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Technology & Innovation

Why The “Made In USA” Label Isn’t Enough

All other things being equal, Americans tend to choose foreign-made items of clothing because they believe they're more affordable than identical domestic-made versions.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

According to a study recently published in Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, Americans have a tendency to overvalue clothing made in the US, leading them to favor identical clothing that was made overseas. University of Missouri professor Jung Ha-Brookshire asked consumers to determine the value of clothing made in different countries. A domestic-made shirt, using US cotton, was estimated to cost 42 percent more than a similar shirt made in China. Consumers’ estimated value of a shirt made in China with US cotton was only 17 percent higher than an entirely Chinese-produced shirt.

What’s the Big Idea?

Domestic items of clothing that are perceived to cost more simply won’t sell as well, according to Ha-Brookshire. However, the difference in estimated value between an entirely “Made in USA” product and one made overseas with US materials suggests that the suppliers of those materials need to better educate consumers so that their products will sell. Ha-Brookshire says, “Currently, retailers are only required to indicate where the apparel was manufactured or sewn, but if consumers could see that apparel produced in China was made with US cotton, they would probably be more likely to purchase it.”

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