We demand Made in America, but are we willing to pay the price?

As a small business owner I’ve encountered a wild and varied opinion of the whole “Made in America” thing. Most people are positive, they want their goods made by American hands on American soil so Americans get the money….but then when confronted with the cost of such a dream they pause.

The fact is, to have a garment manufactured entirely in America is a costly venture- and to have said garment made by actual Americans makes it an even bigger ticket. Now don’t get me wrong, many are still willing to pay for goods like this- but on the whole, unless a small fashion business undersells themselves or outsources overseas- they’re rarely going to make a profit, let alone a splash in the fashion industry because people don’t have disposable income or just don’t want to spend that kind of money.

Let’s reflect on our history for a moment- perhaps you’ve heard of the Triangle shirtwaist fire? That was a million billion years ago at this point, and it was good in the sense that it brought the plight of the underpaid and abused workers to the forefront of the news for at least a hot minute- but do you realize these sewers, primarily women were paid about $6 (often less) a week? The readers digest of the history is that the workers of New York at that time were striking (unpaid, mind you) in order to get a pay raise, safer and more sanitary working conditions and fewer working hours. I believe one account had the seamstress’ working close to 16 or 18 hour workdays. The girls even had to provide their own needles, thread and cutting equipment. Should a needle break, it’s out of your pocket, and when you make about $0.05 an hour that $0.02 needle is a big freaking deal.

We’ve since had good old Norma Rae and a few other standout times in history when we realized how much we truly wanted Americans to be paid a fair wage for their work- but on the whole, most everyday folk are going to go to Target or Kohl’s for their discount brand name goods that are made overseas because we can get an entire ensemble for less than $40.

The fact is, that most American’s simply can’t afford to buy locally, whether they want to or not. In an article written for the Huffington Post, Catherine New exemplifies the ‘classic’ made in America look:

Take the classic “Born in the USA” outfit: blue jeans, white T-shirt, work boots. The three items, all USA-made, cost $421: domestic-made Levi’s 501s ($178), American Apparel white T-shirt ($18) and classic Red Wing work boots ($225).  The same outfit with imported goods is far cheaper: Brahma-brand work boots from Walmart ($33), a white Hanes T-shirt ($6) and Gap classic blue jeans ($60) add up to cost less than $100.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/made-in-america-the-luxury-label-will-cost-you_n_1891127.html, “Made  in America is a Luxury Label That Will Cost You”

Most of us end up settling on goods made in the states of imported goods- often, that’s ‘good enough’, and until we’re all billionaires, it will have to be.


Pastels Today and Forever – Women’s Streetwear

katespade pink  shop-the-look pastel  RODEBJER pink


Kate Spade’s (shown Left) ,”Pretty in Pink”, look for this Spring’s 2013 collection

is definitely a look that comes along every year.  The next image is a breakdown of a pastel look for Spring.

1. Danniljo earrings    2. Stella Mc Caryney Sweater  3. Diane von Furstenberg clutch

4. Tabbitha Simmons boots   5. J Brand pants  6. Chanel Sky Line nail polish

The most versatile items from this selection would be the pants, earrings, and nail polish.

Carin Rodebjer’s pink cardigan (shown far Right) is yet another classic pastel look that is recycled again and again.  It is

feminine, cutsie, and above all classic. We cannot escape pastels ladies, especially in the Springtime. Will these looks be

around in 2014?  My best guess is most definitely!

Author: Jessica Dominguez

2013 Manufacturing Trend: Tech Accessories

For the tech savvy, it’s as easy as 1-2-3 to zero in on this trend, especially when we all know what a pain it is to carry around our boring, uninspired, one-noted gadgets. I personally would love to jazz up my USB Flash Drive, iPhone, iPad, etc. to beautiful, utilitarian masterpieces of art. Wouldn’t you? Stylesight.com highlights just a few of the latest:

1. Built-in audio accessories and speakersImage

2. Wearable TechImage

The above photo highlights include Google’s augmented reality glasses that display information like a smart-phone via internet and voice commands (center, left), Pebble’s personalized smart watches that connect to iPhones and Androids via Bluetooth to alert you on e-mails, incoming calls and messages all through seamlessly integrated apps and GPS (bottom, right).

3. Futuristic & Ultra-modernImage

Transparent plastics, holographic and metallic shiny stuff, oh my! You may have been around when those tacky plastic handbags and purses were in (eek!), but this sheds a whole new light on how to stay timeless and fashionable. Thanks to Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and other not to big name designers, your gadgets can now be even more high-tech with these modern, sleek silhouettes, materials and designs.

4. More Plastics!Image

But I guess if you’re really going to bring back the plastic trend (or fad), here’s how to really do it justice.

Menswear and the Bespoke Movement

With in the last 5 years, Americans have been shifting away from mass production into a more tailored, handmade, handcrafted product movement. Whether this be for the food we eat, the home furnishings we use, or (for the purposes of this blog) the clothing we wear.

FSC menswear

In my research I’ve just come across the brand, Freemans Sporting Club, a company specializing in men’s dress clothes. More importantly, their focus is on tailoring and customization.

“Freemans Sporting Club was established to pay tribute to the vanishing art of American handmade goods, and the quality and durability inherent in something made by skilled artisans.

F.S.C. offers a roughly hewn yet refined reinterpretation of this bygone era, when a man’s garments were functional and long lasting. “Made Local, Buy Local” are core tenants of the F.S.C. ethos and nearly all of the collection is manufactured within ten miles of the shop.

Every F.S.C. garment is just a few hands removed from where it began and is made by a new generation of artisans, tailors and sewers who once flourished across the US. F.S.C. remains steadfastly dedicated and proud to be an American-made product.” – FSC’s About Statement


They measure and make each of their suits in Brooklyn, NY.

“FSC is not the only local menswear brand ringing up sales, thanks to the category’s first meaningful growth spurt in years. Sales of men’s clothing nationwide jumped 4.9%, to $56.5 billion, for the 12 months ended in March, outpacing womenswear, which grew 4.2% in the same period, according to research firm NPD Group Inc. The uptick is paying off handsomely for several companies that produce most of their merchandise in the Big Apple—such proximity provides quality control, and allows for smaller batches of product” – Crains New York Article


I feel American consumers are wanting products that will last longer and have a more individualist feel rather than buying something so mass produced that everyone on your block has one, and we’re willing to pay for the exclusivity of that handmade item.

“Consumers are looking for stories because the world is full of mass-produced objects that anyone can buy. So what’s interesting for consumers is a product they can tell people about through the knowledge and experience they gained”
– Henry Mason, head of research and analysis at consultancy Trendwatching




Menswear Windows and Displays

Let’s face it. Most men aren’t big fans of shopping. So advertisers and visual merchandisers need to catch their male customer’s eye quickly to grab their interest to come into their store and shop.

Here are a few current window displays and in-store displays for menswear and the menswear department.

p2i1 This amazing display is by Moncler

p3i3 Back to school theme for men at Top Man

p4i5 bold primary colors are shown at Saks Fifth Avenue

[all pictures courtesy of Stylesight.com]

Theme – there seems to be theme of clean-cut-ness in upcoming menswear. Collars, tailored cuts, and a dressier look is what is being shown in store windows and displays.

Culture – I have to believe that this tailored trend is coming from the “trickle down” theory where influence is coming from celebrities and important people in society. The idea of dressing more cleanly and maintaining and image of “upscale” is becoming very popular.

Silhouettes – As stated before, clean cut, slim silhouettes are continuing to trend in current displays.

Le Privee’s Take on the Little Black Dress for Valentine’s Day


[Pic courtesy of Retail Design Blog]

Le Privee takes on the, “Little Black Dress”, for this year’s Valentine’s Day.  Remember girls, it doesn’t have to be red or pink to be sexy for your Valentine.

Author- Jessica Dominguez