By Andrea Plell
Take a look at the tags in your clothing. Chances are they read ‘Made in China’, Vietnam or Bangladesh. Unless it’s vintage, finding a garment that’s ‘Made in USA’ might be as rare as plucking a four leaf clover. That’s because around 90 percent of all apparel is actually made overseas – a whopping 43 percent less than two decades ago. So, what happened?
With spreading globalization in the 1990’s, the majority of US apparel began to be produced overseas. Hundreds of factories, mills and sewing houses went obsolete leaving skilled workers unemployed. While the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) lifted barriers on trade, it also gave companies the ability to take advantage of labor in developing nations for fractions of the price. You could say that access to cheap ‘out of sight out of mind’ production was the beginning of fast fashion as we know it.
While it may be fair to assume that the majority of the population doesn’t care where their clothing comes from, a recent Google search for “Made in USA” proves otherwise – hitting 94 on a 100-point scale. Whether those are in favor of supporting their local economy, embracing high quality standards or simply wanting a way to show their patriotism, the demand for American-made products is on the rise.
Enter Good Clothing Company, champions of the Made in America movement. Founded by designer and master tailor Kathryn Hilderbrand in 2015, the New England based sustainable production facility is on a mission to revive the American apparel manufacturing industry. By facilitating small batch production and low minimums, Good Clothing Co. makes the “Made in America” label easier for independent designers to attain and fashion lovers to wear.
In addition to working with brands small and large, Good Clothing Co. recently launched a brand of their own, Good Apparel. The debut house collection includes timeless, yet edgy styles that defy the coming and going of trends – made exclusively in small batches to minimize waste. Constructed in luxurious natural fibers like organic cotton and sustainable fabrics of modal and tencel, the collection boasts a most flattering and comfortable fit. Designed collaboratively by multiple generations of women, the simplistic styles are steeped in minimalism with a whisper of seventies flair.
Above design inspirations and the who, what, wear of the fashion world, for Good Apparel it’s the people that count most. Hilderbrand says it best when she expressed the following: “We are looking to connect with our end consumer to inspire a responsible purchasing decision that raises the quality of the lives of everyone who has laid hands on that garment.”
The brand’s message of sustainability and revival is also echoed in their recent photo campaign – a collaboration with Moorehouse Family. The interior design firm restores old gems for use as boutique vacation homes. Where Good Apparel is focused on creating a better way of producing the clothes that we wear, Moorhouse explores a sustainable mindset in the places in which we inhabit by utilizing over 80% locally sourced salvaged and recycled materials in their re-creations.
The messages of both companies are important for everyone, no matter where you live, not just ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ but buy less, buy better, and buy locally, whether it’s clothing for your body or furnishing for your home.
Good Apparel is available directly to customer on their website with exclusive run styles released every 60 days. Fashion Photography by ShannonGrant