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Growing emphasis on Made in US forces companies to look for right capabilities

"While the US President Trump’s pushes for ‘Made in US’ has prompted many domestic companies to reshore their product offerings, problems of logistics still persist. During the recent edition of Texworld USA in New York, companies discussed the pros & cons of Made in America. Event’s moderator Christine Daal, who runs consultancy Fashion Angel Warrior, said quality control, small minimums, speed to market and a more complaint system are all advantages of manufacturing in the US. While costs are higher, the US is also known for energy efficiency, which can help contain some of those costs. Eric Beroff, President, Spoiled Rotton USA Inc, which has a factory in The Bronx, said there are misconceptions that you can make anything here, which just isn’t true."

 

Growing emphasis on Made in US forces companies to look for right capabilities 002While the US President Trump’s pushes for ‘Made in US’ has prompted many domestic companies to reshore their product offerings, problems of logistics still persist. During the recent edition of Texworld USA in New York, companies discussed the pros & cons of Made in America. Event’s moderator Christine Daal, who runs consultancy Fashion Angel Warrior, said quality control, small minimums, speed to market and a more complaint system are all advantages of manufacturing in the US. While costs are higher, the US is also known for energy efficiency, which can help contain some of those costs. Eric Beroff, President, Spoiled Rotton USA Inc, which has a factory in The Bronx, said there are misconceptions that you can make anything here, which just isn’t true.

Eveningwear garments with beading or heavy ornamentation and generally apparel that is overly complicatedGrowing emphasis on Made in US forces companies to look for right capabilities 001 either can’t be made in the US because the machinery isn’t available or the labour costs would be too high. Beroff points out, labour costs in the US are among the highest in the world, so people have to understand that and take it into consideration when deciding where and what to manufacture. Anthony Lilore, Designer, Restore Clothing, highlighted that people think Americans don’t make anything anymore but that’s not the fact. Having said that, he also stated there are things one shouldn’t make in the US. He felt that it’s just a notion that the US manufacturing is coming back, in reality, it’s not. What has made US manufacturing valid again, according to Lilore, is they can do smaller quantities locally and companies can be closer to the factories, which allows greater due diligence, quality and production control and better speed to market. There are factories in New York and New Jersey that can make almost anything if you’re willing to pay for it and compromise on some design details.

Underlying concerns

Daal added simplicity of design allows them to make goods locally. Companies keen to afford production in the country might have to reconsider what they do with styles, seams, sewing steps, trims and materials in the garment, which each bring the manufacturing cost up. It’s also important to know the capabilities of the factories they are working with. They need to work with different factories that have a specialty. Most domestic factories are not vertical, which means one need to source fabric and trim, and maybe even the cutting.

Laura Dotolo, managing principal, Clutch Bags LLC/Clutch Made, said that US factories should offer more services like sourcing and product development, which her firm does, to entice more production. Helping drive the shift in consumer mindset to one that values quality over quantity, and less consumption over getting things cheap, will make US manufacturing more attractive. Talking about the lead time issue, Beroff said production times in the US are naturally better than the average imported garment, but can still be six to eight weeks from his factory. That’s on new styles. On reorders, time can be reduced considerably.

For startups, it’s important to work with consultants with expertise and connections. They can help prepare a new company or designer to approach a factory with full information to get samples made and costs estimated. Greater emphasis needs to be given on training the factory workers, particularly on advanced machinery. In the same line, NYC Fashion M.A.D.E. (Manufacturers Alliance of Design Educators) supports the teaching of garment manufacturing and technological skills to the fashion community. It provides grants for educational initiatives filling the manufacturing skills gap through classes and workshops.

 
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