From sourcing raw materials and transforming them into garments, to the distribution network by which clothes are delivered to consumer’s doorstep after a late night of online shopping — the supply chain of the fashion industry is quite complex. The process can include millions of people and span multiple countries. In recent decades, there has been an increased demand to get the latest trends from the runway at an affordable price, resulting in a fast fashion culture. This demand has put a strain on the supply chain, prioritizing speed and affordability over ethical production and environmental impact. It’s common knowledge that brands often take advantage of cheap labor and raw materials in other countries, not thinking about the human and environmental consequences. However, when a company manufactures in America, that doesn’t necessarily ensure fair wages and ethical treatment of makers. So what’s the real deal with Made in USA brands?

In Los Angeles, the hub of U.S. manufacturing, unfair wages and dangerous working conditions are prevalent. Recent news has reported on fast fashion brands like Fashion Nova paying California garment workers who work 10 to 11 hours shifts as little as $300 to $400 a week — and lack of ethics doesn’t just show up in paychecks. The Los Angeles Times reported on the lack of health and safety measures at Los Angeles Apparel, where a Covid-19 outbreak led to over 300 infections and four virus-related deaths, calling it “the worst coronavirus outbreak of any business in the country.”

The COVID-19 outbreak has only highlighted wage gaps, lack of transparency, and safety issues that have long been present in our own backyard. It’s not enough to simply trust a Made in America clothing tag and assume that because a garment was made in the United States, it was made ethically or sustainably.

With that said, Remake’s Seal of Approval process takes a look a brands’ transparency all the way from raw material collection to the wages and treatment of garment makers who literally stitch together your clothing. If you’re wanting to buy Made in U.S.A., start with one of these 13 American fashion brands curated from our Sustainable Brand Directory, where brands must score well across the board — both in ethics and environmental impact — to receive our seal of approval.

13 “Made in USA” Brands We Love

 

 

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Christy Dawn’s vintage-inspired designs are classic pieces made from deadstock fabric. The entire collection is sewn in a factory in Los Angeles, where the corporate team also works. By repurposing deadstock fabric, Christy Dawn prevents these fabrics from ending up in landfills. Employees working in the factory are paid a competitive wage and receive health benefits, a perk that is rare among manufacturing in the fashion industry.

 

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Melissa Joy Manning’s conscious collection of fine jewelry is one to bookmark for responsibly-sourced rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. The one-of-a-kind collection is truly breathtaking and will leave you wanting nothing more than to support the brand. The jewelry production uses 100% recycled metals and each piece is handmade in the United States. As an added bonus, the studios have a zero-waste policy. Using post consumer packaging materials, carbon offsetting for shipments, and reusing or recycling all scraps, it’s safe to say protecting the environment is a top priority at Melissa Joy Manning.

 

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MANTA is every minimalist’s dream. From classic shapes to modern cuts, each swimsuit is made from recycled nylon fibers harvested from abandoned fishing nets that would otherwise threaten marine wildlife. Janeane Marie, the founder of MANTA, aims to create suits that will last season after season. The collection is entirely produced in America, which helps the brand to stay committed to humanitarian practices across the entire supply chain.

 

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Count on Mara Hoffman for timeless designs with a fresh twist. Her prints and patterns will stand the test of time no matter what the current trend is. Prioritizing natural, recycled, and organic fibers, Mara Hoffman aims to reduce environmental impact and generate awareness around sustainable fashion. A large portion of the Ready to Wear collections are made in New York City and the swimwear line is made in Los Angeles.

 

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HFS Collective specializes in wallets, belt bags, and purses. The water bottle bag provides a chic option for carrying water on summer hikes. The bags are the perfect accessory for any occasion from Sunday brunch to Coachella. HFS Collective uses materials that fall under four categories: recycled, upcycled, deadstock, or low-impact. Each bag is made in Los Angeles by a family-run factory.

 

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A one-stop-shop for every wardrobe basic. From the cult favorite Classic Crew T-Shirt to sustainable workout sets, Groceries Apparel prioritizes comfort with 100% GMO-free, Pesticide & Herbicide-free, Recycled & Fair-traded materials. The California based factory ensures fair conditions and a lower carbon footprint across the supply chain. The ingredients used in manufacturing include organic cotton, eucalyptus, recycled plastic, hemp, recycled cotton, and vegetable dye. The pieces from Groceries Apparel are sure to last a lifetime.

 

 

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This contemporary womenswear brand based in New York City utilizes responsible fabrics, ethical production, zero waste, and a slow fashion schedule. Study NY is transparent about how each piece is made from the raw materials used, to where it was imported from, to the manufacturing location. Tara St James explores a minimalist aesthetic through her designs. Each collection investigates a different sustainable initiative. From zero waste to natural dyes, Tara is always looking for new ways to design with a low impact.

 

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Nightswim is a swimwear brand focused on made-to-order pieces to avoid overconsumption. The company works with a garment manufacturer in Los Angeles that reflects the same high standards of sustainable and ethical practices as Nightswim. By using digital printing, bio-cassava bags for packaging, and recycled fibers like rayon and recycled P.E.T, Nightswim has lowered their environmental impact at every stage of the supply chain.

 

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Thunderpants USA is an off-shoot of the family owned and operated company based in New Zealand. Ethical manufacturing, sustainable business practices, and high quality designs are at the core of everything Thunderpants does. Each piece is made in Portland, Oregon with organic cotton and the fabric is printed using water based inks and dyes. Thunderpants partners with Evergreen Apparel Manufacturing which pays living wages and treats their employees with dignity and respect – all while minimizing their environmental impact!

 

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Dolores Haze is an NYC based brand focused on feminism and advocating for human rights. Pieces are made in production facilities that provide fair wages and a safe work environment. Eco-friendly materials and deadstock fabric are used for minimal environmental impact. Each piece includes a description on where the materials were sourced for full transparency between the company and the buyer.

 

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Harvest & Mill specializes in non-toxic, 100% dye free basics. The collection is perfect for work from home outfits. Pieces are made from 100% USA organic cotton fabric and everything is made in California. From the fabric to packaging, all of Harvest & Mill’s materials are compostable. On top of this, CO2 neutral shipping is complimentary for all orders placed online to offset the environmental impact of shipping.

 

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A post shared by Todd Shelton (@toddsheltonusa) on

Tom Shelton is a clothing company geared towards those wanting timeless style and minimal design. All products are made-to-order to avoid waste and manufactured in New Jersey. Fabrics are made with natural, biodegradable fibers and no plastic bags are used in customer shipments. Tom Shelton practices slow fashion and therefore avoids marketing practices that lead to unhealthy consumer behavior such as frequent product drops and ‘last chance’ sales.

 

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Neococo partners with resettlement agencies such as the International Rescue Committee, Program for Torture Victims, and LA Downtown Women’s Center to enable women refugees to work in a safe environment and contribute to their families. Neococo designs feminine embroidered t-shirts that speak to women empowerment and women’s rights. Profits go directly to helping create jobs for women refugees and displaced women, helping them through resettlement.

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