American Giant: $108 Hoodie Made in the USA

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Discussion questions:

  1. Is it still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy? Why or why not?
  2. From the video, what is your evaluation of the strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat of American Giant’s business?
  3. From the video and our class discussions, why or why not do you think the U.S.-China tariff war has benefited textiles and apparel “Made in the USA”?
  4. Will you be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory as featured in the video after graduation? Why or why not?
  5. Any other thoughts/reflections from the video?

[For FASH455: 1) Please mention the question number in your comments; 2) Please address at least TWO questions in your comments]

Additional readings:

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

24 thoughts on “American Giant: $108 Hoodie Made in the USA”

  1. Dear Sheng Lu, I enjoy very much reading your newsletters. Thank you, and please accept my connection via LinkedIn. I am a sourcing manager in the apparel business in New York. I would love to be in connection with you.  Best Fatma G Surengil 

  2. Question 1:
    Yes, I believe that it is immensely meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA. The amount of jobs that the apparel industry would provide in the USA would make a huge difference in the lives of many Americans. It would also bring life back into small towns that were left desolated by the exit of apparel manufacturing in the USA. However, with all of that being said, bringing apparel manufacturing back to the USA would mean that the price of apparel would soar and would in turn be problematic for the average American consumer.

    Question 5:
    After watching this video I honestly believe that what American Giant is trying to do is a very noble effort. Realistically speaking, the American consumer has become extremely comfortable with bargain buying and it is very unlikely that they will compromise a good deal for a made in America label. Also, as mentioned in the video, it will be extremely hard to find people to do the field work. There are clearly jobs available in that sector and it seems as if nobody wants to fill them, causing agriculture companies to hire outside of the USA.

    1. great thought! A follow-up question: why or why not should the government play a role in promoting apparel manufacturing in the USA? What kind of a role can the government play?

  3. Question 2.
    I believe that American Giant has pure intentions behind their company’s name. Their strength comes from being 100% produced within the US. On a clothing label, you must put where every step of the garment comes from. For example, if the cotton used in American Giant clothing was not from the US, they would need to specify so. By marketing an item entirely made in the US, it appeals to more people because they value their country. It also shows, that all of the labor came from the US, which grants this country more job opportunities. Unfortunately, making an entire garment in the US is also a weakness. According to the cost of living, minimum wages, and other factors, the cost of labor is much higher in the US than other countries such as China or Bangladesh. Therefore, garments made 100% within the US cost a lot more than those produced overseas. A higher price point is not appealing to most consumers. An opportunity exists for American Giant to create the trend of more clothing mills in the US. By slowly bringing clothing mills back to the US, it will create a trend, more jobs, eventually the chance to lower wages of seamstresses and ultimately lower the cost of the product. The threat of lower costing goods exists against American Giant. $108 for a hoody is not going to appeal to the vast majority of consumers. At the end of the day, it always comes down to money.

    Question 4.
    I would not be okay with working in a textile mill or factory after graduation. Sewing is an exhausting, strenuous, and painful activity. It is also an outdated practice. While I believe it is still a valuable skill to have, machines are capable of doing it faster, without getting tired, and for less money. I would much rather instruct the machines.

    1. very interesting and thoughtful comments!! Thank you!
      Related to your comments–1) I was impressed by the using of machines in the textile mills as shown in the video. Automation supports “Made in the USA”. However, it may not create as many jobs as we hoped for; 2) The shortage of labor force could be a big challenge facing the rejuvenation of “Made in the USA”.

  4. Question #4 – Will you be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory as featured in the video after graduation? Why or why not?
    I am personally uninterested in working in a textile mill/garment factory after graduating from college and I believe that many of my peers at the University of Delaware would feel similarly. As apparel manufacturing companies have become obsolete in the US over past years, I believe that society has moved away from the idea that a manufacturing job can sustain a happy life. In today’s society, children are taught to believe that in order to be successful in life, he or she must attend many years of school in order to obtain an education that can lead them to a “good” job. Nonetheless, I do believe that there must be a population of young adults in the US that would indeed be willing to work in a textile mill/garment factory due to lack of access to good education and job opportunities. Therefore, although current college students may be uninterested in working in a factory, I do not doubt that there is a population of young adults that would be interested.

  5. 1.)Is it still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy? Why or why not?
    I think it is absolutely important to emphasize “Made in the USA” garments in today’s global economy to raise awareness to consumers, and its importance. For instance, in the pannel discussion yesterday Robert mentioned the value of increasing a consumers willingness to spend more of U.S manufactured goods for the improvement of the economy. I also think it is crucial in encouraging American consumers to see how important it is for our economy to grow and thrive with the help and support of citizens business.
    4.) Will you be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory as featured in the video after graduation? Why or why not?
    I personally have no interest in working in a textile mill after graduation especially after the depiction in the video and other sources we as a class have witnessed throughout the semester. The tasks are especially tedious and the hours are long for a job that can be done my machinery. Furthermore, I believe it is difficult to find room for growth. I hope in my future place of work I will be challenged and be able to climb the ranks in to new positions, and find it hard to see the opportunities available in a role at a textile mill.

  6. 1. Even though the fashion industry is definitely globalized, I still believe it is meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA.” This video gives a glimpse into what goes into producing apparel domestically and why it adds a higher retail price to the garments we see in store. CEO Bayard Winthrop explains how he views his company as not only selling clothing, but also selling a value system. For Winthrop, the “Made in USA” label creates both jobs and pride. I think it is important to support fashion brands like American Giant, where although there is a higher retail cost, the garments are high-quality and produced ethically.
    2. I believe a strength of American Giant is that their products are 100% “Made in the USA.” This a large selling point to a lot of U.S. consumers who value sustainability and are willing to pay the extra cost. The “Made in USA.” label also differentiates American Giant from other apparel brands that manufacture overseas. That being said, the company’s biggest weakness is their high retail prices. Some consumers would be willing to pay the extra cost, but many would not. An opportunity the company has is to market their products by bringing attention to the fact that their products are made completely in the U.S. Again, this would attract many consumers who value domestic manufacturing. A threat of American Giant would be their competition with other companies that sell similar products with lower retail prices.

  7. 1) I think if apparel is truly 100% “Made in the USA” then it is definitely meaningful today. Clothing is rarely made in America anymore, so if a brand is able to 100% make their clothing here then that is worth promoting and consumers will love that. A lot of the time a label can say where it’s made but in fact it was made in several other countries as well and only tells you where it was assembled. If it was 30-40 years ago it would probably be a lot less meaningful because it was much more common to have your clothes made in America so it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

    4) I personally would not be interested in working in a textile mill or garment factory after I graduated because that is not the career path I am going for. I would like to be a buyer for a clothing company when I graduate but it is interesting watching these videos about what it’s like to work there. In my opinion, the people working at textile mills should be people who can’t or have not gone to college but need money because you don’t need a college degree to make clothes or operate machinery. If America were to open more textile mills/garment factories this would provide a lot of job opportunities for people in the lower class.

  8. 1) I think that it is meaningful to promote 100% made in American todays economy. In class we learned about how many companies have outsource their textile and or apparel production to other countries in order to save money. I think that is important to promote products like this, because it shows the benefits of US textile and apparel such as the jobs created, better working conditions, and the creation of a high quality product. Even when it seems like there are not many advantages to bringing textile and apparel production to the US, this shows that there are many benefits to bringing production back and will hopefully bring awareness to the issue.

    2) I believe that the strengths of American Giant, is their commitment to bringing more textile and apparel jobs to the United States and the high quality of their products such as the zip up hoodie. Next, the weaknesses of American Giant is the high cost of their products, and due to cost cutting they only sell their products online and through their stores. Although this helps to bring down costs, it shrinks the market that they are able to sell too. Additionally, the opportunities for American Giant is expanding their product lines and in turn their supply chain, and possibly selling through other retailers. Next, the threats to American Giant is the high price point, consumer want for cheap apparel, and education. However, to sum it all up I believe that it is important for American Giant to educate people about how their product can be beneficial to the United States, and how powerful American manufacturing can be.

  9. #1. Is it still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy? Why or why not?
    If a product is 100% made in the U.S.A. then I do believe it can make the product more valuable to certain customers. Therefore, “Made in the U.S.A. should be put on the garment. A lot of consumers value the made in America tag, because it lets them know that by buying this product they are helping their own economy, It also tells the consumer that the product was most likely made in good working conditions.
    #3 From the video and our class discussions, why or why not do you think the U.S.-China tariff war has benefited textiles and apparel “Made in the USA”?
    As talk of the China tariff war has been the headline of all news stories, I think it has shed light on how important it is to support our U.S. economy and produce domestically. Now, when shoppers see this tag, to them it indicates that they are supporting their economy and domestic production.

  10. 1. I do not think it is still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy. In 1980, American Giant made 80% of their clothing in the United States. Today, only 3% of their apparel is made in the U.S., which means 97% of their apparel is made overseas. Although globalization and trade deals has made goods cheaper, they also caused layoffs and implants closures. The gains of “Made in the USA” was not worth all the loss the companies were facing.
    2. American Giant’s goal was to make everything from start to finish in the U.S. They had a large challenge making the apparel in the U.S. due to all the factories being shut down. In order to overcome this obstacle, they created their own factories by using automation, which is a large strength to the business. They have opportunities to grow and make these factories even bigger in order to provide for a larger supply chain. A threat to their business is Eagle Sportswear, which is a company located in South Carolina, close to their factories, trying to accomplish their same mission.

  11. 1. Promoting American made products is meaningful to an extent but it holds a different meaning now. At one point Made in the USA indicated higher quality, especially in the past when it allowed more control and higher skilled workers. However, now places like China have the infrastructure to produce clothing of comparable quality and international communication is much more streamlined allowing more more transparency and control. As a result, domestic manufacturing is generally easier to associate with small or local businesses often providing a more artisan or heritage product. So on a micro scale, its meaningful to an individual who is able to attribute more intangible value to it, but from a wider economic point of view American manufacturing is a drop in the bucket making up only 3% of apparel sales and therefore very little economic impact overall.
    2. I would be interested in working in a mill or factory like this, but not for an extended period of time. In particular it would be interest in seeing how bringing in more machinery to improve efficiency without reducing quality or having to lay-off employees. Working with a small made in the US brand could act as a sort of test run to see if domestic manufacturing can compete with international and how it might do so.

  12. 1. Is it still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy? Why or why not? I believe that promoting “Made in the USA” is a very beneficial addition to a garment made and sold in America. The video describes the benefits of labeling this on a garment as it actually adds value to the garment. Customers who see made in the USA are almost surprised to see this on clothing as it has become rare for a brand to sell clothes that are made in America. Adding this label to a garment piece makes the customer feel a sense of pride, and helps the retailer by increasing the price of the product.
    4. Will you be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory as featured in the video after graduation? Why or why not? Personally, I would not want to work in a textile mill or garment factory after graduation. I have never considered a job in one of these factories as I do not wish to do manual labor in the future and would rather work as a buyer or social media marketer for a company. I believe that most or maybe all fashion students at UD would agree that they do not desire to work in a textile mill. Although these jobs are crucial to our industry, it is a very tedious and laborious job to have.

  13. 1. Is it still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy? Why or why not?

    In my opinion it is extremely important to promote apparel when it is 100% “Made in the USA”. In todays day and age many Americans are growing tired and angry with the jobs offshoring to cheaper paying nations. I think that many Americans will appreciate the American made products made by American workers paid fair wages. This is a not something that only the American economy will appreciate I think world wide a large population of consumers will find great meaning and value in American made garments. America is known as a great nation and many see it is as a nation of opportunity. I think that many people will look to purchase garments made in a country that is free and prosperous.

    4. Will you be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory as featured in the video after graduation? Why or why not?

    Personally I do not find a great interest working in a textile mill /garment factory. I have great respect for those who do but the fact of the matter is that that industry is moving more and more towards complete automation. Know this important detail I do not think I could commit myself to a career that soon will become obsolete. It is a scary and exciting thing knowing machines will one day do the jobs of many many people but for me I rather go into a field where automation is not as prevalent.

  14. Question #1: I think is it still meaningful to promote 100% “Made in the USA” products but I think its is, unfortunately, very uncommon. “Made in the USA” garments are usually more expensive because of higher costs. For those who want to support this industry, they must be willing to pay a higher price, but most consumers are not. American Giant is sourced and produced in the USA, and the step of sewing the garment is $17 more than if it was sewn in China. For some people knowing that apparel “Made in the USA” is benefiting working Americans is enough for some to purchase these goods.

    Question #3 The U.S.-China Tariff War has had an overall little affect on textile and apparel “Made in the USA.” It has been a conversation topic showing how politics and trade truly affect this industry. Hopefully it will make Americans think more about products that are made in this country and see them as a necessary investment. One of the reasons for the U.S.-China Tariff War is to help steer brands and citizens towards “Made in the USA” products, but I think this has been overall unsuccessful, and the want for low prices and outsourcing elsewhere are still factors.

  15. 1. First and foremost, I believe it is absolutely essential for the future of American production and manufacturing for “Made in the USA” garments to remain prevalent in the current times’ economy both domestically and globally. In accordance with the panel, topics such as the growing need for domestic production and the increasing utilization of new means of international sourcing were discussed in great detail. The most idealistic means of importing and exporting is to export far more than you import, at this point in time the US relies heavily on outside nations to provide us with goods and services to no end. However, to be able to achieve a 100% “Made in the USA” is very difficult but extremely rewarding if possible. It is essential of the US economy to continue to grow, develop, and industrialize in relation to domestic production and manufacturing and I hope that this discussion continues to be deliberated in classes to come.
    2. Truthfully, I have slim to no interest in working for a textile mill especially after receiving a degree in fashion merchandising I definitely want to veer more in the direction of buying and business as opposed to production and manufacturing. In fact, my goal is to work in a more marketing-directed role within the industry. Additionally, after seeing so many documentaries that serve as forms of enlightenment to viewers that showcase the true and honest cruelties that exist in so many factories worldwide, I would be very concerned for my safety if I worked in one.

  16. #1 I believe it is still meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s global economy. I think many consumers today, more so than ever, will appreciate the domestic production and value of these products. Today, only 3% of apparel is made in the US, meaning 97% of apparel is made overseas. With that being said, American produced products will allow our economy to continue to grow, develop, and industrialize. Additionally, we will able to offer more manufacturing jobs within the US that have started to diminish. Lastly, “Made in the USA” will give consumers the clarity and transparency that they are demanding for, with the relief that their products are made in safe and ethical working conditions due to more brands being able to control and regulate their relationships with the manufacturers.
    #4 I would not be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory after graduation. I have more interest in working in the buying sector of the fashion industry as opposed to their production and manufacturing side. I believe that a majority of the FM students at the University of Delaware would agree. Additionally, I fear that the technology/automation advancements will drive out many possible jobs. Which is something that I do not want to have to worry about when considering when choosing my career.

  17. #1. I think it is still meaningful to promote 100% “Made in the USA” products in today’s global economy. Even though many customers are used to seeing ” Made in China”, “Made in Vietnam” these labels, many customers value ” Made in the USA” tags. “Made in the United States” could be more transparent to tell customers the origin of prices and ensure labor conditions. Customers are willing to pay for a more compliant price, which helps fair competition, not for cheap labor from other developing countries. In addition, quality assurance in the United States and increasing employment opportunities in the United States are of great significance.
    #4. To be honest, I would not be interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory as featured in the video after graduation. Even though advanced technology and automated mechanisms could help workers to complete tedious and dangerous tasks, the overall work is usually repetitive. Meanwhile, as automation is more widely used in textile mill/garment factories, I want to engage in more “humanized” and flexible work.

  18. #1
    I think it is very meaningful to promote 100% Made in the USA because this is very rare within the fashion world. There are some consumers who would be more likely to buy a product if it was advertised as such. Since the apparel industry is declining in the US, this tag would be very important to a consumer like myself that wants to support the industry.
    #4
    I personally am not interest in working post graduation in a textile mill or factory because my interest lie else where. I am also not keen on the idea of getting involved in a part of the industry that is dying within my country. I also am not interested because it seems as though textile production is an industry involving a lot of deception, miscommunication, and the taking advantage of those below you.

  19. Question 1: I think it’s still meaningful to promote apparel that is 100% “Made in the USA” in today’s economy. I believe these because in today’s economy there aren’t an excessive number of products being produced in the United States and for those that are we should place a claim on them. I also think that since there isn’t a lot of apparel made in the U.S. that we should harness where the products were made and continue to push it towards the consumers that see an importance in American made products. I think that tag represents where and how the product was made and the quality is an example of that and it’s important for those products to be shown in order for others to understand that while the U.S. may source or produce elsewhere that they are not reliant and we are capable.

    Question 4: I’m not interested in working in a textile mill/garment factory after graduation because after everything I have learned, I want to learn more about the business side and selling to consumers and where the mistakes are there. I think that this has piqued my interest but I want to be a part of the change and someone that is more capable of speaking up and addressing the issues from the outside. Even though there’s a cycle of mistakes and even of good work, I want to be a person that ensures the outside changes if they need to. I also found my love within the sales aspect and adjusting brands views on what they are putting out into the world.

  20. Question 1: I think that it is very meaningful to promote 100% Made in the USA products because these are the products that will benefit American citizens the most by giving them jobs. If more Americans were willing to spend more to buy 100% Made in the USA products then I believe we would see the resurrection of many small businesses that had been trampled by superstores such as Walmart and Amazon. This would help American citizens by giving them jobs, without completely demolishing superstores. People who can afford to pay higher prices would be able to support American businesses while lower class Americans would still have the option of buying cheaper products that were imported.

    Question 4: Personally, I am not interested in working in a textile mill or factory post-graduation. I have never had any interest in this type of work, and I do not see much growth in the industry as automation takes over. I would not be confident that my job would be safe as technology advances.

  21. #1 In today’s global economy, I don’t really think it is meaningful to promote apparel 100% “Made in the USA”. Consumers are caring more and more about price rather than where their apparel is made, and even though American Giant hoodies are of fantastic quality, the average consumer does not want to spend that much for a hoodie. I think the best way for the industry to thrive is to source overseas.

    #2 American Giant’s strengths: The company creates clothing that has longevity and quality, and by manufacturing in the United States, the company is creating jobs.
    Weaknesses: The company has no choice but to price basic pieces at ridiculously high prices, such as the $108 hoodie. Consumers might be wary of buying such a basic item for that high of a cost.
    Opportunity: American Giant has the opportunity to create manufacturing jobs and bring back the hope that “Made in the USA” is still possible even in this globalized world.
    Threat: If consumers catch on to the superior quality of American-made and truly understand it’s benefits, other companies might start to feel threatened that consumers are finally understanding the importance of where their garments are sourced and the quality put into it.

  22. 1) I do still believe that made in the USA carries some meaning, but this depends on different people. Most people want their clothing cheap and readily available, and do not look at the garment label that tells the country of origin or they may not even know this exists. In this case, made in USA carries practically no meaning. But there are factory workers from the US, and their friends and family, who want to support US production and want to specifically buy these products.

    4) I am not interested in working in a textile mill/ garment factory. With technology, and what I have learned in college, I do not feel like I have the expertise for this. I also do not have the dedication or interest to be doing mundane tasks all day. I like the changing nature of fashion and I want to be challenged more behind the scenes/ in a business sense rather than in the production side.

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