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How to Bring Back 100% Made in the U.S.A.

Wear your stars and stripes on your sleeve this Independence Day with clothing made in the USA. Learn why the bulk of the Made in America clothing tags can only be found in thrifted and preloved sources. 

This 4th of July, wouldn’t it be great to celebrate by wearing jeans, a tee and sneakers that are 100 percent made in the USA?

This is tough because even though a small revival of domestic clothing production has begun, it’s ridiculously hard to find new clothing made 100 percent in the U.S.A. It’s much easier to find these gems when you shop for preloved clothing.  

Made in America clothing tag

Why we love American-made clothing

According to one consumer survey, 76% of shoppers are more likely to buy a product made in the U.S.A. The reason? People from the U.S. believe domestically produced goods have a higher quality than those made elsewhere and they often want to support local jobs. 

How does thrift fit in? When you shop thrifted sources, you still get a lot of these advantages like supporting local jobs, higher quality materials and patriotic pride.

How did clothing made in the U.S. disappear?

In 1960, 90 percent of the clothing worn in the U.S. was also made in the U.S. Today, this amount is just 2 percent. Sadly, America’s golden age of homegrown clothing has ended. 

In the past, trade laws protected the U.S. apparel industry from the competition of cheaper imports. Then, the globalization and deregulation of trade in the 1980s and 1990s meant American manufacturing jobs got shipped overseas. Besides losing jobs, U.S. consumers also lost assurance that their garments adhered to U.S. standards for labor rights and environmental protections.  

4th of July American Flag

What are the consequences of globalization for fashion? 

Today, fast fashion has become the norm and clothing has become a disposable commodity, which creates huge amounts of waste. You might wear a t-shirt just once before it goes “off trend” and goes to the landfill. 

Globalization also has social consequences for garment industry workers who struggle to earn living wages. Bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. won’t necessarily solve all of those problems, but it can lead to better awareness.  

What about Levi’s jeans? Are they still made in the U.S.? 

 Some brands, like Levi’s 501 Jeans, became symbols of American identity. First manufactured in 1873, Levi’s jeans bring to mind the Gold Rush and laying the first cross-country railroad tracks. 

Since 2019, though, not one pair of Levi’s Jeans is made 100 percent in the U.S. (though some are still partially produced here). Levi’s 501s are now made in Bulgaria and Turkey. If you want to find authentic Made-in-the-U.S.A. Levi’s, you’ll have to search in second-hand stores. 

100% Made in the USA T-shirt

Today’s revival of American-made clothes

Local U.S. manufacturing is making a gradual comeback. Options for new clothing are expanding, and there are obviously plenty of second-hand sources. 

When you buy local, you automatically reduce the footprint of your wardrobe by shortening its shipping distance. Clothes made in the U.S. are also likely to be produced in smaller batches, reducing excess stock and textile waste. 

With all of these benefits, we wish you happy hunting in finding threads for Independence Day this year. 

 

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Recycling clothing--of any kind--is a patriotic action that protects America’s natural beauty. Choose your favorite recycled bundle and wear it proudly every day of the year. 

 

Article written by Erica Eller


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