For a few years now, there has been a returned interest to manufacturing in the US. But the market has yet to adjust their expectations of what this means.

From a brand side, this means higher costs, which is obvious, but it also means smaller order quantities. While fast-fashion can be done in the US, a majority of domestic manufacturers are really made to support the slow-fashion ethos.

This means less than 1000 units as an opening order. But it also means more than 50. Most brands who come to me, think they can start a business with 50 pieces of one style. Not ideal for anyone. First of all, your website is going to look sparse, and second of all, you are going to pay nearly double what it would cost to create 3 or more products at once, with at least 150-300 piece opening orders.

From a retail side, this means higher price points. No more $20.00 sweatshirts. If the fabric costs $8.00 in total, and the tags add another $2.00, plus the sewing is $10.00 or more, how can a brand sell a US made sweatshirt for $20.00? They can't. And if people want to support fair labor practices, support domestic manufacturing and they wish to purchase a quality product, then the expectation of a $20.00 sweatshirt should be left for the Made in China companies.

And while Made in China (or made anywhere else besides US and Europe) doesn't mean low quality or unfair labor practices by default, it does mean a larger impact on the environment and on our economy. Also, companies who produce overseas are more likely to make a higher profit more easily, but the money they invested to turn the profit isn't recirculated into our economy, it is spent overseas where the goods were made.

So it's really just a conversation about values. If you want a $20.00 sweatshirt, buy it from a Made in China company. But if you want to buy something made with a slow-fashion ethos, buy US Made. I think as of right now, it's a mix of both for even the conscious consumer, because we can't always afford that $200.00 dress. But if more people begin to understand both the manufacturing perspective and the consumer perspective, US made could be revived in an impactful way in the future.

The choice is ours.



Illustration: Carrie Parry

Illustration: Carrie Parry


Below is a quick checklist of the things you'll need before you can start your clothing line:

Boring back-end things:

  1. Registered business name
  2. Wholesale license
  3. Federal Tax ID #

Business-oriented things:

  1. Sales model
  2. Retail price point

Once you've gotten all that off your checklist, you will need to decide when you'd like to launch. Even if you are only doing direct to consumer (web sales), it is important to consider the fashion calendar. Click here to see general deadlines according to the fashion calendar.

Only after this, do you get to do the fun, creative things.

Fun, creative things:

  1. Moodboard
  2. Color story
  3. Lineplan

After your lineplan is established, the following technical items should be in place:

  1. Fit
  2. Fabrics
  3. Trim

Many people struggle with this part of the process, so this is where a services like the Shallow Fashion come in handy. Fit is very tricky. So is finding fabric sources. And who is going to make your samples? This is all information that is usually beyond a new brand's scope.

You can try your best to figure this part out on your own, or if you have the funds, it is a very good idea to find consultants or product development services that can help you along the way.

Shallow Fashion offers these services for the entire United States. Please contact us if you need these types of services.