It wasn't that long ago when most of the clothing & apparel that Americans purchased was made in the United States. In 1960-- it was 95%. When I was born (in the 80's), 70% of our clothing was made in the USA. So what happened to cause the decline? Lots happened. The global economy blossomed, trade deals were carved out (such as NAFTA in '94), the big clothing makers grew out of their shoes and got absorbed into larger companies, many which were publicly traded. Suddenly, shaving off cents per garment was a more important venture than heritage, community or even morals. In the 90's, sweatshops were rampant and many top clothing makers who left the USA were found guilty of employing these types of factories, whether they knew it or not. The low cost of materials & labor was too seductive. Small American towns were decimated when the main employers up and left, and lots of skilled workers were left without the means to practice their craft.
I think we all realize that this is a complex issue. Firstly, fighting a globalized economy this day and age is a loosing and futile battle. Companies like Patagonia make their wears in Asia, but do it responsibly and incredibly well. It's not up to us to point a finger and fault a company for wanting to grow and increase revenue. People need jobs everywhere, and the workers in many factories in Asia are happy to have their place of employment.
We started Victor (and Noble) with a firm belief in 'doing the right thing' and being an ethical beacon in the fashion world. As our founder often says "It isn't always the cheapest way, or the easiest way, but I think it is the right way.". We employ American factories because they are talented and members of our community. By investing in them, we help our community directly. Raising up your neighbors makes life better for everyone in the community and directly stimulates local economies, which is an affect that can be easily seen. Furthermore, it is less wasteful to make a product that has to travel 300 miles in it's cycle rather than 3000 miles. We chose to prioritize those values, take on those challenges and make it part of our brand. If others follow suit, we can change the trend and hopefully reinvigorate the hibernating industry of talented craftspeople, manufacturers and workers in our industry.
If this article interests you, I'd recommend you check out this book by Elizabeth Cline: 'Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion'.