Posts Tagged ‘Hlaska


Rumors…Hlaska bringing back Clothing

Rumors… – Inbox – ‘ Mail’. One of my great finds of Made in USA clothing last year was Hlaska, which had three stores. However, in January, they stopped making clothing and closed down the Santana Row store in San Jose, CA. However, there is great news, Hlaska is making clothing again, available in their San Francisco location on Fillmore. All of their clothing is made in America.


Clothing Made In USA: Santana Row stores

Main point – Determination of the percentage of made in USA clothing within Santana Row Stores.

I visited Santana Row with the purpose of mapping out all of the Santana Row clothing stores and take a rough estimate of American made clothes in each of the stores. It’s kind of like doing a Google Map of the stores. I plan on visiting a few other shopping centers, in order to accumulate enough data that the reader can look at the blog and see if this store has been reviewed and decide whether it is worth visiting, if your purpose is to find clothing made in the US.

Santana Row is San Jose’s high end complex of stores, restaurants and spas. It is located at the corner of Stevens Creek and Winchester. It has over 70 shops, 20 restaurants, 9 spas and salons, two wine bars, one tequila tasting bar, a theater and a hotel (Hotel Valencia). The narrow main road – Santana Row is three blocks long with the shops and restaurants along the sides. The speed limit is 5 MPH, many of the restaurants have street side dining, like in Europe, and it makes a great place for people watching. This place is so high end that it squeezed out the very popular Ben & Jerry’s (not renewing its lease), because it was not high end enough.

The following is a brief description of each store (in alphabetical order)

Ann Taylor Loft – Ladies wear, medium end. Large chain, found in multiple locations. 0% American made clothes.

Anthropologie – Mainly ladies wear, some non clothing items, medium end.  Large chain. <5% USA made.

BCBG Max Azaria – Ladies Wear, medium end. Large chain, multiple sites. 0% USA made.

Boutique Harajuku – Ladies Wear, medium end, Target age: 20 – 45.  One other store in San Francisco. Many clothes made in Italy, Portugal and Spain, but 0% USA.

Brooks Brothers – Majority Men, medium to upper end, Target age: 30 & up. Many dress shirts, and suits. Large chain. < 5% USA.

Burberry – Mens and Womens, upper end. Large chain. Couple of Raincoats made in England, rest made by Tunisia, etc. 0% USA.

Chico’s – Ladies Wear, medium end; Large chain. <2% made in America.

Diesel – Majority Mens’s wear, medium end; Large chain. 0% USA made.

Eli Thomas – Men’s Wear, medium to high end. Target age: 30 & up. Only store. Many dress shirts and suits. Many items from Italy. A great bet for business type clothing, < 5 % USA.

Franco Uomo – Men’s Wear, medium to high end. Target age: 30 & up. 2 other sites in South Bay. Also has San Francisco Shirt Co. shirts. Many Italian clothing items. Can tailor a shirt from scratch if you would like. <5% USA.

Free People – Ladies wear, Medium end. Target age 20 – 30. 40 other boutiques, part of Urban Outfitters. <5% USA made.

H & M – Men and Ladies wear, low – medium end.  Large chain. 0% USA

Hlaska – Men’s Wear, Medium to high end. Target 25 & up. Only three stores – San Francisco, Stanford and Santana Row. Started in San Francisco, clothes still made in San Francisco. 100% American made. A Must see.

Lucy – Ladies athletic wear. Medium end. Target all adult ages. Large Chain. < 2% USA made.

Lululemon Athletica – Athletic wear, women more than men. Medium end. Target age: all adults. Large Chain. 0% USA.

Orvis – Outdoor Wear. Medium end. Large chain. Despite internet advertising of “Made in America”, clothing is < 2% USA made.

Penelope Boutique – Ladies Wear. Medium to high end. Target age: 30 & up, except for Gowns. Individual store. Many gorgeous items of clothing from France and Italy. Few Canadian items. It is on the less traveled section of Santana Row- definitely worth a peek.  0% USA but < 5 % North American.

Pink Stripes- Ladies Wear. Medium end. Target age: 20 – 30. Not a chain. Many tops made in USA – 50% USA made. In the back, often they have different types of sweets.

San Francisco Shirt Company – Ladies Wear.Medium to high end. Target Age: 25 & up. Supposedly the shirts with the affixed label San Francisco Shirt Company are made in the USA, but no label actually says this. 5% USA made.

Smith Alder – Ladies Wear. Medium to high end. Target age: 30 & up. Individual store. Owner and daughter frequently in the shop most times. Specializes in smaller or lesser known labels, many tops, coats and sweaters made in Italy, Germany and some USA. Many items are one size fits most. Definitely worth a stop. 25% USA made.

Spazio – Ladies wear. Medium to high end. Target age: 25 & up. Only store in USA. Italian designer – all clothes made in Italy or Turkey. Pronounced Spaht – Zee-Oh. Great clothing. Bought a great dress for my wife. 0% USA.

St. Croix – Men’s Wear. Medium to high end. Target age: 30 and up. Small Chain. Many Italian and American clothing items. 25% USA made. Probably the greatest looking clothes around.

Ted Baker – Men’s wear. Medium end. Large chain. 0% USA made.

The Blues Jean Bar – Men and Ladies Wear. Medium end. Target 20 – 30. Small Chain 60% USA made.

Tommy Bahama – Men and Ladies Wear. Medium end. Large chain. < 2% USA made.

Urban Outfitters – Men and Ladies Wear. Medium end. Target age: 20 – 30. Large chain. Internet had advertised “Made in America”, 2% USA made.

Listing of Santana Row stores carrying USA made clothes (from highest to lowest)

  1. Hlaska – 100%
  2. The Blues Jean Bar – 60%
  3. Pink Stripes – 50%
  4. St. Croix – 25%
  5. Smith Alder – 25%
  6. Brooks Brother  < 5 % & European
  7. Eli Thomas  < 5 % & European
  8. Franco Uomo  < 5 % & European
  9. Penelope Boutique  < 5 % & European
  10. Anthropologie  < 5 %
  11. Free People  < 5 %
  12. San Francisco Shirt Company  < 5 %
  13. Orvis < 2 %
  14. Urban Outfitters < 2%
  15. Chico’s < 2%
  16. Lucy < 2 %
  17. Tommy Bahama < 2%

No American clothing but plenty of (OK) European clothing: Spazio, Boutique Harajuku

No American clothing but occasionally European clothing: Burberry, Ted Baker

Do not even bother: Ann Taylor Loft, BCBG Max Azria, Diesel, H & M, Lululemon Athletica. Really you probably do not need to bother for the less than 2% stores either if you are looking for American made clothes.

“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” – Coco Chanel


Favorite US Store #2 Michael Stars

About Us | Michael Stars.

Main point: Michael Stars makes clothing made in USA, medium priced, good quality, 80% of tops made in USA.

Who would have thought that Walnut Creek, CA would be the American made clothing mecca in Northern California? There are four stores within 200 feet of each other that have a higher percentage of clothing made in the USA than the usual (around 2%).  Second place would be in San Jose – the area from Santana Row and the Valley Fair Mall (Hlaska, 100% American, Blue Jean Bar and American Apparel, 100% American). In Walnut Creek, the first store is Nordstrom’s with maybe the best American made selection of all the Nordstrom’s in Northern California. They have a great selection of Alan Edmunds American made shoes. There is nearly an entire table of young adult made in USA T-shirts. There are other young adult shirts made in America. I did find one very interesting thing – an American made leather coat – made by Remy. The only reason I was at Nordstrom’s was for investigating, but when I came across that jacket I had to buy it, breaking my budget for the month. But I should be happy with it for many years to come. With regards to dress shirts, I was slightly disappointed, no American made shirts, just a few choices of Italian made shirts and slacks.

The second store was 7 for All Mankind. “7” is known for premium jeans made in the USA. The company started in Los Angeles in 2000 and sends its jeans to many of the upscale retail department stores. But they have recently started their own stores, they are in almost every major city now as well as in Europe. In visiting the store, it was actually fairly small. Jeans were about 70% of all the clothes in the store. Most of the jeans were American made. All the tops were foreign made.

The third store was True Religion. Like 7 for All Mankind, True Religion is also noted for making premium jeans made in the USA. They have many jeans in the upscale retail department stores and have their own stores in all the major cities in the US. It is a small store with the majority of its clothing – American made jeans.

But the real reason for writing this entry is Michael Stars. Michael Stars is a medium end clothes store for ladies.  Michael Stars is based in Los Angeles. It has 12 retail outlets: Scottsdale,AZ; Corte Madera, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Manhattan Beach, CA; Newport Beach, CA; Santa Monica, CA; 1233 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, CA; Destin, FL; Atlanta, GA, Las Vegas, NV; and E. Hampton, NY. The store in Walnut Creek has a great location, facing the street and is a little small square footage-wise. The target population is 20 – 50 year olds. The tops are mostly one size fits most. I would estimate the percentage of American made tops is 80%. The shorts and jeans are all foreign made. Customer service was more than adequate.

Overall, if you are looking for a good looking ladies American made top, reasonable priced, Michael Stars is highly recommended.

“So soon as a fashion is universal, it is out of date.” – Mare von Ebnder-Eschenbech


How to start shopping for U.S. Clothes

You may ask yourself, “Self, where can you find American made clothes?”  It is like a treasure hunt. I call it a quest. There a millions of items of clothes, and 98% of it is not made here. And then once you find these rarities then what? Just like in normal shopping, many questions need to be answered like: Do I like it? Does it fit? How about the price? To help you get started, you may want to use this blog to help find retail stores that are more likely to sell U.S. made clothing. And if you know any of these places yourself, if you could please share that information with us, we would be so very grateful. Or you can start like I did, and many others before me which is to “Random Shop”.

There are numerous types of shopping, bored shopping, pity shopping, social shopping, and wasting time shopping, etc. But when it comes to trying to find U.S. clothes to buy, I would classify shopping into the following types: Random – going to the usual stores, no specific items to look for, looking for something new or interesting or something at a very good price; Semi-Random – As above but going to places that have more U.S. inventory; Specific clothing directed: Looking for a certain type of clothing, shoes or accessories; Internet Directed shopping – Finding U.S. made clothes and using the directions to find the retail stores; Internet Shopping – finding U.S. Clothes and purchasing them on-line. I would recommend a combination of Specific clothing directed and Internet Directed shopping. I have a personal bias against Internet shopping because: 1)sizes are not always the same from company to company (and sometimes within the same company); 2) the picture does not do justice to the actual garment – the color or fabric may look nothing like the picture; 3) how does it actually fit? Baggy, Boxy, Too Long, Too short, Cut funny? and 4) the actual company – is it a PO Box?, does it have an actual store? What is the return policy? Are they worthy of trust? Unless you are too far away from an actual store, I would defer buying clothes on the internet – unless you don’t mind returning things. If you are anything like me, and it needs to go back, it, instead, usually sits in the procrastination pile.

Addendum 5/24/2012

On Internet shopping, although I still am a brick and mortar shopper and I do like to try clothes on to see if they fit, I find the Internet may be helpful in locating clothing made in the USA. First, find a department store that carries lots of US made clothes: Nordstroms> Nieman Marcus> Saks Fifth Avenue> Bloomingdales > Barney’s > Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Dillards>>Kohl’s, Walmart,Sears. Go to department store website. Under search: type:”men’s” or “women’s” and “pants” or “blouses” or “underwear”, etc, and “made in usa” and your search will bring up many of the items you may be looking for. Sak’s doesn’t have a “made in usa” search yet.

Getting Started

Before we start, if you are going to take shopping advice from me, you will have to know a little about my shopping habits, and then you can adjust them to your own needs. First, I am a man, so many of my comments are about looking for men’s clothes, but there are times that I specifically will mention ladies fashions/clothes. Second, I live in Northern California which is very urban with many retails stores nearby.  Third, I don’t mind shopping, meaning I don’t live to shop, but then it is not a drudge either. Fourth, I like nicer clothes, since I have gotten a little older. I don’t buy $8 shorts just because it is a bargain. And finally, I love a bargain. I hate to ever pay full retail – probably because I know how much it costs to make the garment, and who doesn’t love a bargain?

So, when I started my quest randomly, I started at the usual places – the discount stores – you know “Designer names at discount prices”  places: Ross, T.J. Maxx, Burlington, and Marshall’s.  I found almost nothing  American made. Thus far,  I have found one long sleeve shirt from Cohesive that I bought, and a young adult type T-shirt by English Laundry which I passed on, both at a Marshall’s. Out of 10 visits – one garment, poor odds. The next step were the Designer Outlet Stores – Polo, J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. – nothing.  The next step were the upper end department discount stores: Nordstrom’s Rack; Off Fifth Avenue; and Neiman Marcus Outlet.  Bingo. There is a much better chance of finding American made garments there,  I almost always find something each trip. I will go more into details about  these stores later. In conclusion, my advice would be to skip the cheap discount stores and start at the upper end department discount stores. Plus,  stores like American Apparel, Hlaska, and Mystyq, which we will review later. One tip for men, some of the easiest items that are American -made to find are Hawaiian shirts, socks, and Suit coats.

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” – Coco Chanel

December 2019
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