The local food movement was pioneered decades ago and has reached mainstream status. Environmental consciousness and books like Slow Food Nation (Petrini 2013) have made locally grown fruit and vegetables, and pasture raised meat and dairy a no-brainer for consumers today. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs have been a big player in the mainstream appreciation, as well as restaurants promoting and highlighting their local purveyors.
But what about the clothes we wear?
Not only does fashion stray far from “locally-sourced”, it is exceedingly hard to find anything made in the USA. Today, 97% of the clothing sold in the US comes from overseas: largely Southeast Asia and Latin America. Since the use of sweatshop labor was brought to light, we have seen companies focus on promoting their transparency and humane overseas labor conditions. It did not, however, bring manufacturing jobs back to the USA. While Americans are buying more clothes than ever, and wearing them less, the fast-fashion industry has a strong hold on keeping products cheap and outsourced.
Goodwear takes pride in being a longstanding member of that 3% of clothing that is made in USA. Our clothes are sourced from American cotton, and fully manufactured from start to finish here in the US. A member of the Fair Trade Association, and in a time where jobs are being automated and outsourced, we create American jobs with good working conditions and keep the tradition of hand-sewn textiles alive. While others can proudly say they partner with Fair Trade Certified manufacturers overseas, we can drop in at our factories in a couple hours to address any problems or just to say hi.
Eating local reduces the carbon footprint of shipping produce and other goods from overseas, or other states, and many try to source all of their food in a 100-mile radius. It's unlikely apparel could or would ever mirror that level of locality, but working with an entirely domestic approach is a start. Every item we make travels in a small loop around the Eastern United States from start to finish.
Made in America, always.
(Figures sourced from the American Apparel and Footwear Association 2012 report)