The Great Apparel Migration Back to the United States

More and More Clothing is Being Made in the USA

Since the beginning, Aspinwall Mountain Wear has sought to be as local as possible.  If there was space in the back of the store, and if cost wasn’t an issue, we would create clothing right from the raw materials.

As it is, there are certain items, like your favorite Aspinwall T-Shirt, that are cut and stitched in a factory in California before they are shipped to Billings.  Before Hogan’s Designs, our sister company that does screen printing right here in house, we had all of the shirts printed locally in Billings.

Made in America Clothing

But it’s not just Aspinwall products that are making their way back to the United States.  We call it the Great Apparel Migration; and it is largely due to the fact that people are sick of low quality items.

The True Cost of That $5 T-Shirt

In our modern society, we have been conditioned for two things: cheap and fast.  While we can head down to the store, grab a $5 shirt off the rack, zip through the self checkout, and be at home wearing that same shirt all in a half an hour, have you ever stopped to consider the true impact of your clothing?

Here’s roughly how it happens.

  • Cotton is picked in North America, and then shipped on a tanker to another country (usually in Asia).
  • Country 1 spins the cotton into fabric, and then ships it to Country 2.
  • In Country 2, the fabric is dyed, and shipped to Country 3.
  • Country 3 cuts the shirt and stitches it together, then ships it to Country 4.
  • Country 4 screen prints an image or saying, and ships them on a tanker back to the USA.
  • Once at port, the shirts are transported by land (usually on a semi-truck), and put on the shelves for a few bucks.

For you it’s a $5 shirt; the overall impact is much more than just $5.

Instead, those tankers are pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than any other vehicle.  It is estimated that one tanker produces more pollution than 50 million cars.  All together, the maritime shipping industry creates more carbon than Germany, and if it were a country, it would rank as the 6th largest contributor to global emissions.

That’s not even including the unregulated emissions from some of these overseas factories, the literal pennies per day that the workers are paid, or the chemicals used that are harmful to people and the environment, but they speed up the production process and help big companies make more money.

Let’s just say that $5 shirt has a much, much larger impact than a $5 hole in your wallet.

Transitioning to a Global Economy

Back in the 1950’s and the 1960’s, most items were made here in the USA.  As time went on, and technology allowed for easier communication between countries, the transition was made to producing products cheaply overseas.

When trade agreements, like NAFTA in 1994, were signed, it further allowed countries to trade easily, and drove costs down further.

Eventually, it was a race to the bottom: who could produce and sell clothing the cheapest.  The loser, of course, is you, the consumer.  When it was nothing but cheap clothing, you end up with low quality, high environmental impact, clothing that wears out quickly.

Creating a Micro Economy Based on Quality

Fortunately, we are now seeing a shift in the other direction.  People are fed up with the low quality junk that many of these clothing manufacturers are churning out.  And that is why Aspinwall is here.

The global economy is here to stay.  But that doesn’t mean it is the only economy out there.  Instead, we have the micro economy because people like you would rather buy a quality product that lasts, instead of a dozen cheaper versions.

It’s a micro economy that is growing as people realize there is a better alternative.

Local clothing store

Aspinwall Clothing is Made in the USA

We don’t need more T-shirts.  At least not the $5 shirt.  What we need is responsible clothing.

Aspinwall clothing is made in the USA.  It’s not shipped to multiple countries for each step of the process.

Aspinwall clothing is sold direct to the consumer.  It’s not marked up multiple times with each middleman taking a cut.

Aspinwall clothing provides you with quality clothing, that will last for years, with a low environmental impact, all while supporting jobs right here in the USA.