July '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 J U L Y P R I N T W E A R 3 1 So, if Americans say they care about "Made in America" why aren't they sup- porting their feelings with their dollars? One theory is that it has to do with price. Saying you support and care about "Made in America" seems like the correct thing to do, and people probably do genuinely have concerns about this issue. They also, how- ever, have concerns about spending their money wisely and getting the most value for the dollars they spend. Another major issue is determining what's made in America. We are busier than ever and checking the provenance of every item to be purchased is time consuming. If a cus- tomer needs to research every shirt and the items used to decorate it, the purchase pro- cess becomes much more arduous. Before long, consumers can fall down a labyrinth of information and what once seemed like a simple purchase decision has become a mire of uncertainty and confusion. No one has time for that, and people want the best value for their money, so it's often easier to go with the least expensive option and let other considerations go. So, how do we determine what "Made in America" means? According to the Fed- eral Trade Commission, "Made in America" means that all, or virtually all, of the prod- uct has been made in the United States. All significant processing, parts, and labor that go into the product must have originated in the United States. The product must have negligible foreign content. For clothing, the "Made in America" la- beling requirements are a bit different as textiles are permitted to have a "Made in the USA" label as long as the fabric was made in the U.S. and the garment was cut and sewn in the United States, regardless of where the fiber that made up that fabric was grown or where the yarn was spun. Keep in mind there are also derivatives of the "Made in America" label that sound like they're the same thing but are not. "Made in the USA of U.S. and Imported Parts" for instance, means that the item may have been assembled in the U.S. but does not contain completely U.S. made compo- nents. There are also labels that will specify a percentage of U.S. made content. Another popular option is "Assembled in the USA," which may well mean that all the compo- nents were made elsewhere but the item was put together in a factory in the United States. For these designations, the Federal Trade Commission sets standards for these labels. Manufacturers who imply there is more U.S. content or involvement in the product will incur sanctions. To add even more confusion to the issue, there are also new designations that are be- coming more popular concerning environ- mental issues and worker wages and safety. For these people, the "Made in" label mat- ters, but what matters more is being sure they're purchasing items that are made in environmentally and ethically conscious ways. That means fabrics and fibers are sourced from farms that grow organically and that the garments are made in facto- ries where the workers are paid a fair wage

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