We here at the shop get asked all the time - "What does Made in the USA mean?" or "Why is Made in the USA better" or (if we're being honest), "Why is Made in the USA clothing more expensive?"
Well. There's a lot that goes into this label. Having clothing that's Made in the USA ensures workers are being compensated fairly for their labor. The clothing industry has lots of hidden costs (setting aside the notion of environmental degradation that often results from clothing produced in India/China/Bangladesh /Honduras, et. al.), but impact on workers is one we believe to be of the utmost importance. Somebody has to make your clothing, and often that person (if manufacturing overseas) is toiling for 12-14 hours per day and making less than $1/hour for their labor. Manufacturing domestically, or in Europe or Japan (as the shop features plenty of clothing from these far-flung locales) helps to alleviate this inequity, ensuring workers are compensated fairly for their skilled labor. Additionally, it ensures that garment workers are not working in substandard conditions that may be harmful to their well-being.
In addition to impact on workers and the environment, a lot of clothing produced in the Third World is very cheaply and poorly made. Companies cut corners on almost every aspect of the production process with poor stitching and cheap materials, resulting in a garment that fits improperly and falls apart after a few washes.
The United States, particularly the Garment District in New York City (which produces both Corridor and Sock Hop, which we sell here at the shop) is home to some of the most skilled garment workers in the entire world, bar none. You can see that quality when you pick up a shirt and see the finishing on the seams or feel the sumptuousness of the material. Producing clothing domestically is certainly not cheap, but it ensures you're getting a garment of utmost quality and the workers producing it are being paid fairly for a skill they've worked years to hone.
Steve McQueen is renowned as a style icon the world over - his ethos of simple and functional style has built entire empires - His influence can be felt all the way from the Todd Snyder + Champion collection to the Americana-loving French brand Cuisse de Grenoiuille. Perhaps it's telling that his style, typically described as "All American, " is avidly loved and reimagined by the French and the Japanese - it wasn't bound to a specific place and time and place. It existed outside of it.
Preppy in a well-cut v-neck and collared shirt on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Man from the South , in a leather jacket and chinos in the Great Escape, or in a black turtleneck under a khaki trench coat in Row House's showing of Bullitt, dude always looked good. His simple, functional, and above all personal style still looks on-point today, because he knew what worked for him, made sure it fit perfectly and didn't fake it. Here was a man as comfortable in a three-piece suit as in a tailored sweatshirt and chinos, atop a 1936 Indian Big Chief. His style can be always be imitated, but can never be duplicated because he knew what worked for him and owned it.
Perhaps the one thing that everyone can take away from McQueen is that knowing what works for you, staying away from trends, and being true to what you like will take you far. McQueen's style, while unique, is truly democratic because it's attainable to anyone with a discerning eye and a little imagination.
To that end, as a lover of both Steve McQueen and the movie Bullitt, Vestis is proud to partner with Row House Cinema to offer a 15% discount to anyone bearing a ticket stub from their showing of Bullitt, which will be playing until the 26th. And if you're interested in getting Bullitt style, you know where to find it.