WASHINGTON – The Made-in-America label has undergone a deluxe makeover. Brands such as Brooks Brothers and the Olsen twins are using it to hawk luxury goods, a tactic made popular by blue-collar brands such as Levi Strauss and Chrysler.
Menswear maker Joseph Abboud has a Made in USA banner on his website with a link to footage of the Massachusetts factory that crafts his suits. Brooks Brothers has factories from New York to North Carolina, and The Row, the luxury fashion line from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, manufactures most of its clothes in Americas biggest cities.
There is a customer that appreciates that the product is made in the United States and is willing to pay for the difference, Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio said in an interview.
While Brooks Brothers made few goods in the U.S. 10 years ago, today a large percentage is American-made, he said.
The U.S. reputation for quality is benefiting upscale labels as more Americans question where their goods come from and how their buying affects the economy, said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing Inc.
Made in America feeds into the values proposition, she said. They are voting with their money not just for U.S. jobs, but for a way of life. In 2007, they were on a spending jag – they werent thinking about things like this.
Now that they are, luxury-goods makers in the United States, the largest market, stand to profit: Almost two-thirds of wealthy consumers say they try to buy American when they can. Global spending on luxury apparel, accessories, watches, jewelry, perfume and other products might climb to about $260 billion in 2011 from $245 billion last year, excluding currency moves, Bain & Co. said May 3 in a report.
More than three-quarters of affluent consumers surveyed this year by American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group, a luxury research firm, said they like brands made in America, up 5 percentage points from 2008. Sixty-five percent say they try to buy U.S. products whenever possible, a three-percentage-point gain.
The self-made nature of much of Americas wealth may be one of the reasons the pitch is so appealing, says Andrew Sacks, head of New York luxury ad firm Agency Sacks.
There is a built-in inherent interest among those successful people to do whatever they can do to help, Sacks said.