If you've ever stumbled across Mrs American Made on Instagram, you may think of Ana Bogusky as a fashionable American woman and trendy style-blogger. On second glance you may also find she's an inspirnig #remakeambassador and #threadupambassador. But what you may not know is that her wardrobe is carefully crafted to reflect the values she lives out day to day. Mrs American Made herself became more aware of the environment around her and what she was consuming, which led to somewhat of a revelation that "Made in USA' products are so incredibly important. This revelation led to research - and eventually to the realisation that only 2% of clothing sold in the US is made here. Ana saw a gap and an opportunity curating change through her own wardrobe as well as paving the way for platforms to support American made brands. As well as linking #MadeinUSA brands that you can shop and support, Ana considers the impact of fashion on the environment and adopts the "buy less, choose well" motto when shopping for her clothes.
The team at #clutchmadedotcom sat down with Ana Bogusky to find out more about her evolving closet, what consumers can do to create change and the trends in 2020 that are set to revolutionize the way we shop. Keep reading below...
What do you look for as a consumer when shopping?
I am a tough consumer, I think. It takes a lot for me to hit that “buy” button or whip out the credit card.
"First of all, I ask that age-old question “do I really need said item?”"
Then I look for items that are made domestically, made ethically, made responsibly, made with natural materials, and maybe are even secondhand. I want my purchases to make as little environmental impact as possible, so while not everything I buy checks off every box on that list I usually feel pretty good about my decisions. And, of course, like everyone else, I do sometimes make that impulse buy as well. :)
How important is it to value companies and brands that are making locally?
Well, as I mentioned above, there is a long list of things that companies can do to make a better and more conscious product. One of those things is to produce more items domestically. Often, when production is outsourced overseas it becomes difficult for brands to be sure employees are treated fairly and safely. Plus, it takes longer to transport the merchandise as well as a great deal of fuel and energy. Sometimes, the manufactured item seems less expensive because it was produced under poor conditions and (the very real yet uncalculated) environmental costs are shifted to other countries.
Are you seeing any trends in USA made products in 2020?
Yes, I am definitely seeing a trend toward slow fashion and more “conscious” apparel, much of which is American-made. Some of this is greenwashing, but some of these efforts are very real.
"Small batch collections by ethical designers are popping up around the country, and the younger generations are gravitating toward those brands."
For example, the linen boxy tops and wide sailor pants worn by those designers are everywhere – and mostly made in USA.
Do you think making locally impacts the quality of a product versus something that is made overseas?
A quality product can be produced anywhere. The advantage to producing locally is that designers can check in and monitor the production and get exactly what they want. And they can see the conditions under which their merchandise is produced.
What are some positive progressions or changes you have noticed in your time doing what you do?
I started my blog, Mrs. American Made, in 2012. At that time, I found it difficult to find apparel and accessories that I liked that were American-made, so I made it my mission to uncover the hidden gems and share with others who wanted to shop similarly. The popularity of American-made seems to vary – some years it’s “in” and some years it’s “out” – but my feeling is that it should be forefront in our shopping thoughts (and a bi-partisan idea!), but overall, I would say, that due to the rise of slow fashion and a more aware consumer made in USA items are easier to find now. And companies who make their products in the US are more likely to make that a selling point.
How can a consumer change their habits for the better?
This is such a good question! Many people want to change their habits, but they don’t know where to start and they simply get overwhelmed.
"The secret is to take baby steps."
Think about one issue that you find important. Is is garment workers rights? Is it natural fibers/materials? Is it waste in the industry? Then take the steps to slowly transform your habits toward the best results for your concerns. Once you get used to that, you can add another layer. I have spent many years learning and honing my shopping criteria, one step at a time. I started with domestic production, but I continue to research other aspects of my clothing to achieve a more “sustainable” wardrobe.
We had a wonderful time supporting this amazing and inspiring woman on our blog this week to uncover trends in making in 2020 and how consumer habits can change in this uncertain time. Please find links to Ana Bogusky's platforms below so you can follow and check out amazing #madeinusa brands to support.