American-made clothing's decline

Posted by LDonia on 06/27/2012

Jordan Weissmann, writing for The Atlantic, reported this past Friday that from 1990 to 2011, 80 percent of the apparel manufacturing jobs in the United States were wiped out.

The American fashion industry is known for looking to other countries for different style trends. As Weissmann noted, “so perhaps its [sic] appropriate that clothing was one of the first American manufacturing industries to take a truly post-industrial turn in the late 20th century.”

Sending jobs overseas has led to tragedy in the towns that relied on manufacturing jobs for a living. The tradeoff, as Weissmann mentions, is the often cited claim that consumers will benefit from the lower cost of some imported apparel.

Thankfully, when it comes to job security for clothing manufacturers in the United States, the small “mom and pop shop” tailors and designers that have built a secure market in their local areas are relatively safe.

Though too many jobs are often outsourced, the Alliance for American Manufacturing's (AAM) blog, Manufacture This, featured a post earlier this year that inspires hope for America's clothing manufacturers.

AAM explains that the number of Americans who are seeking American-made apparel has increased. The driving force of this new demand comes from people growing more aware of eco-friendly options and an increasing sense of national pride.

For graphs and further information on the clothing manufacturing industry, read here.

This post was written by AAM intern, Leigh Raup.

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