And ethics, as they see it, sharpens their competitive edge. With every sale comes peace of mind: customers won't feel guilty of anonymously subscribing to child labor, environmental pollution, American job loss or quality control issues with this label.
Designers Asia Lee and Hillary Osgood, owners of Le Posh Noir, take as much pride in providing competitively priced apparel as they do in stitching labels onto their products marked “Made in the U.S.A.”
The two designers think it's important their custom fashion designs are enduring and their goal is to reflect American values and taste.
According to the book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion , about 97 percent of apparel bought in this country today is produced abroad - almost twice the amount imported since the 1990s.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average American consumer spent $1,740 on apparel and services in 2011. This is the kind of statistic enticing apparel companies to strategize a more cost-effective business model to get their clothing lines into your closet and keep more of your cash.
Each season, apparel retailers fill up their stores with the latest fashions, colors and materials challenging consumers to decide between taste and budget. While last year's fashions hang forlornly on discount racks, consumers are bombarded with the latest glitter and designs as soon as they enter the store.
What designers are thinking
What goes through designer's mind when dreaming up ways to entice you to buy their brand? For Lee and Osgood, the thought process first starts with what's important.
“For us, it’s all about fabric, style, innovation and pride - as designers and Americans.” Lee said. “We’re proud to design clothing for the American taste and lifestyle. We feel it’s equally important to produce our designs locally and also be innovative enough to find the right material and keep cost at a manageable level without resorting to overseas manufacturing.”
One advantage of local manufacturing is it gives designers the ability to check in and ensure their standard of quality is being met.
“It’s important to us to make our clothes here for several reasons,” Lee added. “First, it gives us more quality control over the clothes. We can see and focus on the quality of clothing and make sure it's exactly what we want it to be. Also, we don’t want to have any connection with child labor that may happen at overseas locations.”
Deciding where to make the apparel is just one part of the thought process. Before the designs go to manufacturing, many other decisions have to be made, such as what fabrics to use.