State Of The Union: On Domestic Manufacturing For MR Magazine

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

3 Comments on "State Of The Union: On Domestic Manufacturing For MR Magazine"

  1. Nice article Christian.
    Grangaard nailed it, and speaks the truth. There is no dearth of labor, but a decided lack to pay. This has been recently covered in the NY Times, Forbes, WSJ, etc. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2012/11/26/are-stingy-employers-to-blame-for-the-so-called-skills-shortage/

  2. Yes, dbd. That is part of the problem, the other is that Globalization is causing wage deflation. That is understandable with low end cheap products, but how does Ralph Lauren justify manufacturing mostly in China, while maintaining high end prices? I believe BB bought up many of the failing US textiles that supplied them to keep something like 85% of there products made in the US.

  3. It’s funny, Ralph Lauren started out just like Collard Greens.

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