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USA Garment Manufacturing

The covetous “Made in USA” label is tough to come by — especially in clothing and garments. The once-thriving textile and apparel manufacturing industry in the United States of America is now rare, and factories are difficult to find. Fortunately — Stylus Apparel is one such apparel manufacturer remaining in the United States, located just outside of New York City.

Choosing a manufacturer is one of the most important parts of starting your own clothing brand — or even just manufacturing your nationwide restaurant chain’s uniforms. Stylus Apparel and American garment manufacturing may be right for you. It’s important to consider the pros and cons of each, and to make the right decision.

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Garments: Made in USA Manufacturing vs. Overseas Manufacturing

Stylus Apparel: “Made in USA” Garment Manufacturing

At Stylus Apparel, we believe in American manufacturing and labor. Americans are demanding of quality, and American-made products have — both historically and in the present day — been in high demand all around the world. The American manufacturing standard was the best in the world for nearly a hundred years for a reason.

Many consumers believe that American manufacturing automatically leads to higher quality goods — and it does, at least when you choose Stylus Apparel. Our USA apparel manufacturing services provide high-quality, accessible domestic manufacturing for everyone from the small, start-up clothing brand to the globally known name.

Garment Manufacturing: American Jobs for American Workers

Apparel manufacturing in the USA strengthens the American economy -- and is a great selling point for your garments, too.

Apparel manufacturing in the USA strengthens the American economy -- and is a great selling point for your garments, too.

Stylus Apparel pays employees a fair wage. We are not a sweatshop and we do not condone sweatshop working conditions. The hands sewing or screen printing your garment are those of local, hard-working Americans — paid a fair wage, given fair treatment, and given career advancement opportunities.

We want to see the strength of the American worker and the buying power of their dollar to soar. We believe the best way to do this is by keeping our garment manufacturing services in the United States.

American Garment Manufacturing and the American Economy

“Americans spend more than $340 billion a year on clothes and shoes,”1 — and many prefer to buy products created domestically. This is especially true in the fashion and garment industry, where “American-made” and “made in USA” are selling points.

Stylus Apparel provides 100% made in USA apparel production services. We don’t have an office in New Jersey and a factory in China; our offices and apparel production are in the same facility. The majority of our apparel production is done in-house, in our very own facility. When we do outsource, we use other American manufacturers, shops, and distributors wherever it is possible to do so.

Other Advantages of Garment Manufacturing in the USA

  • If you sell out more quickly than you expect, you can restock much more quickly when using an American manufacturer. This is extremely important in the fashion world: if something is trendy and selling now, sell as much as you possibly can. Fashion moves at the speed of light, and trends come and go in an instant. Failing to take advantage of these trends, when they occur, is a huge mistake.
  • If “eco-friendly” and “environmentally friendly” are important to you or your customers, USA garment manufacturing is the only way you should go. American environmental protection laws are generally enforced strictly. Stylus Apparel makes every effort toward creating an environmentally friendly, sustainable business and garment factory in the USA.

Overview: “Made in USA” vs. Foreign Garment Manufacturing

Made in USA Manufacturing Overseas Manufacturing
  • Fair wage and treatment — strong USA labor laws
  • Worker safety is highest concern
  • Career and job security
  • Paid very little; sometimes treated inhumanely
  • Worker safety is often jeopardized
  • Potential for child laborers working on your garments
Economy & Money
  • Taxes paid to the USA (federal, state, and local)
  • Creates American jobs
  • Strengthens exportation
  • USA garment manufacturing is more expensive now — but it has a bright future
  • Taxes paid to foreign country and foreign state
  • Creates foreign jobs
  • Strengthens importation
  • Foreign garment manufacturing costs will increase with the global rise in living standards
  • American environmental laws and protections enforced
  • Newer, less wasteful and more efficient technology
  • Little oversight — dumping and pollution is a possibility
  • Often older, less efficient technology
  • Quality control processes generally better
  • “Made in USA” selling point: products will retail for more
  • “Made in USA” quality point: widespread consumer belief in American-made product superiority
  • Perceived lower quality by the consumer
  • Your garments could be involved with the next factory collapse or fire
  • Face to face meetings and communication with your manufacturer
  • Same language and culture — less possiblity for misunderstanding
  • Manufacturer can be verified by visiting factory
  • Phone or e-mail — or spend thousands in travel costs
  • Language and cultural barrier — more possibility for misunderstanding
  • No verification — your “manufacturer” may be outsourcing!
Intellectual Property
  • Strong copyright and intellectual property rights protections
  • Legal recourse if your idea or design is stolen — long history of copyright and IP protections
  • Potentially weak copyright and intellectual property rights protections
  • Little recourse if your idea or design is stolen or copied — international lawsuits difficult and expensive
  • Generally smaller minimums
  • May have huge (1,000+ piece) minimums
  • Fast turnaround: if a product sells much faster than expected, quick restock possible
  • Fast restock not possible: minimum three weeks just for shipping
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Overseas Garment Manufacturing

Manufacturing your apparel overseas can have unforeseen consequences and unintended costs.

Manufacturing your apparel overseas can have unforeseen consequences and unintended costs.

The Human Cost of Overseas Garment Manufacturing

As American factories shuttered, jobs moved overseas. This movement of labor was often at great cost, not only to the American labor force, but these foreign countries where our apparel production was outsourced.

Foreign garment and factory workers overseas earn pennies per day, and must fight for basic human rights (including bathroom and food breaks). Workplace safety is unheard of: we’ve all seen and heard stories in recent years of terrible fires and factory collapses. If that’s not enough — child labor is a very real problem in some parts of the world.

Even if you don’t care about this very real human cost, consider that the media shares photographs of these accidents. Having your brand or your garments associated with tragedy and inhumane working conditions will not be good publicity.

The Financial Cost of Overseas Garment Manufacturing

Bayard Winthrop, CEO of American Giant:

“Say you’re working with a manufacturer in Shenzhen, China, and you’ve just ordered 15,000 garments [shipped] by boat … When the shipment comes, you realize [the thread frays when the garment is washed]. What do you do about that?”

A company can either go to market with an inferior product and hope the customer doesn’t notice, or your company can do a secondary rush job to reinforce the stitching. The third option, equally unattractive, is to send the product back and lose 90 to 120 days in time to market …”3

The ethically unsound practice of shipping labor overseas is also financially insecure:

  • There’s more work and time spent orchestrating the operation of different factories in different parts of the world.
  • There’s more waiting for garments and goods to be shipped. This can quickly turn into a big problem (a 6+ week problem) if your overseas apparel manufacturer ships the wrong item.
  • Mistakes can be extremely costly: Maker’s Row founder Matthew Burnett lost $40,000 when experimenting with overseas manufacturers.2
  • You cannot restock quickly with a foreign manufacturer. You’ll need to wait three to four weeks for production, and then a minimum of three weeks for shipping. That’s almost two months of waiting for your product. In the fashion world, everything moves quickly: your failure to provide more garments can mean a huge revenue loss.
  • In the United States, there are protections for your designs and intellectual property. If an American manufacturer steals your idea, you can take them to court. If a foreign manufacturer steals your idea — or is even just careless and allows your idea to leak — you have virtually no recourse.

Manufacture Custom Apparel in the United States

If you are looking to create your own custom apparel, whether for a large or small brand, consider manufacturing in the United States. Not only is it the ethically responsible and fiscally sound choice, it can also be a huge selling point to your customers. There are many advantages to choosing United States apparel manufacturers such as Stylus Apparel — and many disadvantages to choosing foreign garment manufacturers.

Get an American Garment Manufacturing Quote


  1. NY Times
  2. Business Week
  3. Inc.
Stylus Apparel proudly manufactures garments and apparel in the United States of America.