Monday, September 15, 2014

The Label Says "Made in USA," But Is It?

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, David Trumbull attended AMERICAN FIELD, a pop-up exhibition & market, in the South Boston Seaport District. The two-day event featured the best of U.S. made clothing, accessories, goods, furniture and the people who make them. AMERICAN FIELD is not a trade show, it's a celebration of trade featuring: vendors, music, food, drink, live demos, workshops, speakers, and more.

Holding an American-made Tough Traveler Bag.

Among the exhibitors with American-made apparel were Sterlingwear of Boston, subject of an Agathon Associates blog post in 2013, Bollman Hat Company, which assisted Agathon Associates in a successful effort to improve industry compliance with the law relating to fiber content labeling of hats, and Draper Therapies, a division of Draper Knitting, one of the leading companies in the effort to promote awareness of the textile industry in the New England states.

The above mentioned companies each has a long history of manufacturing in American and a good grasp on what it means to make a product in the USA, including the laws governing the use of the phrase "Made in USA." However, with the resurgence of interest in "Made in USA" new companies entering this market are not always as well-informed as the players who have been around for decades. "Made in USA," from a marketing perspective, may be an attractive label, but can be used only if the article is manufactured in a way that is compliant with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission rules. Brief inquiries with some of the vendors at AMERICAN FIELD regarding their manufacturing processes and materials sourcing, revealed that about half of the apparel on display and bearing the "Made in USA" label was not, under the FTC rules, properly labeled. I omit the names of the offending companies, as they were, as far as I could ascertain, out of compliance due to ignorance of the law, not intentional fraud. Clearly, there is a need in the apparel trade for assistance with FTC labeling compliance. That is why Agathon Associates launched Label Advisor. David Trumbull, Principal, Agathon Associates, has 20-years experience working with the FTC. We can assist you with LABEL ADVISOR, which offers "Smart guidance for U.S. label compliance: SO SMART, SEW RIGHT." Contact David at 202-657-6008 or

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