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Designer to announce new effort to boost US apparel sector
19
Jul '12
Following the news that the Olympic opening ceremony uniforms that will be worn by American athletes are entirely made in China—spurring bipartisan outrage and resulting in new commitments by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to make 2014 uniforms in America—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced a new effort to boost domestic apparel and textile manufacturing. Brown is introducing a “Buy America” plan to ensure that the federal government purchases apparel that is 100-percent American made. Current Buy America statutes require that only 51 percent of these products purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars be “made in America.”

“Manufacturing helped make this country great. Good-paying manufacturing jobs have allowed hundreds of thousands of Americans to buy homes, send their children to college, and retire with security. But for too long, we've seen American manufacturing jobs—including textile and apparel jobs—shipped overseas due to unfair trade that has stacked the deck against American workers,” Brown said.

“We know how to make things in America, and the textile sector employs more than half a million workers in the United States—which is why the federal government should be purchasing, whenever possible, apparel that is domestically produced. With our widening trade deficit, we should be doing everything we can to support American manufacturing and job creation.”

Brown was joined by Nanette Lepore, a native of Youngstown, who began her fashion line in New York City in 1992. She continues to use American manufacturing facilities to make her clothing line, which is sold in stores and boutiques across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Lawson Nickol, the founder of the All American Clothing Company in Darke County, also joined Brown on the call.

Nickol, who addressed the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting in Washington at Brown’s invitation, discussed his experience as an Ohio small business owner competing in the apparel industry. Nickol founded All American Clothing Company in 2002 after learning that his previous employer was outsourcing some of its work to Mexico.  The company has experienced growth every year since its inception.  Nickol now has plans to expand the business and create more jobs in southwest Ohio.    

“Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio I watched what happens when manufacturing jobs leave our shores. Manufacturing in the United States is an economic solution, and it has always been a smart and ethical business practice for my company,” Nanette Lepore said. “Senator Brown’s “Buy America” policy is vital, and will create more jobs in the American factories that need it now.”

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