The ‘Made In America’ Niche
By George Anderson
Take a look at the label inside most of the apparel sold in U.S. retail outlets today and you’ll quickly discover that almost nothing is made in America.
Perhaps the most high profile exception to that rule is American Apparel, which is not only the largest manufacturer of garments made in the U.S., but has more than 100 stores in operation here and abroad.
The company’s latest store opening in Savannah, GA highlights its unique approach to branding (or not, depending on how you look at it).
The company actively promotes its “sweatshop free” manufacturing environment and “Made in America” difference. According to the company, the average worker in its factories makes $12.50 an hour producing t-shirts, underwear, dresses and track suits sans logos.
The appeal of the company’s products, Miquel McKelvey, project coordinator for American Apparel told the Savannah Morning News, comes down to what’s produced and not just a name.
“People aren’t necessarily thinking it’s really cool because of a label, but because it fits well and has a great color,” he said. “They identify (American Apparel) as a style and not as a brand.”
The company’s store site selector Tacee Webb said the company is about more than the latest fashion.
“We don’t want to be the new ‘it’ retailer,” said Webb. “We want to have staying power by going into true neighborhoods.”
American Apparel prefers to scout locations in what it sees as under-invested downtown areas.
“We’re going into downtown Houston for example,” said Webb. “That’s a closed-down downtown. We’re going in and eight other businesses are going in with us.”
Moderator’s Comment: Are there more opportunities for “Made in America” products that are not being currently taken
advantage of domestically? What does this mean for retail businesses? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- New Broughton Street retailer’s clothing is 100 percent American made – Savannah Morning
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