Saturday, September 1, 2012

Homegrown Fashion

Wearing the Nanette Lepore Cosmic Crepe Dress
The fashion world is definitely not without its controversies. One major topic that seems at the top of everyone's lists this summer is over high-end, American fashion designers outsourcing their clothing manufacturing, resulting in lost American jobs and revenue. Made in the U.S.A.? Made in China is more like it.

Even the Ralph Lauren-designed Team USA Summer 2012 Olympic uniforms turned out to be produced overseas. While that fact certainly did not cast a pallor over the Olympic Games -- though, it seems to me, that if any one item of clothing is made here, the Team USA Olympic uniform should be it -- it did turn up the heat on American designers who choose profit over patriotism.

It also got me thinking about my own closet, and what items gracing my shelves are made more cost efficiently outside the United States. It turns out... a lot.

Of course, a few of those labels make a point to produce as much clothing as possible in the United States, in areas like New York City's famed Garment District. Nanette Lepore is one of the most outspoken designers on her stance to keep her clothing made in the U.S.A. She appeared on an episode of Project Runway All-Stars, and part of the challenge for the designers involved factoring in the cost of American production when making their creations. She also talked to CNN earlier this summer about her outrage over the Team USA Olympic uniforms:

My friend, Taryn, actually brought this issue to my attention a few years ago, when we bonded over our love of Nanette Lepore clothing. She told me that she purchased a top, knowing full well that Nanette Lepore's clothes were made in NYC, and discovered later that the label read "Made in China." She was outraged, and wrote a letter to the company to tell them so. What is shocking is that she actually received a reply. The truth was, they told her, if her top had been produced here, then it would have cost so much money most people would not have been able to afford it. That broke my heart.

A recent article in the NY Daily News highlighted the issue of American clothing manufacturing as well, showing that Nanette Lepore isn't the only designer who is making an effort to bring clothing manufacturing back to the United States. Shoshanna, another of my favorite designers, also produces some of her clothing here. It's not a giant leap, but it's at least a first step.

Nanette Lepre Cio Cio San Dress with BCBGMaxAxria Sandals

I've highlighted just two of the Nanette Lepore dresses in my closet on this post. If you're interested in shopping for Nanette Lepore clothing, shop her website, Each product page, like this one, shows where the item was made, and most of them proudly boast, "Made in New York City."