This is part 2 of my 5 part series entitled “My Made in USA Wardrobe”. Click here for all the parts in this series.
Did you know that clothes can be a tool for change? 2 years ago, I made the resolution to quit fast fashion and only buy clothes that were made in the USA or thrifted for a whole year. On my purposeful fashion journey, I uncovered some amazing facts that reinforced my belief that our wardrobe choices can change the world around us.
I want to add the preface to this post that my heart and desire is to see a true revival of US manufacturing. Buying Made in the USA clothes and shoes has become a big part of my wardrobe purpose. The main thing I want you to take away from this post, above and beyond my talk of a made in the USA movement, is that your wardrobe choices can make a difference. Assign a purpose to your wardrobe, and consistently take action with your buying power.
The American woman has an average of 103 pieces of apparel in her wardrobe. When I read that, it sounded like a lot. So I took a rough inventory of all the clothes I owned. Let’s just say that I was *cough* on the high end of that statistical average. As I thought on this number, I realized that if every US citizen kept just 7 USA made garments in their wardrobe, we would stimulate demand for 2.2 billion made in the USA products. I went a step further and combined this number with my 9 years of experience in the apparel manufacturing industry. The result? That 2.2 billion made in the USA products would stimulate roughly 313,000 full time jobs. 313,000 jobs. Talk about amazing!
Check my math!
Check my math! I don’t mind. These numbers sound crazy when you think of something so simple as just keeping 7 Made in the USA items in your wardrobe, but here is the breakdown so you can see it for yourself!:
327,000,000 US Citizens in the United States at the time this statistic was produced.
Multiply 327,000,000 by 7 made in the USA garments and you get 2,289,000,000. Yes, I rounded down to 2.2 billion made in the USA products, just for sake of total fairness; but as you can see, the numbers are closer to 2.3 billion products!!!
I combined those numbers with my manufacturing experience: Here at Gracious May, one of our contact seamstresses produces an average of 20 finished units per day (of either clothes or shoes). This comes out to 7,300 units annually. Bonus: Gracious May’s contract workers have an above-average salary for wage earners ages 20-40. Just had to put that pro-ethical-manufacturing tidbit in there!!!
If you take that 2.2 billion US made product demand, and divide it by a 7,300 unit production capacity, you’ll find that we would create around 313,561.6 jobs.
Small actions performed consistently make a huge impact. 7 USA Made items in your wardrobe for 313,000 US jobs. I think it’s worth the effort.
Historically, clothing has been a tool for cultural revolution. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. I was recently profiling the career of one of the most well known fashion designers in the world. Though deceased, her name remains an icon in the high fashion industry. This woman revolutionized ladies fashion as we know it, creating previously unheard-of fashion trends. She became one of the most widely emulated trendsetters in history. When I read about what one fashion designer did through a few groundbreaking statement pieces, I was reinforced in my mission. Our clothes can make a difference.
Our wardrobe choices are already changing the world.
Today, only 2% of the clothes worn in the USA are actually made in the USA. This is down from 98% in the 1970’s! Now listen to this: since 2001, 60,000 US manufacturing facilities have shut down. Our wardrobe choices are already changing the world around us.
I read a statistic that says US citizens spend more money on shoes and accessories than on higher education (Psychology Today). Another statistics says that Americans spend twice the amount of time shopping for clothes than we do for food (Forbes). In order to use our wardrobe as a tool for positive change, we need to be purposeful with our wardrobe choices. We are already doing the shopping; we are spending the time and money, we just need to shop in a way that will benefit our local economy. Buying clothes and shoes that are made in the USA is my effort towards a positive change.
One of my goals in sharing my 2018 Wardrobe Resolution with you is to spark a Made in USA movement. I want to revive US manufacturing. I want people to realize that well-crafted products are worth their investment. I want people to know that when they buy a piece of clothing that is Made in the USA, their money stays closer to the communities that directly affect them.
There area lot of shrouded terms like “ethical fashion” and “conscious consumerism”. To be honest, it seems to me like everyone has their own idea of what these terms mean. As I’ve actually walked the walk of conscious consumerism and sought out purposeful fashion options, I have realized those terms boil down to something pretty simple. It’s really just this: know where your money is going, and make sure it supports what is right.
It seems like a small thing, to have just 7 made in USA items in your closet, but every effort makes a difference. Starting small is better than not starting at all. I want to steward well the resources God has given me. I want to avoid choices that are destroying the community in which I live. I want to make an effort to improve the economy in which I work.
By sharing my own journey, I want to encourage people to shop made in the USA clothes and shoes themselves. It is worth it to seek out value. It feels good to support people who are walking in the same shoes as you (no pun intended!).
If you want to see a change, you have to be willing to walk the walk. That was one of the things that hit me between the eyes at the onset of my 2018 Purposeful Wardrobe resolution. I hope that sharing my journey toward building and maintaining a purposeful wardrobe inspires you. I hope you will continue to follow as I share.
Don’t be afraid to start small. Great things starts small, and nothing is impossible with God. He can use one person, to do the work of a thousand; He can use a simple resolution to spark a movement.
Shopping Made in the USA clothes and shoes has been an eye opener for me. Hunting down the best made in USA clothing brands has been rewarding. Launching the Gracious May Marketplace to give extra exposure to these brands has been an exciting new chapter for my own business. The ripple effect that this simple Wardrobe Resolution has produced has exceeded my expectations.
Make the effort to shop Made in the USA clothes and shoes. Don’t be derailed by failure, just keep going. God’s grace gives us the ability push towards the vision He has planted in our hearts, despite our failures.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 3…
Until next time,
Grace // Co-owner and founder of the Gracious May Marketplace
Featured Made in the USA Product:
The Gracious May Mama jane is lightweight, flexible, with a better-than-barefoot feel! These shoes are designed to be sleek while providing an insane amount of comfort. Made by hand in Texas, USA!
“The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. ” Psalm 146:15-16