Thursday, October 31, 2013

Made in America Making a Come-Back -- Apparel and Home Textiles

As I previously wrote for the BeaverLake6 Report, the Sewn Products Equipment and Suppliers of the Americas ("SPESA") held an "Executive Conference" in Washington, D.C. on October 18 with a strong program packed full of presentations on manufacturing that has remained in America, returned to America, or is being done in conjunction with our Western Hemisphere free trade agreement partners. To follow up on that, here are some highlights of the Conference dealing specifically with home textiles and apparel.

Michelle Gloeckler, Senior Vice President - Home, Wal-Mart, spoke on that retail giant's commitment to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products over the next ten years. Over the past few years I have been asked, several times, where to find bath towels made in America. Well, now I am happy to tell friends, Go to Wal-Mart, for their "Made Here" line of towels, made in the U.S.A. from 100 percent U.S.A. grown and spun Pima cotton.

Textile consultant Mary O'Rourke ( presented a round up of brands and retailers who have continued to manufacture in the U.S., have returned manufacturing to the U.S., or who are manufacturing in our Western Hemisphere free trade partners using U.S. yarn and fabric.

Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, American Apparel and Footwear Association -- a group often associated with the trend source apparel from low-cost regions of the world -- told us how fashion brands and retailers are rethinking sourcing strategies. He said that until recently the trend had been to make everything in East Asia, but that major brands and retailers are moving some jobs back to America.

John Martynec, Vice President of Manufacturing, Brooks Brothers, informed us that 70% of the men's suits sold annually by that retailer are made in their Southwick factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Brooks Brothers is also making shirts in North Carolina and neckties in New York.

For even more detailed coverage of the SPESA Executive Conference, see the summary on the SPESA website at

In related news -- American Made Matters® (, an organization dedicated to educating consumers on the importance of buying American-made products, has declared November 19, 2013 the first annual American Made Matters® Day. On this day, American Made Matters® is encouraging consumers to buy at least one American-made product to show their support for American manufacturing. Additionally, the event will kick-off a movement encouraging Americans to buy products made in America throughout the upcoming holiday shopping season.

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