As men’s wear and the “Made in America” label experience simultaneous surges in growth and popularity, it’s natural the two would meet. During the Fairchild Fashion Media summit on men’s wear this week, several executives of high-end men’s labels spoke to the importance of the relationship between the two.
As it turns out, men’s labels are embracing manufacturing at home at the same time that the practice provides a range of benefits, both consumer-facing and internally. Among the reasons cited to keep production local:
- Maurizio Donadi, CEO of Filson, admits manufacturing here is more expensive, but for his 116-year-old American brand, it’s absolutely necessary for consistency with what the heritage label stands for.
- Likewise for the much newer, New York-based Freeman’s Sporting Club, American production is merely in line with the brand’s vision.
- Billy Reid founded his eponymous label by manufacturing all the clothing in Alabama, and simply kept production domestic as the brand grew, partly as an effort to keep jobs in the U.S.
- Both Filson and Freeman’s cited value as a reason for domestic manufacturing, with Donadi pointing to the inherent value of social responsibility and healthy American companies, and Freeman’s co-owner, Kent Kilroe, noting that consumers are now seeking out this kind of practice when they shop. (And thus, it has inherent value if it’s driving actual purchases.)
- Of course, manufacturing at home also allows brands more flexibility, as their designs can end up in store within six weeks rather than six months (were they to be produced in Asia).
Last but not least, “Made in America” holds appeal beyond the U.S. — Reid pointed out that the label plays well here, but it also has relevance in overseas markets. With a foreign advantage, the practice domestic production should continue to grow.