Most of us like to know where the items we purchase come from. There’s something reassuring about being able to “connect” with the farmer, rancher or producer of what we eat, use or, for that matter, wear. Knowing where that box of hand-picked apples that you purchased at the corner farmer’s market, or the handmade chair from the shop down the block came from has an appeal, even to those of us living in the city.
All American Clothing has tapped into that fact. The 11-year-old company, which says it uses only U.S.-based materials and labor, knows that part of its notable success over the past decade is due to its promise to keep what it produces “made in America.”
And it isn’t afraid to prove that point.
Customers can log on to All American’s website, punch in the trace number listed on the jean label and bring up a Google map of where their jeans were made. And we’re not talking about which geographic region of the country, but the actual county of the particular state (in this case, Texas) and the farms that grew the cotton.
The real benefit of this kind of “traceability” information is that consumers can learn not only about who produced the materials, but what makes that U.S.-based farm unique, whether it’s the operator’s commitment to not using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the innovative irrigation procedures, or just the fact that the farm has weathered the industry for more than a century.
Readers can also learn about the manufacturing process that goes into each pair of jeans as the cotton is milled by the American Cotton Growers and woven and stitched into clothing at Arcanum Jeans in El Paso Texas.
Will All American’s interactive traceability feature lead to more companies visually mapping out their supply chain for customers? To some degree, it’s already being done by companies that candidly share how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
But right now, at least, traceability (for the customer’s interest) has its price. At $69 per pair, some customers may be intrigued, but not incentivized enough to make the switch.
Still, according to Crissa Shoemaker DeBree, All American Clothing Company’s focus is part of a trend that is growing stronger, thanks to consumer input.
A number of companies have built their sales revenue on a commitment to made-in-America products and services. Specialty clothing manufacturer Tyndale USA and New Jersey-based Viking Yacht Company both cater to niche markets and do well with their made-in-America labels.
U.S.-based companies like All American Clothing that stand by their tag line and use innovative approaches to educate the local consumer may be what it takes to encourage the eco-savvy, cost-conscious American to pay more for that most basic of American products: jeans.
Photo Made in USA courtesy of V4711
Photo of cotton courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.