I penned the cover story for this month’s issue of Menswear Retailer, the trade magazine’s annual made-in-America issue. Since Ivy Style is a website focused on American style, and since many of our favorite brands either manufacture significantly overseas, or are owned by a foreign company (Paul Stuart being the latest), I thought the story would interest many of you.
I spoke with a variety of brands for the piece, but you guys will be most interested to hear from Allen Edmonds, which has been experiencing tremendous growth lately. Here’s an excerpt:
During its record growth phase Allen Edmonds has added over 200 employees. Because of its location in Milwaukee, a city with longstanding manufacturing roots, finding workers skilled at hand labor has not been difficult, Grangaard says. It’s the cost of labor that’s the challenging part. “We’re lucky to be selling a shoe with tremendous value that can last up to 20 years, and because of that we’re able to get our higher labor cost built into the cost of the shoe more easily than if we were making glued-on, rubber-bottom shoes.”
I think you’ll also be interested to hear from Collared Greens about the challenges of launching a start-up business committed to domestic manufacturing, and Lotuff Leather about the shortage of young people interested in apprenticing in an artisanal craft such as leatherwork. There are also remarks from Robert Talbott, maker of fine traditional rep ties, and Bills Khakis.
Head over to MR’s site for the full story. — CC