Meg Kinney was already producing most of her garments in the U.S. when factories in China closed because of COVID-19. And then shutdowns started happening at home.
“When it was in China, I thought it was untouchable,” said Kinney, owner of MEG, an independent clothing line. “Now, it’s totally a global thing.
Before the pandemic, Kinney, who has been in business for more than 25 years, manufactured 70% of her seasonal collections in North America—between the garment district in midtown Manhattan and in Canada—and 30% overseas in China, India and Portugal.
Economists say bringing garment manufacturing back to the U.S. could cushion the bleak job market that will linger even after the crisis.
“That requires different segments of the fashion industry to work together, so the fashion industry can create jobs in manufacturing,” said Yoko Katagiri, professor of economics at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Consumers will have to accept paying more for clothes with a “made in America” tag. Designers will have to remind consumers of the value of buying locally made clothes.
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