0 comments / Posted on by Alexander Bass

If you walk in to any high end restaurant here in New York City you are going to see a lot of information on your menu; where the food is sourced from, how it was cared for, and what techniques were used to prepare it. More and more, consumers are starting to care about where their purchases came from. They want to be educated so they can make better decisions going forward.

The question we are posing in our inaugural blog post is; “Is the same thing happening in the fashion industry?”

Here at District Leathers we work on the front line of domestic fashion production. Nothing makes us happier than selling leather to local brands, manufacturing their goods domestically, for global consumption. From what we have been seeing, the same thing is being expressed by consumers.

All of the sudden, and almost out of nowhere, the label “Made in the USA”, “Made in New York”, or “Made in Brooklyn” means something. We hear stories of brands getting picked up in as faraway places as Japan simply for having these labels. So what is this all about?

Well one thing that may be helping to spur this trend is quality. It has been ingrained in fashion consumers that “Made in Italy” denotes a certain quality in the product. As a domestic supplier of leather, we can say with firsthand knowledge that New York boast some of the finest leather craftsman in the world. The products made in New York’s Garment District by companies like Coyote Leather, Barry Martin Fashion, IVEL International, Square Foot Craftsman, Sherry Accessories, Clutchmade, and Baikal among others is so top notch that I would be confident doing a taster-choice test with any of the Italian manufacturers. New York manufactures are not inexpensive, but their quality helps to explain why.

Another trend we are seeing is that brands are starting to do the math when comparing domestic and overseas production. For most, the actual cost of CMT (Cut, Make, and Trim) is drastically less overseas. But as shown in the table below, after you factor in the price of shipping the goods back to the US, prices can often be comparable. Also, many brands are choosing to pay a small premium for having a manufacturer they can talk to, visit, and watch as they make their product. As anyone could imagine, having product made a block or two away provides brands with incredible control and communication during the process.

Below is a table outline what some brands have been looking at in terms of domestic vs. oversees production…

OVERSEAS

 DOMESTIC 

RAW MATERIAL COST (35 SQ FEET @ $4.00)

$140.00

$140.00

CUT-MAKE-TRIM

$30.00

$125.00

SUPPLIER PROFIT MARGIN @ 20 %

$42.50

-

SHIPPING BY BOAT (INCLUDES DUTY, INSURANCE, BROKER FEES, DOMESTIC FREIGHT, ETC.)

$42.50

$10.00

ESTIMATE LANDED COST

$255.00

$275.00

 

 

We all know that price conscious brands are not able to think like this, just like McDonald’s can’t tell you how they get their burger meat. But for those consumer out there looking for a “farm-to-table” experience when buying a jacket this makes sense.

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