As a clothing designer I make all of my clothing in the United States. I like knowing that I can provide work for local seamstresses and improve my local economy by doing so. I also make a huge effort to buy my fabrics from American fabric mills - and when I find imported fabrics I make sure they come from countries with ethical business practices.
A few months ago I bought a summer dress at a major department store. The next day I came down with a severe allergic reaction. At first I thought it was a walnut allergy. I'd never been allergic to walnuts but it was the only thing I ate that could cause an allergy of that type. Eventually my allergy went away. The dress I bought turned out to fit so well I went out and bought another one in a different color the following week. The next day I came down with the allergy again - but this time the only thing similar to the first reaction was that I was wearing my new dress. I realized my allergy was coming from the dresses! I did some research and found out some Chinese companies use formaldehyde to treat clothing - especially easy care clothing. Some people have more sensitive skin and develop allergies to it. This wouldn't be too bad if formaldehyde didn't also cause cancer in humans!
Recent news stories about contaminated Chinese products include melamine in pet food and baby formula, cadmium in children's toys and diethylene glycol in cough syrup. After reading these stories and my dress experience I just couldn't buy Chinese made products for my niece.
But refusing to buy Chinese made clothing is harder than it sounds. Over the last two months I have been on a mission to find non-Chinese made children's clothing.
This isn't a post trying to encourage people strictly buy American made items. I live in the United States so it's natural that I would want to buy and produce in the United States. Buying local helps the economy and has less of an environmental impact. But I'm not opposed to buying items like Argentinian wool, French lace and Spanish guitars. My point is not to boycott non-American made products - I just plan on being a little more informed on what I'm buying.
I found Burberry makes most of their clothing in Spain and Portugal. And although I am not opposed to buying expensive, good quality clothing - babies grow really fast and with the economy the way it is I just can't justify spending over $150 on every outfit.
I was very excited to find that American Apparel has a line of baby clothing. These one piece baby suits start as low as $12.50 and you can buy three packs for as little as $30.
I also found amazing handmade items - although I've had an incredibly hard time finding them. I combed through over ten page results to find these.
Here are a few Etsy sellers who make their items 100% from scratch:
RylanCarter from Nashville makes fun knitwear - I especially love the sock monkey and owl beanies.
Prices range between $12-$34
3 Nieces Designs from Maryland hand-knit every piece. They make beautiful sweaters, ponchos, jumpsuits and their prices average between $20-$100. They have a great color selection too!
Janum from New York makes girly clothing in bright colors and her photographs are total eye-candy! Prices are incredibly reasonable $22-$49