To a fashion executive, 'Made in NYC' means a few things: It's good for the fashion industry as a whole. It's good for marketing the brand specifically. And... it's obscenely expensive. There is no way to sugar coat this fact. It costs a lot of money to make product in the States. The costs are exponentially higher than manufacturing overseas and it makes the price of goods which are 'Made in NYC' high for the manufacturer and ultimately, for the consumer. Fashion is a quickly moving industry that rolls out up to seven seasons a year for brand faithfuls with constant pressure to deliver high-quality goods for good value. But producing clothes in the U.S. makes producing cheap goods nearly prohibitive. The catch-22 is that even if a company wants to produce in NYC, the hit on margins coupled with the reaction from customers about how expensive the goods are make it a complex business decision. CBS recently reported that 2 percent of clothing manufacturing is now done in the U.S., an alarmingly low figure in contrast with the 41 percent recorded in 1997.
Most recently, 'Made in NYC' has gone viral -- not for the fashion community, but for Silicon Alley entrepreneurs, incubating their ideas in the streets of Manhattan (literally on the streets, offices are a hot commodity for start-ups!) I love the solidarity of 'Made in NYC' across genres but hope that this slogan does not dilute the idea of manufacturing in NYC.
The garment industry -- such a vital, entrenched industry -- is woven deeply into the fabric and history of New York. I absolutely support making space for the tech industry to anchor itself too, however I hope it will remain widely understood that 'Made in NYC,' when it comes to apparel, emphasizes a clear values decision, not to mention an adjustment in a fashion company's financials. Decidedly producing product domestically creates inefficiencies for the company and costs explode. It is a true sacrifice -- in the name of helping to sustain New York's garment district and U.S. manufacturing jobs -- to manufacture in the States. I can only hope that the now muddled use of a once explicit term is able to press the "refresh" button to underscore its original meaning.
Å #MadeInNYC campaign for this purpose, you say? Yes, please! Who's with me? Stay tuned YouTube viewers and high-flying tweeters...