Jun 8, 2015 2:57:00 PM / by Rachel Rodgers
There’s no doubt we live in a rigorous global economy. Yet if we dig deep, it’s hard to find the origin of anything. In the US, one question has been in the news consistently: where the heck does all our stuff come from? Especially in the technology and clothing industries, finding labels reading ‘Made in China’, is the norm. For millions of reasons, both financially and for the sheer size of the skilled workforce, countries in Asia and South East Asia have become the world’s industrial king.
Here at Classic Touch Embroidery we sell, embroider and screenprint clothes for our clients, usually small to mid-sized busnesses. Even in the custom apparel industry, with recognized wholesale companies like Gildan, Hanes and others, it’s hard even for us to find US-made products. If you cringe a little every time you see ‘Made in China,’ and want to do your part to rein in clothing manufacturing jobs in this country, you can! it just might take some digging.
With millions of marketing campaigns exaggerating what they want you to see, and hiding what they don’t, when you’re shopping, it’s easy to get fooled by clothes’ big tag, or graphic design’s professional branding.
For example, Indigo Rein Jeans, a clothing company for teens, prints on the back of their huge vintage-designed tag in bold letters, DESIGNED with LOVE in NYC. WORN with PRIDE in the USA. Yet the tag inside the jeans says in very small print: “Made in China.” This is definitely a marketing ploy aimed at fashion-conscious but naïve teenagers.
The baseball cap and clothing company, Apollo USA, includes the colors of the flag as their logo. Yet the tag on hats says that most are made in China, India or elsewhere.
And then there’s “Designed by Apple in California.” Of course Apple’s computer engineers, developers, and software designers are based in Silicon Valley, CA. But like many big tech and computer companies, including Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony, Dell, and Microsoft, the design and spec work is done in the US while manufacturers make products by the millions in cities with gigantic manufacturing complexes such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.
It’s a simple act of patriotism to trust that a U.S. military member’s clothing and uniform is 100% Made in the USA. In fact, it is legally required. A 1941 national law states that all pieces of US troops’ uniforms must be made in the US, but there is a loophole regarding shoes. The US government spends millions on running sneakers for military members, and most of them are just like the sneakers we citizens buy, from big companies that manufacture overseas, like Adidas and Nike. Though there’s a good option for change. New Balance sneakers are 100% Made in the USA, and they’ve expressed interest to supply the military in the future.
There are always products, like machinery, that are difficult to unravel. It just can’t be expected that the thousands of components inside a laptop, an SUV, construction or medical machinery could be made in one country. When it comes to machinery though, a good portion of the profit goes back to the location where it’s assembled. Many products say something like, ‘designed in the USA, of imported products,’ and it’s unclear where it’s assembled. For instance, my violin, of a German-based brand, reads on the tag, “Assembled by our partner workshop in China, this violin is inspected and adjusted in Ann Arbor, MI.” Both countries get a good deal in profit, though this case, since Michigan is the inspector and final retailer, they have more stake in the profit. As a general rule, Look for specific words like ‘made’ or “assembled in’. This is where the manufacturing salaries are going. Avoid ‘designed in.’
If you want to stick with USA-Made products, look for hidden clues. Read the un-designed sewn-in clothing tag, the black and white user’s manual, or the publisher’s fine print. In general, the more industrial the location of the “made in” declaration, the more likely that it’s was added to the product inside the factory: meaning in the same location where the product is actually built.
Classic Touch Embroidery is an embroidery, screen printing and silk screening service for all your business needs. We sell and customize clothing, uniforms, accessories and promotional products for you or your business. Founded in 1994, owner Debbie Duffield has been involved in the sewing industry for over 32 years. CTE believes in educating the client and she has a zeal for matching the right product to her client’s needs. Classic Touch Embroidery has over 2 million products a few clicks away and will find the essential product for you: visit us at Classictouchembroidery.com or call 856-381-5144.