When is a Presidential Seal of Approval not a good thing? Well, currently, when it’s applied to steaks. And colleges. And restaurant cleanliness (yikes). And it’s especially toxic, it seems, when it’s applied to the small-but-dedicated group of brands still manufacturing apparel in the USA.
According to a recent New York Times story, Trump’s (mis-)appropriation of the Made in USA movement — including his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order — has put many brands who are doing just that on edge.
As the article explains, “Mr. Trump staked claim to an issue that has become a pet cause for… the urban beards-and-selvage-jeans set who transformed the “Made in U.S.A.” clothing label into a men’s wear status symbol… In any other year, having the president as an ally might be considered a coup. With this president? Well, for brands that have staked their identity on “Made in U.S.A.” chic, it is complicated.”
A number of those brands were interviewed for the article (as was our intrepid editor), and all provide insight into what it’s like to make in the USA, when you’re not trying to make Make America Great Again. Enlightening take-aways abound, one of the more interesting of which comes from Buck Mason co-founder, Erik Schnakenberg, who’s quoted as saying, “American exceptionalism is dead when it comes to apparel manufacturing… If we want to make great things here, we need to partner with the best, whether they’re down the street or across the pond.”
You can read the whole article, and we highly recommend that you do, at The New York Times.