When my second grade teacher told my class to look at our neighbors' clothing label to see where their garment was from – I remember being shocked. Nearly everybody’s shirt or sweater was Made in China, or Taiwan or Vietnam. I couldn’t explain the emotion at the time, but a sincere loss in patriotism and confusion as to why my classmates and I would all be wearing other country’s clothes.
An unfortunate side effect of globalization is the fact that, in the United States, it has become cheaper to outsource the production of goods to overseas factories. Companies are still able to make a profit producing these goods overseas, but the quality too often gets compromised – and in the end the consumer loses.
"Made in America" is a label you may have seen more often in the past decade with the resurgence of companies and brands bringing back jobs and business to The States. In my eyes, the "Made in America" movement is very similar to the rise of vinyl records and physical magazines. In the digital and global world we now live in, there has been a wave of appreciation (and demand!) for quality.
Companies like Detroit-based Shinola have been at the forefront of this movement and proven that it’s possible (and profitable) to use domestic factories and be “Made in America.” The label guarantees the quality of the product, it commits to an investment in American jobs, denoting fair wages and conditions for the workers - that's why it's important.
Here at American Field, we celebrate these brands and companies that are investing back in America and strive to give them a platform to share their story and products.