I love American-made products.
This past weekend, I attended the annual NorthernGRADE Fall Market in Minneapolis. Set among architectural antiques in a warehouse, NorthernGRADE is an American-made menswear tradeshow featuring, among other goods, Red Wing boots, Faribault Woolen Mills blankets, backpacks from Duluth Pack, notepads from Doane Paper, hats from Fur Armour, to Moonshine Coffee. All gems. It’s American, it’s man-made, it’s a little hipster, it’s pretty awesome. (If you can attend the one in Chicago in October, I highly recommend.)
This same weekend, the Sunday NY Times had an interesting story about Made in America fashion, featuring Made Collection and its sister advertising agency, Made Movement, which only takes clients who make their products in the U.S. An impressive group. In the recession, buying American has become chic. Many of these companies have thrived, both in the U.S. and abroad. Heritage brands, like Red Wing Shoes and Faribault Woolen Mills, have seen a popular rebirth in this recession.
Like the ® symbol, made in America indicates a source of the goods and a quality associated with the goods. With so many people interested in quality American-made wares, why is it so difficult to find the gems that exist at a NorthernGRADE show? One of my biggest gripes, which the NY Times article highlights, is the archane appearance of “Buy American” websites. I can easily find companies with registered trademarks, it shouldn’t be so difficult to find American made products. What can we do to make American-made a more prevalent consumer choice?