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Made in the USA: the importance of locally-made fashion

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Fashion production/ Image: Dead Stock
Fashion production/ Image: Dead Stock

Learning about the impact of the fashion industry also means learning about the lifecycle of your wearables. In considering a brand ethical or sustainable, you should know more than its slogan - you better know where the clothes came from. In our last blog post, we discussed material sourcing and shared some information about vegan and animal leather. In this article, we’re going to talk about bag manufacturing in the United States, focusing on why it is important to support locally-made fashion.

What is locally-made fashion?

Make in the USA/ Image: Dead Stock
Make in the USA/ Image: Dead Stock

Manufacturing locally means having the production of your goods all based in the same place. To develop fashion items, you have to source material, develop tech packs, make samples and, then start your production. These are all steps that take time and involve people's power.

Therefore, a locally-made brand should ideally follow all of these steps - or at least the majority of them - to develop and sample products in the same place where the products will eventually be sold.

But why does it matter? There could be an infinite amount of reasons here, so we will discuss what we think are the three most important.

1. Reduce Environmental Impact

Fashion Industry impacts /Image: Dead Stockc
Fashion Industry impacts /Image: Dead Stockc

Local manufacturing can reduce the environmental impact because it will shorten the supply chain. Therefore, this will reduce the energy consumed by the production process. Let's take, for instance, the cycle of producing products from raw materials to final garments or accessories. With an overseas production, the raw materials of fabric that might originate in Malásia, will then possibly be shipped to Mexico for manufacturing. Once completed, it will then be shipped to be sold in the United States. This entire cycle will consume a large amount of energy during the entire process. The transportation by flight, ship, train, and car will contribute to CO² emissions.

If a company chooses a local production, it will reduce the transportation needed, consequently reducing the CO² emissions.

2. Economic Development

Money/ Image: Dead Stock
Money/ Image: Dead Stock

Once one has invested in employing people who live in one's country, then you've invested in the local economy. During the production of a fashion brand, there will be a need to hire tailors, designers, and finally, product photographers and website designers to get the product sold. Thus, if you're developing a North American brand, you will ideally hire North American people, this way every payment your employees earn will return to the US community. This money will then be put back into local industries, also as taxes, that can be used to build public schools and public spaces.

3. Ethical practices

Unfortunately, it’s known that some brands have used prison labor, as well as child labor as a way to save money during manufacturing. If one is manufacturing in a place far away from where one lives, then the company will not be able to be hands-on with its workers, reviewing who they are and how they are treated, compensated, and live. This is when atrocities happen. Companies around the world put their product manufacturing in the hands of factories that exploit workers and wages. The companies tend to turn a blind eye, mostly because they are not near enough to let it affect them, when in fact it should. They should be held accountable if the government where they are manufacturing does not have laws established to protect its workers. Keeping manufacturing near to headquarters allows the company to oversee working conditions as well as quality control.

“It’s reported that UNICOR (a division of the Federal Bureau of Prisons) utilizes more than 12,000 inmates and operates in 80 prison factories for all of its product segments. Sales of clothing and textiles reached $177 million last year, and UNICOR made a profit of $16 million. Meanwhile UNICOR paid prison inmates slightly more than 23 cents an hour. Popular brands such as Victoria’s Secret, JC Penney, & other big name retailers have used prison labor in the past.” - The Honest Consumer

If you have a local manufacturing brand, you’ll certainly have more access to the manufacturing process and will be aware of what's happening in each step of the production.

Manufacturing local with Clutch Made

Accessory manufacturing / Image: Dead Stock
Accessory manufacturing / Image: Dead Stock

The Clutch Made Factory provides design and manufacturing services to individuals and brands looking to manufacture handbags and accessories in the USA. Therefore, if you’ve read this article and want to start manufacturing accessories locally, we are the best one-stop shop you could hope to work with.

Working with an American factory like The Clutch Made Factory allows you to have control over the quality of your products and the materials used, as there is easier communication with the Clutch Made Team.

In addition, at The Clutch Made Factory, we always encourage our customers to design sustainable products, either made from recycled or sustainable materials or by just working with the same TEAM throughout the process, which is sustainable in its own right. We also work with our clients to design timeless accessories that will be made from quality materials, that will last for a long period of time and wear.

So, if you're looking to start developing your accessory brand in the US and are looking to be sustainable and responsible as a brand, then get in contact with our team and schedule a free consultation. Start manufacturing your accessories in the United States now! Be the change you want to see in the world.


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