American Pride

Emma the Lion is 100% American, building a community of fashion hustlers in Houston, Texas and from sea to shining sea.

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I believe in voting with my dollars, and supporting business practices that I feel are right and just. I want to do businesses with companies that don’t exploit their workers. This is why I like working with American companies: American fair labor laws provide enormous protections for workers. I also just believe in meeting the people you’re working with: shaking their hand and meeting their employees.

I’m not saying I won’t do business with the right foreign fabric or apparel manufacturer, but I am saying that before I pay, I investigate.

How You Too Can Vote with Your Dollars

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  1. Know what “Made in USA” Means, and Doesn’t Mean

Textile products that are “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. can bear the label “Made in USA.”

What does this mean? The Federal Trade Commission has a lot to say about this, but I like this example:

Example: A table lamp is assembled in the U.S. from American-made brass, an American-made Tiffany-style lampshade, and an imported base. The base accounts for a small percent of the total cost of making the lamp. An unqualified Made in USA claim is deceptive for two reasons: The base is not far enough removed in the manufacturing process from the finished product to be of little consequence and it is a significant part of the final product.
— FTC Website

How does this apply to a garment? If a garment has an unqualified “Made in USA” label, then its seller should have considered not only (i) the country where the garment is manufactured, but also (ii) the country of origin for the substantial amount of materials (including fabric) used to make the garment. If both USA, then Made in USA.

2. Two percent of the Clothing Americans Buy is Made in USA

The apparel industry today is hugely valuable. But profits are high when costs are low and it’s cheaper to produce clothing outside of the US than in the US. Ergo, only 2% of the clothing we buy today is Made in the USA. The average U.S. garment worker may be paid about 38 times more than the wage of their counterpart in Bangladesh.

So, give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve supported a brand that makes its clothing in the USA. You’ve supported fair, living wages for another human.

3. Customization is America

As a designer, one of the best parts about making things in America is that I can take more risks, be more creative, and “customize” my designs. Being able to sit across a table with my amazing pattern-maker, and review a pattern in person, is magical. Especially since some of my designs — most, I hope — are “different.” I don’t think I would have a very easy time creating the Athena from halfway across the world. American workshops can move quickly and are more artisan-based than volume-based, allowing creations such as the Athena to come to life.

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In conclusion, thank you America.

x o x - Emma