free from forced labor.


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18
Jan
16

Made in USA Clothing via Internet

Over the past couple of years, I have bought various clothing items, made in America, through companies that sell only through the Internet. I wanted to highlight some of those companies. All of them are high quality products, designed to last for years.

Poppy Von Frohlich – Poppy Von Frolich makes clothing for women. There is a limited number of clothing made for each style and it is almost made to measure. Coats, blouses.

Poppy Von Frolich

Poppy Von Frohlich Red Flannel top

Illuminite – This company makes active wear that reflects light at the night. They make shorts, pants, shirts, long sleeved shirts and jackets, not all are made in the USA.

IllumiNite Portland Cycling Jacket

IllumiNite Portland Cycling Jacket

American Giant – American Giant makes sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, sweat pants and some of the best T shirts that have ever been made. Made for both men and women.

American Giant Essential Pullover

American Giant Essential Pullover

Oliver’s Apparel – Oliver’s started as a Kickstarter project to make activewear shorts for men, they still make these, but, since then, they have added lines such as underwear, active wear pants, and merino pullovers. Only for men.

Oliver's Apparel Boxer briefs

Oliver’s Apparel Boxer briefs

Robeworks – Robeworks makes bathrobes for both men and women. There are multiple styles, even hooded robes.

Robeworks LJ500 Luxury hooded Robe

Robeworks LJ500 Luxury hooded Robe

R. Riveter – R. Riveter started as a Kickstarter project. Military spouses make pouches, purses and handbags out of military remnants.

R. Riveter Bags

R. Riveter Bags

Stock Manufacturing Company – Stock started as a Kickstarter project. It has successfully expanded from just men’s shirts to jackets, pants, sweat shorts, T-shirts, flight pants, sweat pants, ties and several other accessories.

Stock Mfg Company M65 Jacket

Stock Mfg Company M65 Jacket

Hucklebury – Hucklebury started as a Kickstarter project. Hucklebury makes premium dress shirts for around $80. All made in the USA.

Hucklebury Washington Navy Blue Stripes

Hucklebury Washington Navy Blue Stripes

Alamere – Alamere, previously POP Outerwear makes outerwear for both men and women – all made in San Francisco, CA.

Alamere Paige Sotshell Jacket

Alamere Paige Sotshell Jacket

KNO Clothing – KNO Clothing started as a Kickstarter project producing  T-shirts for ethical and socially responsible reasons. KNO, now, makes more than T-shirts and tanks, but also Hoodies and dresses.

KNO Clothing T Shirt

KNO Clothing T Shirt

Footskins – Footskins makes boots, moccasins and deerskin slippers for both mean and women.

Footskins sheepskin slippers

Footskins sheepskin slippers

 

Honorable Mention

Before + Again Ladies clothing by different designers, tops, dresses, skirts. Great selection.

Begin and Again Sonya Orange Dress

Before and Again Sonya Orange Dress

Mortal Trend – Mortal Trend started as a Kickstarter Project. They make quality tops and pullovers for men.

Mortal Trend Clyde Pullover

Mortal Trend Clyde Pullover

05
Oct
15

Men’s Polos: Made in the USA | American Giant

American Giant Polos

One of the most successful U.S. garment manufacturers who only sells directly to consumers, American Giant, now, has started producing very reasonably priced, high-quality, 100% cotton polo shirts for men made in the USA.

American Giant Polo Cadet Blue

American Giant Polo
Cadet Blue

The polo shirts come in five different colors: cadet blue, black, iron, duffel and navy.

American Giant Polo Black

American Giant Polo
Black

American Giant started a few years ago by offering only sweatshirts: pullover, zip, hoodies. Now, AG also offers sweatpants, T- shirt, and shorts. Just recently American Giant has started manufacturing garments for women as well: Sweatshirts, T-shirts and sweatpants.

American Giant Sweatshirt Strawberry

American Giant
Sweatshirt Strawberry

Source: Men’s Polos: Made in the USA | American Giant

American Giant Jogger (for Women)

American Giant
Jogger (for Women)

American Giant not only assembles all of its garments in the U.S.A. It also receives all of its cotton from North Carolina.

For the Polos made by American Giant click the link.

American Giant also has a Facebook Page.

Buy American, keep your neighbor employed.

01
Jul
15

Fourth of July Apparel

Independence Day is just around the corner. Here are a few ideas for the Fourth of July, items all made in the USA.

Classics Floral American Flag Cropped Top

Classics Floral American Flag Cropped Top

 

The above picture is from Love The Classics.

 

July 4th T shirt from American Giant

July 4th T shirt from American Giant

The above picture is from American Giant.

Chaser American Flaf T shirt from Nordstroms

Chaser American Flag T shirt from Nordstroms

Don’t forget to check out Nordstroms.

American Flag Thong by Bodyzone Apparel

American Flag Thong by Bodyzone Apparel

This thong can be bought through Amazon.com, suit by Bodyzone apparel.

Fleece jackets by Fleece corner

Fleece jackets by Fleece corner

Then there is the Elvis look – a fleece jacket with the American Flag and USA on it. It looks like it was made somewhere else, but no, it is made here in the USA by Fleece corner. Buy American for this Fourth of July.

26
Feb
15

American Giant – All Made in the USA

American Giant Guns For Gap By Doubling Down On The USA | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Here is the latest article about American clothing manufacturing company, American Giant. This is from the magazine ‘Fast Company’ – highlighting the most innovative companies for 2015, Fast Company looks at the company American Giant, a San Francisco based company, who has moved their manufacturing base from San Francisco to the Carolinas, in order to be close to the homegrown cotton. Thanks to the Alliance for American Manufacturing for highlighting this story. I have highlighted the American Giant company several times before, like ‘American Giant: A new Business Model‘ and ‘Sweatshirts Made in USA‘ but this newest article: ‘American Giant Guns For Gap By Doubling Down On the USA’ is a very good update and quite detailed. America Giant has expanded from just sweatshirts, they also offer T-shirts, graphic shirts, polos, sweatpants and shorts – in limited quantities.

 

American Giant Sweatshirts

American Giant Sweatshirts

 

American Giant Guns For Gap By Doubling Down On The USA

For breathing new life into U.S. apparel manufacturing.

During the autumn harvest season of 2013, a white-haired cotton farmer named Jerry Hamill received a gift in the mail: a hooded sweatshirt. Normally, he wouldn’t have thought much of that—sweat clothes aren’t an important part of his ­wardrobe—but this looked like a different class of garment. It was a rich navy blue and made of heavy cotton, with a sturdy metal zipper running up the front, and made by a company called American Giant. Hamill hadn’t heard of it; he isn’t the kind of guy who looks at labels, and so wouldn’t know that Slate had dubbed the product he was holding “the greatest hoodie ever made.” But he sure liked the way it looked when he tried it on.

“Most sweatshirts, there ain’t much to ’em,” Hamill says, as he and I drive in his Ford pickup down a country road in North Carolina. “But this was a good sweatshirt.”

One year later, Hamill is eagerly showing the fruits of his harvest-in-process to Bayard ­Winthrop—American Giant’s CEO, and the guy who sent the present. American Giant is trying to refashion the apparel industry supply chain, which is why Winthrop, a rugged brand builder whose four-year-old company is based in San Francisco, is standing on the edge of a white-tufted field, discussing his business plan over the whir of a cotton picker. Over the past two years, Winthrop has moved the vast majority of his production line to the Carolinas. Exaggerating only slightly, the salesman tells the farmer, “All of our output is coming from a 180-mile area.”

American Giant is not yet a household name in the apparel market, like Levi’s or Gap, but Winthrop has outsize ideas about its future. He doesn’t just want to sell hoodies, ­T-shirts, and polos; he wants to prove that American manufacturing can be profitable again, reversing a devastating economic trend. No U.S. manufacturing industry has suffered more from outsourcing than textiles and apparel: The domestic workforce has shrunk by roughly three-quarters since the 1990s. Winthrop is crafting an ­American-made resurgence, one that draws its power from both a heritage appeal and the Internet. American Giant is an e-commerce phenomenon: its clothes, sold only via the web, are comfortable, flattering, durable, and popular with a fanatical fan base. As a private company, American Giant declines to release sales figures, but Winthrop says its business has tripled each year since its launch in 2012. The company’s products routinely sell out and can be back-ordered for weeks. That’s why Winthrop is here in the Carolinas: American Giant is working to reengineer its back end, experimenting with a counterintuitive approach to making clothes—and creating American jobs in the process.

“Our bet is that eventually you begin to trust American Giant,” Winthrop tells me. “And say, ‘All right, these guys are product guys.'”

Winthrop talks like Bruce Springsteen one minute, Jeff Bezos the next. We first met a few months ago in Manhattan, over lunch at an appropriately old-time tavern. Winthrop has worked on Wall Street, in the San Francisco tech sector—he ran an early dotcom that was acquired by Infoseek, a popular search engine before Google came along—and in various retail niches, making products like snowshoes and messenger bags. But neither he nor his COO, Kent Kendall, had any prior experience in fashion design. The pair had a friendship that dated back to private grade school in wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut—Winthrop’s family traces its lineage to a governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, while Ken­dall’s father, Don, is a former CEO of Pepsi—and they later worked together at a skateboard company. Their experiences eventually led them to some blunt conclusions about the retail business. Winthrop has put them into a slim new book he’s titled, characteristically, I F**king Love That Company.

“The dirty secret of the apparel industry is that shirt that you bought at Nordstrom for $80 gets made for six or seven bucks,” Winthrop says, reaching across the table to feel the thin fabric of my collar. “The rest of the margin is chewed up by a whole bunch of shit that I would argue the customer cares less and less about.” For brands that Winthrop aspires to compete with, like the Gap, much of the sales margin pays for real estate and staff.

Winthrop founded American Giant with seed funding from Kendall’s father, and hired another friend, a former Apple product designer named Philipe Manoux, as the startup’s first creative director. Manoux had worked on projects such as the iPhone’s touch screen, but he, too, knew little about clothing design. Winthrop gave him an engineering mission. “There was a trend toward basic, simply executed, but really high-end,” Manoux says. “That was the environment in San Francisco; these small restaurants were opening up with really small menus, doing two or three things really well, and we wanted to be part of that.”

Given its birthplace, it was only fitting that American Giant chose to start by disrupting the hoodie, the tech world’s signature fashion statement. “Sweatshirts were iconically American,” Winthrop says, “and had been left to go to shit.” Winthrop and Manoux started their design phase by going on shopping expeditions, buying up clothes at thrift stores to rip apart and reverse-engineer. They especially liked the “hand feel” of vintage cotton: dry to the touch, in contrast to the slick texture of newer synthetic blends. Manoux paid a great deal of attention to the question of fit, producing a prototype that was tough on the outside and soft on the inside, with a band that clung to the waist and side panels that would stretch to accommodate larger bellies. He fixated on details like the interior material of the hood, because it was visible much of the time, and the little metal aglets that sheath the ends of the drawstring.

The prototype was beautiful, but American Giant soon ran into a problem: It wasn’t easy to mass-produce reliably. Winthrop tried to source fabric from a factory in India, but it was difficult to explain his organic concept across the culture barrier. “Our ability to control the quality was really crappy,” he says. That’s when Winthrop started looking to the South, to see if American Giant could actually be produced in America.


180 miles: Most of American Giant’s production process—harvesting the cotton, then knitting, dyeing, napping, rolling, cutting, and sewing it—takes place within a few hours’ drive in North and South Carolina.

“It’s a long process from me to the clothes on your back,” Hamill tells Winthrop. The square-jawed Winthrop, wearing a black American Giant T-shirt, a navy American Giant hoodie, and blue jeans, watches as the harvested cotton is dumped into a tub as large as a truck trailer, where it’s compressed into giant cubes. The cubes will be transported to a wheezing cotton gin in the nearby town of Enfield, North Carolina, to be de-seeded, baled, and shipped. (Raw cotton is traded on global commodities markets.) The largest domestic cotton buyer, North Carolina–based Parkdale Mills, is also in American Giant’s supply chain. Parkdale processes bales into “sliver” that is spun into yarn by enormous robotic machines, which have replaced much of the company’s human workforce. The yarn is then knitted into rolls of fabric, which end up at Carolina Cotton Works, a company in Gaffney, South Carolina.

Winthrop first met Carolina Cotton Works’ owners, the Ashby family, when he was exploring his supply chain options. “The garment was special,” says Bryan Ashby, the company’s VP and sales chief. Winthrop was different from his usual customer, who Ashby says is typically “run and gun and ton.” Still, he was dubious. “I said, ‘I hear what you’re saying,’ ” Ashby recalls. “ ‘But I’m afraid the sticker shock is going to send you back to San Francisco.’ ” And initially, it did. But after a few shipments of lackluster Indian fabric, Winthrop came back and signed a deal with Carolina Cotton Works.

On a recent morning, the three Ashbys—Bryan; his brother, Hunter; and their father, Page—take Winthrop to see what’s happening to his products inside their dyeing and finishing plant. Bolts of natural cloth, or “greige,” are piled into bins in preparation for the dyeing process. Winthrop translates the technical jargon of apparel manufacturing with colloquial, precise enthusiasm. Picking up one piece of greige, he tells me to look closely at its knit. “The tightness of the weave is here in these loops,” he says. Batch by batch, the greige is loaded into huge, dripping dyeing machines, where it’s spun around at high temperature. Fabric emerges, soaking wet, in a hue that American Giant calls phantom gray. It’s then stretched flat and run through a drying mechanism, which works like a bagel toaster, and finally loaded onto a machine called the napper.

“This is violent,” Bryan says. The gray fabric rolls over a cylinder that is studded with thousands of tiny, rapidly moving needles, which rip up the loops on one side, turning it fluffy.

Page Ashby says that doing business with American Giant required a leap of faith. If a startup fashion label fails, its suppliers can get stiffed. But he says he was won over by Winthrop’s earnest embrace of two magic words: American made. “If you live here, and have been in this business and have seen what has happened to it,” Page says, “when you hear those words, you have to be interested.” Over his 40 years in textiles, the once-powerful local industry has contracted dramatically, as many factories closed or moved overseas. Since joining forces with American Giant, the Ashbys’ company is prospering—and expanding and upgrading to keep pace.

Winthrop says the numbers work on his end, too. Though finely made, American Giant’s most expensive hoodie costs $89, a middle-market price. (A Gap hoodie costs $50, and one from fashion designer John Varvatos goes up to $398.) He estimates that it costs about $38 to manufacture, and could be made around $7 cheaper in Asia. He saves a little money by using American fabric. Though American labor is still more expensive, tariffs and rising costs in India and China have made domestic ­manufacturing more competitive, a trend that has allowed the American textile industry to rebound modestly. American Giant isn’t the only manufacturer who has noticed; one Chinese yarn-maker is even opening a plant in South Carolina.

American Giant offsets the costs of domestic manufacturing in a number of ways. The Internet doesn’t just offer a sales-and-distribution platform, Winthrop argues, but the opportunity to forge fresh relationships between brands and consumers. He says successful brands of the future will be “humanizers,” who instead of growth put “love at their core,” a concept he illustrates in his book with a big pink heart.

He tightly manages inventory, another major apparel-industry cost. Instead of churning out many seasonal styles, some of which inevitably end up on the clearance rack, the company limits its product lines to a relative handful of garments with perennial appeal.

Most notably, perhaps, Winthrop forgoes advertising. He’s quick to criticize his competitors who he says waste a lot of money on marketing, paying for things that don’t benefit the consumer, like Super Bowl ads, while chipping away at the quality of their products. Winthrop says workmanship should sell itself.

Of course, Winthrop’s critique of marketing is itself marketing. While it doesn’t buy ads, American Giant puts a great deal of effort into spreading the word through social networks, cultivating relationships with celebrities such as Bruce Willis and Michael Rapaport. (Although American Giant introduced a women’s line in 2013, it is still very much about the bros.) Sometimes this can work too well: “We’re living in a time when one tweet from Ashton Kutcher means thousands of American Giant sweatshirts that I wasn’t expecting to sell,” Winthrop says. (To be clear, that hasn’t happened—yet.)

It’s a far different model from traditional brick-and-mortar brands, which can get bogged down by poor quality, bloated seasonal lines, and excessive ad budgets—all of which Winthrop calls a “death spiral of bad choices” in his book. After we finish up with the Ashbys, Winthrop and I drive a couple of hours north to see the factory where his fabric is cut and sewn into clothing. On the outskirts of Raleigh, we pass a mall anchored by Belk, a department store chain. “Belk’s—how much longer are they going to be around?” Winthrop wonders aloud. “Barnes and Noble? See you later. Best Buy? See you later.”


To consumers, American Giant may look like an e-commerce company, but on the back end it’s a traditional manufacturer: Every click of the buy button means more fabric, more stitching, and more work in the one-stoplight town of Middlesex, North Carolina. “Two years ago, it was fucking downtrodden,” Winthrop says as we drive past double-wides and wood-frame houses with collapsed porches. On the roadside in front of Eagle Sportswear, however, there’s a sign that reads we’re growing, seeking “experienced sewing machine operators.” Every parking space outside the corrugated metal factory building is filled; we find a spot in the new overflow lot next door.

“When you run out of parking spots, you really know something good is going on,” says Brian Morrell, the company’s thin, bespectacled general manager. Inside the factory, rows of women, mostly black or Latina, work amid piles of sleeves, hoods, panels, and pockets. Sewing an American Giant sweatshirt involves 30 separate steps, maybe three or four times as many as a mass-market competitor might require. “In our business,” Morrell explains, “every stitch, every line, every seam is money.”

Morrell comes from a sweatshirt family— his father was the director of manufacturing at Champion—and he tells me that for the past couple of decades, he only had to answer one type of question from clothing brands. “This stitch, this detail: Is this needed, and why?” he says. “How can we increase the margins and keep the prices the same?”

Like the Ashbys, Morrell didn’t quite know what to make of Winthrop when he first walked through the door. “I looked at the product and loved the product and said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ ” he recalls. Morrell didn’t think there was any way American Giant could possibly turn a profit. But Winthrop is a convincing pitchman. “This is a very different approach,” Morrell says. “It’s really kind of a change of the DNA.”

The main reason it costs more to make a hoodie in America than in Asia is hourly wages. Every stitch is money because every stitch takes time. To save time without sacrificing stitches, Winthrop has been pressing for greater efficiency in the manufacturing process. This not only saves on production costs but also will allow him to better control his inventory, so he can respond nimbly to events like Acts of Kutcher and better manage the growing demand for his merchandise. So American Giant recently brought in an outside consultant to help Morrell’s factory institute a concept called Team Sew.

Traditional garment manufacturing works like this: A worker sits at a sewing machine all day long, making the same seam over and over. When she fills up a bin, someone comes along and moves the batch to the next seamstress, who adds on her piece, a process that continues until the garments are complete. Because some operations take more time than others—and people work at different paces—garments naturally tend to pile up. Seamstresses spend roughly 80% of their time performing tasks other than stitching.

In the Team Sew approach, adapted from Toyota’s manufacturing process, the seamstresses work on their feet, performing multiple operations and collaborating on the fly. “This is like an elegant dance,” Winthrop says. Actually, a more apt Tarheel metaphor came to my mind: If the old system looked like basketball’s four-corners offense, plodding and methodical, Team Sew resembles Phil Jackson’s fluid triangle system. The seamstresses, wearing beige American Giant branded aprons, move along a horseshoe-shaped bank of workstations, seemingly in constant motion. When one falls behind on an operation, a teammate comes over to help her catch up. Above the team, a scoreboard displays how many items they complete and how that compares to efficiency targets.

Team Sew is still in the implementation phase; most of the workers in the factory when Winthrop and I visit are still using the old approach. But Morrell says that the results have been encouraging: Each worker produced roughly 60% more than before, and some of the factory’s savings have gone back into performance bonuses.

Morrell confesses that he wasn’t sure how Team Sew would go over at the factory. A kinetic eight-hour shift is exhausting, and a consultant hired to institute the change tells me that it takes workers three weeks to adapt to working on their feet. But with the bonuses, Winthrop says Team Sew workers are “now averaging north of $13 an hour,” almost twice North Carolina’s minimum wage of $7.25. Morrell says there are plenty of new volunteers for training. “Everybody who reads the news,” he says, “knows that change has to happen for us to survive.”


At the end of a Team Sew assembly line, worker Adela Villa performs the last step in manufacturing a gray American Giant hoodie. She uses a metal rod to insert the drawstring, and does a final inspection, trimming errant threads with a tiny pair of scissors. Then she folds the finished product and places it in a plastic bag for shipping.

A few weeks earlier, I had received an identical sweatshirt in the mail. Without knowing the story behind its design, or the complex mechanics of its construction, I opened it up and tried it on. It fit. Since then, I’ve had similar success with American Giant T-shirts and polo shirts. Amazingly, my wife even complimented the cut of a pair of American Giant sweatpants. I’m not a locavore. I’m not a foe of globalization. I’ve never known where my clothes come from, and I don’t really care. I just like things that look good and feel good on my body.

There’s a definite gloss of salesmanship to Winthrop’s “made in America” talk. It’d be easy to be cynical if not for this undeniable fact: American Giant delivers the goods. Like most everyone else Winthrop encountered along his supply chain, I approached the world’s greatest hoodie skeptically. But American Giant sold me on the merits.

“If you can do that,” Winthrop tells me as we drive through rural North Carolina, “you can build a brand that can put a bull’s-eye on Levi’s.”

American Giant Production Process

[Photos: McNair Evans]

20
May
14

Outerwear Made in the USA

Outerwear is defined by clothing that one wears outdoors, such as coats, jackets, windbreakers, outdoor vests, outdoor sweaters and hoodies. I was asked a couple of weeks ago, where one can find outerwear made in the USA. That was a good question and it took a little bit of research. So, I decided to list a few companies by alphabetical order accompanied by some photos.

Aether

Aether is a company that specializes in outdoor wear, however only a small amount is Made in the USA.

Aether Flatlands Hoodie

Aether Flatlands Hoodie

 

Aether Andorak (Canada)

Aether Andorak
(Canada)

 

All American Clothing

All American Clothing is an internet clothing company that makes all of its clothing in the USA. All American Clothing also carries some USA makers like Carhartt.

All American Clothing Cumberland Duck Jacket

All American Clothing
Cumberland Duck Jacket

 

 

All American Clothing Darby fleece jacket

All American Clothing
Darby fleece jacket

All American Clothing Fairview Polyester Pullover

All American Clothing
Fairview Polyester Pullover

 

American Apparel

American Apparel is a large company with numerous stores across the USA. All clothing is made in Los Angeles. If you can’t find something, made in the USA, this is often your best choice.

American Apparel Houndstooth Flex Jacket

American Apparel
Houndstooth Flex fleece Jacket

American Apparel Petite Unisex Long Wool Coat

American Apparel
Petite Unisex Long Wool Coat

American Apparel Fleece Lined Parka

American Apparel
Fleece Lined Parka

 

American Giant

American Giant is an internet company that specializes in sweatshirts, based in San Francisco.

American Giant Full zip mock neck sewatshirt

American Giant
Full zip mock neck sweattshirt

 

American Giant Varsity Jacket

American Giant
Varsity Jacket

 

 

 

Ball and Buck

Ball and Buck is an internet company which just opened a brick and mortar store in Boston. Ball and Buck specializes in hunting clothing. All clothing is made in the USA.

Ball and Buck Premium Rain Jacket

Ball and Buck
Premium Rain Jacket

Bills Khakis

Bills Khakis is an internet clothing company that probably has one of the most extensive selection of any Made in USA collection.

Bills Khakis Quarter Zip Vest

Bills Khakis
Quarter Zip Vest

Bills Khakis Reversible Windbreaker

Bills Khakis
Reversible Windbreaker

Empire Wool and Canvas

Empire Wool and Canvas is an internet only company. They specialize in outdoor wear. Everything is made in the USA, however, there is a limited selection.

Empire Permafrost Parka

Empire Permafrost Parka

 

Filson

Filson has been making outerwear since 1897. All made in Washington.

Filson Wool Packer Coat

Filson Wool Packer Coat

 

Filson Mackinaw Cruiser

Filson Mackinaw Cruiser

 

Guideboat Company

Guideboat Company is an internet store with an eclectic mix of clothing and outerwear made in USA, France, Sweden and England. there are some Chinese made items as well. This is a fun website.

Whisper Nylon Vest

Whisper Nylon Vest

 

Waxwear A-Line Coat

Waxwear A-Line Coat

Seattle Clipper

Seattle Clipper

 

Hickorees

Hickorees is an internet only store. There are many brands of U.S. made clothing, that are hard to find otherwise.

Battenwear Windstopper Jacket

Battenwear Windstopper Jacket

Dehen 1920 Cadet Jacket

Dehen 1920 Cadet Jacket

Nordstroms

Nordstroms, as you know, is one of the large department store chains. It is one of the best in finding “Made in USA” clothing in regards to all of the department stores, but it is still only about 2% of all of their clothing. The link sends you to Made in USA outerwear which has brands like Myra Pac, Rag and Bone, Band of Outsiders, Remy and Laundry.

Orvis

Orvis is a store specializing in outdoor gear and clothing. Only a small amount of clothing is made in the USA, but it is of excellent quality.

Orvis Naval Wool Peacoat

Orvis Naval Wool Peacoat

Orvis Reversible Lineman Jacket

Orvis Reversible Lineman Jacket

Pendleton Portland Collection

Pendleton Portland Collection is a long standing apparel manufacturer, the Portland Collection is mainly made in the USA.

Pendleton Portland Collection Reversible Oregon Dunes Silk Windbreaker

Pendleton Portland Collection Reversible Oregon Dunes Silk Windbreaker

Pendleton Portland Collection Alder Springs Parka

Pendleton Portland Collection Alder Springs Parka

 

Pop Outerwear

Pop Outerwear is an internet company in San Francisco that specializes in outerwear. They were featured on my blog in March, 2014.

 

Pop Women's Full Zip Fleece

Pop Women’s Full Zip Fleece

Poppy Von Frohlich

Poppy Von Frohlich is an internet company only, based in San Francisco. Limited editions.

PVF Lumbar Jane in Steel Blue Canvas

PVF Lumbar Jane in Steel Blue Canvas

REMY

Remy makes leather coats all in the USA. They are excellent coats, superb quality and great designs. They are found only in brick and mortar stores, like Nordstroms.

Remy Glam Charcoal

Remy Glam Charcoal

Remy Peat Noir

Remy Peat Noir

Shop Union USA

Shop Union USA is an internet only company that makes apparel. Their selection of outerwear is fantastic and the prices are incredible reasonable. They have vests, pullovers windbreakers, jackets and coats.

Shopunionusa Microfiber windshirt Pullover

Shopunionusa Microfiber windshirt Pullover

Steamhorse Dry Goods

Steamhorse Dry Goods is an internet only company that specializes in workwear. Everything is made in the USA. See my recent article about Steamhorse Dry Goods.

Steam Horse Sawmill Paul Wool Sweater

Steam Horse Sawmill Paul Wool Sweater

 

Stock Manufacturing Company

Stock Manufacturing Company is an internet company that specializes in men’s clothing. Everything is made in Chicago. Stock Manufacturing Co. was a former Kickstarter project.

Stock Mfg Nylon Trench Coat

Stock Mfg Nylon Trench Coat

 

 

St. Croix

St. Croix is an upper end men’s clothing line found in brick and mortar stores. All of their sweaters are made in the USA.

St. Croix Summer Wool Lite Sweater

St. Croix Summer Wool Lite Sweater

Taylor Stitch

Taylor Stitch makes clothing for both men and women. They are based out of San Francisco, found in brick and mortar stores. They have one store in San Francisco. All clothing is made in California.

Taylor Stitch Olive Telegraph Jacket

Taylor Stitch Olive Telegraph Jacket

Triple Aught Design

Triple Aught Design is a company specializing in outdoor gear. Based out of San Francisco. They have one store in San Francisco.

Triple Aught Design Ranger Jacket

Triple Aught Design Ranger Jacket

Triple Aught Design Pathfinder Jacket

Triple Aught Design Pathfinder Jacket

 

Conclusion

There is lots of outerwear out there made in the USA, but it does take some effort. I hope this is helpful. Happy hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

12
Mar
13

Clothing Companies Try to Sell Directly to Consumers – Some Made in the USA

Clothing Companies Try to Sell Directly to Consumers – NYTimes.com. This article was originally published in the New York Times on March 6, 2013. I saw it in my local paper, The Mercury News, on March 10, 2013. This article is about how clothing companies are trying to directly market their clothing to the consumer. Because internet shopping is getting larger and the profits by going through department stores are dwindling, some companies like Pop Outerwear and American Giant sell directly to consumers online.

Although profits can be much higher by direct selling, the problem is getting name recognition which can be very difficult. Word of mouth can be very slow. One success story is American Giant. AG has done a good job with marketing from the start, but it didn’t really become a gigantic success until ABC News ran its Christmas Special on December 12, 2012, regarding products made in the USA. Since that time, American Giant has been sold out of everything and currently, there is a three month wait for anything that is ordered. So luck, talent and marketing can make it happen.

Of the companies listed in the article, only a few of them are US made. American Giant, at this time, is 100% American made. Pop Outerwear makes a few items made in the USA – The Fleece sweaters. And Bonobos makes Premium jeans made in the USA.




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