|Where might a potential customer believe their products are made, reading the "About Us" section of their site (Link)? They tuck away their "Made in China" tag (on the inside of the shoulder seam) with a certain aplomb.|
|Patagonia has most things made overseas, but do they get points for being clear as to the country of origin, both on their tags and website?|
American clothing companies and accessories producers enjoy a privileged position across industries. There are seemingly very little or no negative consequences for telling shameless whoppers in their marketing.
While journalists and academics are very comfortable discussing technology, entertainment, political, and (now) financial issues, the clothing sector gets a pass. It was a (Madewell) family member who wrote this piece on Madewell (thank you to those who brought it to my attention), and there is similar writing on the Gant site here under “Our History” (i.e. the history of the original Gant.)
1) Given that, which American clothing and accessories companies, big and small, are the most brazen in misrepresenting themselves through their marketing?
- Are there brands that loudly promote a few token Made-in-America products while they push mostly made-in-China goods? Or use images of the United States the prominently while they present “imported-from-low-wage-countries” items?
- Are there companies that present themselves as having high stewardship, including around environmental issues, while often acting in a contrary fashion?
- Are there brands that talk about their heritage when either they bought someone else’s or are in the process of betraying the core principles they cite?
- Are there brands that package themselves as elite and upscale while serving broader middle markets?
- Are there brands that loudly tout being athletic, or otherwise for people of sport and action, with products that are, in quality and design, for the cubicle, mall, and couch?
- Are there brands that sell “young and hip” explicitly to a demographic that is neither?
- Are there companies using the assumed authenticity of social media in the hopes of presenting fiction as fact?
Three stipulations and guidelines:
- To some degree, all companies do some of this; the interest here is in companies that are extra-shameless. Similarly, for example, it is prohibitive for most individuals not to have a lot of items that are made in China (or other low wage countries). We all take on a portfolio mentality.
- L.L. Bean has already been discussed thoroughly; let’s leave them out of this conversation.
- This is not a referendum or consideration of the company as a whole or their products in isolation, just the dissonance between reality and presentation.