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By Scott Wicken

Scott Wicken is an apparel industry professional and blogger living in Los Angeles. He writes his own menswear focused blog Sigtweed & Corduroy, and can be found on Twitter at @sigtweed. 

What began as a subtle ‘changing of the tide’ has become a full-scale groundswell: “Made in the USA” is back. American made menswear goods and accessories have been enjoying an increasing level of popularity and prominence in the last few years, and this movement is showing little sign of slowing down. “Made In The USA” once again has cache, but these goods and accessories command a price to match.

This rebirth was kicked-off primarily by the resurgence of traditional American style elements within menswear trends and designs. In the early to mid-2000s, an increasing influence and popularity of American style elements such as prep, blue collar influenced workwear, and West Coast surf style began to creep into large-scale European and American menswear collections. Within a few years, bright, preppy, colorful, East Coast traditional style and woodsy flannel and chambray permeated all elements of the menswear spectrum. Gentlemen in Milan, Tokyo, and Paris were dressing like Cape Cod prepsters and Midwestern Loggers, with bight polos and beards to match. Menswear was now cultivating a full-blown love affair with American style - and it was getting hot and heavy. Sales of goods from classic American brands like Brooks Brothers, Polo, and Tommy Hilfiger exploded. As menswear itself began to boom, consumers all over the world, particularly in Europe and Japan, clamored for the real deal.

Goods manufactured and designed in the USA were now viewed as more authentic and subsequently demand grew. Old school, tradition-rich American brands like Red Wing, Filson, Levis, Woolrich, and others enjoyed prominence and matching spikes in sales, particularly overseas. Stylish men in the US soon followed suit and begun dressing like 50’s Madison Avenue ad men and blue-collar workers. This growth and cache still continues today. A new crop of American designers and clothing labels have emerged, bearing the torch of American style and continuing the tradition of high quality, American made menswear goods. Brands like Band of Outsiders, Ovadia and Sons, and American Apparel add modern sensibilities to traditional design elements. Los Angeles has become the epicenter of denim, with many companies manufacturing their goods in the city of angels. Even European companies have gotten into the game and have begun incorporating American manufactured elements into their collections. Rag & Bone, founded by two Englishmen, makes many of their goods in the USA and uses one of the finest and oldest New York tailors to design and create their high-end suiting.

With an eye towards continued growth on the US economy and a return to the days where a large portion of high-quality clothing was made in the US (rather than Asia), this homecoming to glory signals an important and positive step towards creating a successful and sustainable clothing industry in America. As demand for authentic, well-made and ultimately stylish menswear outpaces the over-riding “all about the bottom line” insistence, continued evolution will take place. Here’s to hoping “Made In The USA” continues to be more than just a hot trend.

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