Executive Briefings

With Push For U.S. Manufacturing, 'Made in America' Loses Its Luster In Fashion World

Buyers from all over the world flock to Gitman Bros. to get a piece of timeless American style: oxford shirts, plaids and rep ties often cut slightly slimmer to appeal to the trendy and urbane.

But when the company's president, Chris Olberding, attended the venerable menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Italy this month, the brand's "Made in USA" label was an unexpected liability.

Clients flung jokes at the then-president-elect’s expense. There was talk about avoiding travel to the U.S. during Donald Trump’s four-year term. And one of the Ashland, Pa.-company’s accounts was almost canceled because a customer wanted to boycott American clothes.

“I felt like the wind got knocked out of me,” Olberding said in a phone interview from Florence. “I always thought it was a good thing to keep our production in the U.S., and all of a sudden the conversation changes because of this one person.”

By all appearances, Trump should be a boon for the “Made in USA” brand. The nation’s 45th president swept into office pledging to get American factories humming again.

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But when the company's president, Chris Olberding, attended the venerable menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Italy this month, the brand's "Made in USA" label was an unexpected liability.

Clients flung jokes at the then-president-elect’s expense. There was talk about avoiding travel to the U.S. during Donald Trump’s four-year term. And one of the Ashland, Pa.-company’s accounts was almost canceled because a customer wanted to boycott American clothes.

“I felt like the wind got knocked out of me,” Olberding said in a phone interview from Florence. “I always thought it was a good thing to keep our production in the U.S., and all of a sudden the conversation changes because of this one person.”

By all appearances, Trump should be a boon for the “Made in USA” brand. The nation’s 45th president swept into office pledging to get American factories humming again.

Read Full Article