How Patriotism and Pragmatism Drive Domestic Apparel Production
By Genevieve Scarano | Sourcing Journal
Casual and chic come together for Shabballa’s women’s wear lineup. Founded last year by Shab "shabbella" the LA-based brand consists of soft bralettes and compression leggings, which reflect consumers’ busy lifestyles and grew out of the designers stint as an NFL and NBA cheerleader, who also designed her team apparel.
SJ: Why did you decide to pursue a domestic supply chain?
SS: This was an easy decision because as the founder and creative director, I am very hands on during the production phase of our brand. From concept to finish, I work closely with my manufacturing team to ensure an outstanding product with both fit and finish. Having the luxury of going in and physically altering samples is very important to me, and I consider it a blessing. My team is patient and thorough, and if any changes need to be made, we get it done in a timely manner. It makes me feel good knowing I can walk in any day to my fabric house and manufacturing house, and track the progress of our orders.
SJ: Why is this a good time for American-made fashion?
SS: I believe it is a good time for Made in the USA because our country, since the recent election, is really focused on making America great again. And I feel that keeping jobs and production in the USA is important to our customers and our partner retailers for this simple reason. We support each other!
SJ: What are the pros/cons of making your collection here?
SS: There are only pros for me…being made in the USA from a designer point, means I get to be hands on, and we don’t deal with communication conflicts caused by time differences. Although you are paying more, again, this goes back into our economy and supports our neighbors, so in the end, its still a pro. Our customers understand this concept, and they are also willing to pay more to support our brand and the very people that cut and sew and put it together.
SJ: In terms of competition, have you seen more entrants in the Made in the USA space?
SS: This is a difficult question for me to answer because I believe in living an abundant lifestyle where your only competition is the you from yesterday. Am I noticing more companies drive their brands to made in the USA, I don’t think so. I think the companies that started off made in the USA are trying to remain here. And those who are overseas are maintaining that.
I do believe it is a luxury to have a manufacturer willing to partner with a brand to make it Made in the USA. I have noticed some factories closing due to costs or possibly having undocumented workers. I am grateful to have a great team behind my brand that helps me, as an emerging designer and fashion line, maintain my brand identity and being Made in the USA is a big part of that.
SJ: Do you see U.S. protectionist trade polices as a potential boon for U.S. production?
SS: Yes! And I think this is a great thing. It may be difficult, and we will see an increase in pricing but like I mentioned before, if the customer connects with a brand, they will pay the extra to support the economy. Shopping eco-friendly has a whole new meaning—its “economy-friendly”—that customers will appreciate.
SJ: What other initiatives do you have in the works?
SS: When our customers buy Shabbella, they should know they are supporting the economy…supporting our cutters, our sewers, our fabric makers, our label makers. There are so many people involved in making one garment, even just a tee shirt! We are really proud to give back to our community through charities that benefit those in need and some athletic programs. What’s made in the USA, should stay in the USA.