Denim designer Maurice Malone of Williamsburg Garment Company (WGC), an American denim brand manufacturing in the U.S., believes the U.S. garment manufacturing industry is poised for growth driven by small- to mid-sized brands. WGC is ambitiously doing its part to drive American infrastructure as it expands into manufacturing its own knit products and establishing a manufacturing line for others to utilize.
Why has manufacturing moved overseas
"Automation and foreign production didn't erode the American garment manufacturing industry, we did it to ourselves," says Malone, 30-year veteran of clothing design and production. "The goal of corporations is to maximize profits for investors. Contrast this against the Chinese philosophy of keeping people working by choosing larger volumes for smaller margins while sacrificing higher profit per piece."
Why has manufacturing moved overseas? Americans almost always choose to buy cheaper over buying American, which is why American producers not claiming the luxury sector must find ways to steamline the production process and offer a better product at competitive prices – as is the WGC goal.
Americans almost always choose to buy cheaper over buying American
As consumers seek lower cost products, companies move production to lower cost areas to stay competitive. This happens even if people want to see products made in America. In economics, the multiplier effect measures the circular flow of money and spending in a community. Money that is earned flows from one person to the other. From the factory workers' paycheck, to the businesses where they shop and into paychecks of employees at those businesses, the output becomes larger than the input. Conversely, when a factory closes its doors, less money is spent in the surrounding community reducing output from surrounding businesses. It all starts with the consumer's decision to buy American or buy cheaper.
Aiming to reverse the snowball effect, WGC believes that starting small and developing its own production chains within the United States will help reverse the outflow. For consumers, the goal as manufacturers must be to produce reasonably priced, completive goods. Unlike those who find it convenient to say, "you can't make that in the United States," Malone believes in "where there's a will, there's a way." As WGC grows, the company intends to be part of building a stronger supply chain.
Large companies could easily manufacture using their own or even cooperative U.S. facilities but in corporate America, where profit often is placed over people, this is unlikely. The rebuilding of American manufacturing has already begun thanks to small companies like WGC. "It's an uphill battle but we believe in becoming our slogan, The world's favorite American denim brand," Malone says.