“Made in America”: A New Reality?

Panelists

  • Pete Bauman, Senior VP, Burlington Worldwide / ITG
  • Joann Kim, Director, Johnny’s Fashion Studio
  • Tricia Carey, Business Development Manager, Lenzing USA
  • Michael Penner, CEO, Peds Legwear
  • Moderator: Arthur Friedman, Senior Editor, Textiles and Trade, WWD 

Video Discussion Questions 

  • How does “Made in the USA” fit into US textile and apparel companies’ overall business strategy today?
  • What measures have been taken by US textile and apparel companies to bring more production back to the US? Can any measures be linked to the restructuring strategies we discussed in the class?
  • What are the significant obstacles to bringing textile and apparel manufacturing back to the US?
  • Any other exciting points/buzzwords did you learn from the panel discussion?
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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

5 thoughts on ““Made in America”: A New Reality?”

  1. How does “Made in the USA” fit into US textile and apparel companies’ overall business strategy today?

    I think to a handful of Americans, purchasing products that have tags printed with “Made in the USA” is very important. Consumers like to be patrons of companies/brands that they have a personal connection to and believe in the brands overall view. I know US textile and apparel companies work hard to please consumers and knowing that there is a desire to see the “Made in the USA”, it would be strategic for companies to do so. But it is not just about putting it on the tag; it is about creating and producing these products in the US. Citizens of the U.S. take pride in being American and seeing the “Made in the USA” is heartwarming and exciting for most.

  2. While many Americans clearly state that they would support manufacturing within our country this is not something that comes to mind while being in the position of purchasing. Likewise, brands and businesses all have interest in bringing more opportunity to our country, however, it is a business ideal. This is not something that can be easily attained by customers nor producers. The fashion industry is ever changing, therefore needs to be fast pace. This is something that can not be achieved in the same manner as it is abroad. Likewise, the decrease in price is not a main but significant factor in this situation. Business want to turn as much of a profit as possible while consumers need the lowest prices they can get. If this was disturbed the effects would not be complimentary to anyone involved in the US market. For these reasons “Made in the USA” is something that is appealing and prideful to our nationalistic society, however, not by any means practical considering the nature of this highly competitive industry.

  3. How does “Made in the USA” fit into US textile and apparel companies’ overall business strategy today?

    According to the video, there is a slow gradual resurgence in companies coming back to the US platforms. This is because their customers are more interested in the ecological impact and the fact that buying in the US helps to lower the carbon footprint of everything they consume. The younger customers are also interested in “Made in the US” because of the quick response it provides. Americans are also becoming more anymore concerned with the fact that buying clothes from outside the US takes away jobs from fellow Americans, so “Made in America” is more appealing to them today. US textile and apparel companies should now focus on trying to move production back to America to appeal to their customers and to also follow the more sustainable and ethical movement. After learning about what actually goes on in foreign factories, I think that companies should not only bring production back to the US in the interest of improving their working conditions and treating its workers the right way, but also because their consumers will most likely lose their loyalty after getting insight into what actually goes on behind the scenes. Supporting its domestic economy also should be a priority of US textile and apparel companies today.

    1. Interesting point! But while US consumers like to see more apparel “Made in the USA”, the video was promoting the concept of “Western-hemisphere supply chain” (apparel made in Mexico & central America of USA fabrics or yarns). Do you think US consumers see the difference of the two? Also, social responsibility and ethical issues exist in the US apparel industry too. For example: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-forever-21-factory-workers/ . is it a myth or a reality that “bring production back to the US in the interest of improving their working conditions and treating its workers”?

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