12 American Brands That Design And Produce Clothing In The U.S. For A Little Dose Of Healthy Patriotism And Fair Fashion

If you're anything like me, John Oliver's recent Last Week Tonight segment on fashion production made you double check all your clothing tags and ask yourself when the last time you bought clothing made in the U.S. from a conscious, honest retailer actually was. Personally, I usually pay no mind to clothing labels, admittedly not really taking the time to figure out where my clothes get made.

To be honest, the idea that fashion is actually made in America rarely crosses my mind. I, like the hoards of the American public, buy into fast fashion, trying my best to purchase trendy pieces at low costs — and understandably so.

On the surface, it just doesn't make sense to spend a ton of money for, say, a romper you'll wear for maybe three months tops when it's available for cheap at a large chain store. But as the Last Week Tonight clip and innumerable in-depth articles demonstrate, if consumers just slightly scratch through the cheap-and-chic sheen, incredibly problematic employment and basic human rights violations of hundreds of thousands of workers across the world shine through.

To learn more about that, I point you in the direction of the Last Week Tonight segment and written pieces like this 2013 Slate exposé. But here I hope to talk a bit about the three percent of brands that are manufacturing a large chunk, if not the entirety, of their products in the United States. Certainly, "buying American" doesn't solve every problem, nor should you ever limit yourself to only buying products from your home country, obviously, but the brands doing it right provide a shining example of fair fashion and are definitely worth noting.

by Melissa L. Haney

Jason Wu

One of the most well-known high-fashion designers to manufacture in the United States, Jason Wu indeed produces 90 percent of his collection within the confines of the Garment District in New York City.

A Taiwanese-Canadian who moved to New York to attend Parsons School of Design, Wu (at only 32 years old) consistently produces critically acclaimed collections full of clean, intricate detail season after season. And, of course, he also found time to design both of Michelle Obama’s stunning Inaugural Ball gowns.



It’s hard to even begin to describe the coolness that is Shinola. Based in Detroit, the company transformed a vacant, raw space in the city into a 30,000 square-foot watch manufacturing space populated by local employees.

But more than just watches, Shinola also produce high-quality (and super chic) leather wallets, bags, journals, and even bicycles, all constructed with American materials within the United States.

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Nanette Lapore

Like the other high-end fashion designers on this list, Nanette Lapore strives to create around 85 percent of its clothing in America. Based in New York’s Garment District, the American production of much of Nanette Lapore’s brightly colored and whimsical ensembles comes as result of Lapore’s concerted effort to save local manufacturing and to disprove any misconceptions about outsourcing production. In a 2013 interview with TIME, the designer spoke about the preconceived notion that America is too expensive:

”That [American production is too expensive] is a fallacy…If you’re at my price level [Lepore’s dresses range from $200 to $500], a little below or definitely above, you can manufacture a gorgeous product in NYC and make a profit. I know because I’ve been profitable here for the last 12 years.”

Supporter of the Save the Garment Center campaign, Lapore is committed to spreading the message of “made in America,” and does so with clothes well worth a few extra dollars.


Hanky Panky

Founded by Gale Epstein in 1977, lingerie brand Hanky Panky has always stayed true to its made in America ethos. 100 percent of the fabrics used to create Hanky Panky products — from knit fabrics, trims, and lining — is produced in the United States, setting the brand (which takes its name from Epstein’s very first attempt at making a lingerie set out of handkerchiefs, or “hankies”) far above the majority of large lingerie manufactures.

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Headed by creative director Kimberly Gordon, Wildfox Couture produces the majority of its vintage-inspired sweatshirts, tees, and bathing suits in the United States (save for its White Label, which, as the company transparently acknowledges, is produced in Hong Kong).

Born in the U.K. and raised in California, Gordon’s Anglo-American roots seep through into all the Cali-cool designs, which consistently feature nods to pop culture from both sides of the pond. As a result of local production, each piece of the same design is different than the next, granting the brand an even deeper uniqueness than that which comes from making sweatshirts emblazoned with kitschy prints and phrases.

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Pamela Love

From its beginnings in its namesake’s Brooklyn apartment to its current status as one of the coolest American jewelry lines, Pamela Love’s design ethos has been rooted in handmade, local production. Currently based in New York’s Garment District, Pamela Love creates some amazing artisan (and truly one-of-a-kind) pieces that certainly stand out among the mass produced masses.

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Oscar De La Renta

By now, the story of Oscar de la Renta should be something of old hat. Born in the Dominican Republic, immigrating to the U.S. only to then go on to dress the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Oprah Winfrey, and Karlie Kloss, de la Renta established himself as one of the most quintessential of American brands.

Key to such popularity (along, of course, with the timeless and innovative designs), was a commitment to American production, evident in the palatial Garment District studio still used to churn out all de la Renta garments emblazoned with the “Made in U.S.A.” label.


Paige Denim

Paige Adams-Geller made her first pair of jeans in Los Angeles in 2004, becoming the first only female founder of a denim brand. Eleven years later, the production of Paige Denim remains in sunny L.A., a town Adams-Geller understandably deems the ”denim epicenter.” Where else but California, the capital of casual-cool, to design and manufacture a pair of great jeans?

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The Row

It’s no secret that CFDA Womenswear Designers of the Year, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, know a thing or two about fashion. Something not so universally known, however, is the fact that the production of The Row’s ready-to-wear line happens in the United States. The looks themselves already capturing a sleek, classic American style, the American manufacturing of each piece makes the line all the more appealing.

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Prabal Gurung

Born and raised in Nepal, Prabal Gurung moved to New York City to complete studies at the Parsons School for Design, soon after landing a job at Cynthia Rowley, eventually becoming design director at Bill Blass, where he remained for five years before designing his own eponymous label, upon which he said the following:

“95 percent of my collection is done in New York and five percent is done in Nepal, because the cashmere is made in Nepal. For me it’s a very conscious decision to make in New York. It’s been a commitment from me as a designer, as a brand and it’s my way of giving back to this country that gave me this dream.”



Founded in 2005 by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Rodarte stands as sort of the epitome of American couture. Designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, Rodarte created a niche all its own in the fashion industry, creating a brand defined as much by its American aesthetic as its American production.


Anna Sui

Detroit native and longtime New Yorker Anna Sui defines what it means to be an American fashion icon. Over her years in fashion, she’s designed a flower-child-meets-urban-jungle aesthetic all her own, and she’s done so all out of her Garment District studio, where over 85 percent of her clothing is still manufactured for sale.