Buying American is just good juju all-around: You have the satisfaction of knowing your purchase was produced in a safe, clean factory by workers making a decent* wage, and you’re supporting businesses, many of them on the smaller side, that have chosen to keep production—and jobs—stateside, when shipping them overseas would cost a fraction of what they wind up paying here. This means that prices of American-made products can run a bit higher than what’s produced overseas. But in my experience, so does the quality. Here’s a special pre-Independence Day roundup of some of my favorite domestically-made brands (I say “some” because a few really good ones got left out, so there will almost surely be a Part II). Please do weigh in with any personal—and especially local— favorites in the comments.
Billykirk Leather and canvas bags, accessories Billykirk specializes in rough-hewn, classic bags and clutches and totes, and even if you don’t think that’s your thing you may be surprised. It’s true that I love everything that contrasts black with blue, but I especially love how the two shades of blue mix with the black leather accents on this waxed satchel.
Emerson Fry Apparel and accessories It is not overstating matters to say I want every single thing from this line out of New Hampshire, which is very American classic with a nice dose of urban edge thrown in to keep things interesting.
Filson Luggage, outerwear, gear This outdoorsy brand is mostly aimed toward men, but they make fantastic-looking luggage that works for anyone. If I didn’t already own too many rolling carry-ons (have we ever discussed my rolling suitcase problem?) I would totally go for this elegant model.
J Brand Denim Definitely on the very short list of my favorite denim brands. I loathe when anyone swears that one jeans line or another has a “perfect fit”—bodies are so different—but these work on the skinny-assed and wide-of-hip alike.
Schoolhouse Electric Housewares When I describe this Portland-based outfit as utilitarian twee, I actually mean that as a positive. I’ve bought a couple of lamps from them that I love, and I came very close to snapping up some stools before (dejectedly) accepting that my my kitchen counter isn’t deep enough for any.
Steven Alan Apparel The only button-down shirts that don’t make me feel shlumpy and unfeminine are Alan’s reverse seam models: they’re shrunken but not in any kind of horrible cropped way—just sort of like a very well-tailored blazer.
Utility Canvas Canvas bags, quilts, throws Magazines give out a lot of tote bags at events, and by the time I got fired from Lucky, my entire family was totally Lucky-branded. I couldn’t have them all walking around to work and the beach and so forth advertising my former place of employ, so I went to Utility and bought a mess of new, unsullied bags for everyone. I’m an even bigger fan still of their bright and fun quilted blankets and throws.
*Although I hope we can all agree the minimum wage could use some work.
Tags: Billykirk, Emerson Fry, Essie, Filson, Gorjana, J Brand, JW Hulme, Made in America fashion, Made in USA fashion, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Quoddy, Schoolhouse Electric Co., Schott NYC, Steven Alan, Utility Canvas