Thrift Made in USA

Thrifting operations have changed gears somewhat – I feel very content with this direction my wardrobe has gone in and since I have shifted towards more made in USA items; I thought I would continue this Thrifting made in the USA bit I did a while back to show you that it can be done even on a dime. I approached it in two¬†different ways (and next, I’ll show you how you can shop made in USA in other stores too) – first at an actual thrift store (in this case Goodwill), and second at a re-sale store (at Crossroads trading). I surprisingly had similar results at both stores! The price points being a little different of course.

We’ll start with Goodwill! The only downside is that yes, you’ll have to sort through lots of things. Thrift stores have now become graveyards for cheap mall clothes, so it takes more time to find the hidden gems. But do not lose hope, gems are there to be found, even if you have to dig deeper.

A trendy black blazer by Aqua
Thrift Eye, thrifting, goodwill, made in usa

Or how about a vintage (had a made in USA label inside) midi skirt with oversized pockets?
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Surprise, this Betsey Johnson dress was made in the USA!
Thrift Eye, thrifting, goodwill, made in usa

A beautiful black party dress by Milly
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Summery and silky dress by Rory Beca
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Or how about a simple cotton dress by LNA?
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And now, moving onto Crossroads – stores like this will be less digging through, and consequently, prices will be much higher.

This well constructed coat was $50 and by St. John, you’d pay that much or more for a coat that was already falling apart the day you bought it new
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

My new go-to denim brand, J Brand
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

A bright dress by Cynthia Vincent
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Or how about this funky Marc Jacobs mainline skirt that yes, was also made in the USA
Thrift Eye, thrifting, crossroads trading, made in usa

My suggestions to you, is to always try something on before you buy and to resist the temptation to buy things that do not fit you (that goes without saying for any type of shopping!)

I didn’t buy any of these things, although the temptation was high – and I encourage you to ask yourself when shopping if you really NEED those things!

Made in the USA thrifting

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed my previous post and I loved hearing what you guys had to say about the topic! It will continue to be an ongoing discussion here! So I thought it would be a perfect chance to show you that yes, you can thrift Made in the USA too!

A few disclaimers first – I did not buy any of these things. I don’t need to buy anything right now (except a sister of the bride dress as you’ve seen), this was a journey to show you (and myself) that you can in fact thrift things that are Made in the USA. That being stated, I kind of want to point out that thrift store trends and how people shop now, it may be harder to thrift Made in the USA items because it’s easier for people to donate things that aren’t made in the USA and cheap. But also because if you’re buying something that’s of better quality, it’s harder to give it up to a charity store. So it may be harder, but not impossible!

The first store I visited was Wasteland – they specialize in gently used resale items (similar to Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, Plato’s Closet, Beacon’s closet, etc). Wasteland seems to stand out because it carries more vintage and more high end designers than most of the other stores (their prices are a little higher too sometimes). These are just a few of the things I found there.

A cute little vintage wrap dress
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A sexy Black Halo dress (pretty cool that it’s still in stores!)
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A summery Ella Moss dress
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A cute little Theory dress ***not all Theory brand is made in the USA, this was.
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And as a bonus, I saw these two pieces coming together and was tempted to buy. A very pretty silky Steven Alan top (it’s still in stores, but in other colors) and this awesome vintage knit skirt that was actually made in Japan, totally giving Sonia Rykiel vibes!
Thrift Eye

My next stop was an actual Goodwill thrift store! If it was hard at Wasteland, it was just that much harder at Goodwill for contemporary clothing because of the overwhelming supply of cheap trendy clothing, but you’ll also have some great pieces that are vintage!

A funky geometric printed vintage Bill Blass dress (I think if you could tie the bow around the waist, it would look better once on!)
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A punchy Ella Moss dress
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And a party or poolside ready Tbags dress
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Think about where your clothes come from, ask yourself do you need it in your closet. Be a conscious shopper – you can be conscious and fashionable at the same time, they’re not mutually exclusive! I hope you liked this little thrifting escapade, and hope to do more in the future that focus on the same topic!

An update to humanitarian fashion

Thrift Eye

So I wanted to do a big follow up to my post on thinking about fashion in a humanitarian and responsible way. Julie’s post at We So Thrifty put it into a bigger perspective, I highly recommend you read it. She makes a fantastic point that the fashion blogging community is hesitant to speak out about the subject, because a solution to the problem is to stop shopping – but if you’re a blog that tries to make money from links, partnerships, or things you sell, then you’re cutting into your own profits. It’s a super fine line to walk.

When I wrote my post originally, it came across as “don’t shop here, shop here instead.” Which is great, but a wonderful comment from Mai also gave another angle – the point being that yes thrift shopping is cheaper, but it STILL means shopping sensibly and responsibly. Binge shopping in thrift stores contributes to the waste and consumerism just as much as cheap binge shopping at Wally World, Forever 21, Target, H&m, et al. Shopping irresponsibly is still considered irresponsible no matter what store you’re in. Before you buy at a thrift store (or anywhere really), ask yourself where was this made? Does it fit me? Do I have something just like it at home already? Do I really love it? The point here is to begin seeing your wardrobe as quality over quantity.

For me, as a blogger and just a regular person, how this has manifested since I wrote the blog post over a month ago – I have thrifted once, and I ended up buying a pair of these Marc Jacobs heels for $8 (in above picture). They are of a great quality and of a color I don’t own. But was I tempted to get other things? Yes. Did I? No. I’m not quite sure how to handle the shoe situation, since finding shoes made in USA are harder at the moment. But thrifting is the biggest basket of shopping you can get – from high to low, you get the choice to choose what you want to buy.

I’m choosing to try my hardest to thrift made in USA clothing right now, not just for new clothes. It’s really hard, and I will feel better if I can keep that up, even if it means buying less! I spent January through May of last year without buying a single article of clothing and was still able to live and still able to blog ūüôā I think a lot of bloggers are fearful to try this or admit it because they want to give the impression that they’re shopping a lot and can stay on top of trends. When in reality, many bloggers are getting things for free (whether they admit it or not is a whole other subject), but it incorrectly projects more bad shopping/consumerist examples to other bloggers and to readers.

I’ve found a few charities that promote workers rights and sweatshop rights across the world – helping those stuck in those working conditions and connecting them to more sustainable jobs is a step in the right direction towards getting garment factory workers the rights to better wages and work in better conditions (if you wouldn’t work in those conditions, why is it okay for someone else to?)

So a big part of my other post was listing brands that are made in the USA – personally, I wasn’t aware that many of these brands made an effort to keep their business in the USA. But equally surprised about many brands that¬†don’t keep their business in the US! Please check out the previous post again to see the brands I listed already, here are a few more! But also be proactive and check the tags of your clothing!

I foremost must clarify that in the previous post I listed JBrand as made in the USA, but it has now come to my attention that this only applies to the denim line. Their non denim clothing is made in China. And this frequently happens with more and more brands, as to which you pretty much always have to check the tag yourself to see where it was made. So here are some more Made in the USA brands, if you have any other suggestions or even corrections, please let me know.

Edit: as of January 2013, I’ve gathered up all the Made in USA brands together at this page.

Black Halo
Clover Canyon
Cynthia Rowley¬†– although I’m not 100% sure if it’s the whole brand, can anyone provide insight?
Enza Costa
Doo Ri
Genetic Denim Рseems to only apply to denim
Goldsign Рagain, only seems to apply to denim
Haute Hippie
Jen Kao
Lela Rose
Nation LTD
Norma Kamali – mainline only, check tag
Paige denim
Rich and skinny
Rory Beca

Prices typically do end up higher, but you generally get that back in quality. Think of your clothing as an investment – I can buy something cheap and trendy from Forever 21 that falls apart quickly, or I can choose to buy something that spans trends, fits my personal style, and will last me years from another brand. Start out small, and eventually work this whole mantra into your wardrobe.

Now that more light has been given to the subject, are you starting to feel different about how you shop for clothes? I’m finally beginning to read Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline, I’m only one chapter in but can see that even she came to terms with her wasteful fashion consumption, so everyone can! I love that her website has a section called “Ten Simple Tips For a More Ethical & Sustainable Wardrobe” it’s many of the same tips I have provided here, but she has more useful information throughout the website!

tl;dr – shop less, but if you do shop, thrift, get vintage and/or buy made in the USA!

Made in the USA and humanitarian fashion : in the wake of the Bangladesh garment factory collapse

I think it would be rather irresponsible of me to not address the¬†disastrous¬†collapse of the garment manufacturing building in Bangladesh, especially now that the death toll has reached over 1000 people¬†at the time I wrote this article (since the numbers have been steadily increasing).¬†Is getting your cheap pair of pants (or whatever) really worth all these people dying? In 1911, the US had its own disaster known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in which 146 women died after a fire broke out in their building and they couldn’t escape after their employer had done many things to secure the building against theft. Our American workers were able to unionize and be vocal against bad conditions since then, why can’t people around the world have the same right?¬†This really isn’t a guilt trip post though – because I have been guilty as everyone else in caving into fast fashion and these dirt cheap prices in the past. But I know I have the power in my hands to change that right now.

Knowledge is #golden

My blog is called Thrift Eye  for a reason Рand by being very thrift focused, I remove myself one step from these unsustainable garment methods and consumption. The way I and many people see thrifting, it is a form of recycling. I can go buy  myself a brand new pair of pants from XYZ store at a really good price Рbut instead, I will probably buy myself a gently used pair at a fraction of a price, and probably of a better brand than what I would have bought new!

There are many benefits to thrifting and buying second hand. The first and obvious one is avoiding the consumerism that ¬†pushes these awful working conditions on people making clothes around the world. The second benefit is saving money – buying used typically saves you a fraction of what you would have paid new (although I will admit many thrift stores have gotten very greedy and charge exorbitant prices sometimes higher than new things!) A third benefit is that buying second hand, you are saving countless things from being sent to landfills! Many people have things they need to get rid of and will often throw away things they don’t need anymore – donating and buying from thrift stores stops a large portion of these things from going to the garbage. A fourth benefit is that many (not all) thrift stores act as non-profit charities to some degree. Many have different ways they give back to their community, whether it be through hiring people in the¬†rehabilitation¬†process, donating to larger charities, giving jobs to the developmentally delayed, providing the very poor with clothes, or other charitable circumstances (I like supporting those that impact the community). The great thing about the thrift-life is that it doesn’t just have to apply to clothes, think of all the things you can get at a thrift store!

Here is a¬†roundup¬†of my favorite thrift inspired posts written by my own hands! Like my favorite places to thrift in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Or my other recent post about how to mend things you thrifted that may have had a little damage. This post on how to maximize your thrifting and why I enjoy thrifting. A great photographic roundup of all the amazing things I found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Even a silly little post about the ridiculous kinds of things you find while you’re thrifting (like a really hilarious fake Louis Vuitton bag). Or this post about the bad/obsessive shopping habits the thrifting hunts brings out of you. Very soon, I’ll be working in a ‘my favorite thrift/secondhand fashion blogs’ type of post for your reading pleasure.

But the bigger picture really isn’t only about buying second hand – it also means supporting businesses that make their merchandise sustainably and humanely in the USA or (or in other countries if they can prove it! – remember, even some brands with the “Made in Italy” labels have been caught practicing bad fashion). You can buy new, there is no problem with that – but you have to realize that many brands make a huge effort to manufacture in the United States and pay their garment sewing employees livable wages so that they can work in comfortable conditions. The easiest way is to check your ‘Made In’ label – it will/should tell you where you garment was made obviously ūüôā but I have rounded up some brands that have made an effort to keep their brands and production (for the most part) in the US!

Edit: as of January 2013, I’ve gathered up all the Made in USA brands together at this page.

AG jeans
American Apparel – maybe you don’t agree with everything else¬†surrounding¬†the brand, but they keep it made in the USA
Anna Sui
Band of Outsiders
Brooks Brothers
Citizens of Humanity
Current Elliott
Earnest Sewn
Ella Moss
Graham & Spencer
James Perse – looks like almost all of it is made in the USA, the tees and tops are your best bet, check the label
Jason Wu
Lane Bryant – seems only some things are made in the USA, check the label
Nanette Lepore Рbut she has mentioned that she will outsource some things to China if the same quality is reflected
Nicole Miller
Rag & Bone
The Row
Steven Alan Рcan only vouch for S.A. items because the stores and website often sell other brands too
Three dots

Still there?! This is just what I was able to round up while I was able to figure out this post!

Sometimes and some of these brands can be expensive – there are people who can afford to buy these things new, some of us can’t. I like to look for things on sale just like the next person, but I often find some of these brands while thrifting too!

Remember you will always have some options like buying and wearing vintage clothing – or probably the best way to ensure your clothes come from a sustainable source, make it yourself! Many swapping outlets are popping up too (or start one yourself)!

This possibly is my goodbye letter to shopping for clothes at Target, H&m, Zara, Forever 21, and the likes (many of which I have not shopped at for years already!) When you shop at these types of places, you are enabling manufacturers and companies to keep wages low and conditions awful for these people working their asses off for your $5 shirt!

My post is an open conversation – PLEASE tell me about any more brands that are Made in the USA or if I got any of my information wrong! Tell me what you will do and change, or if you’re not changing anything at all too! Let’s figure out why it’s taken this tragedy to force companies to revisit their practices. As someone who blogs and enjoys fashion, this will be an ongoing conversation for me and I hope everyone else too. And as soon as my copy comes from the library, I will be reading Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline about this very subject!