21 February, 2012

More ...USA made, less...

Fresh off of a major buying trip, I'm eager to share the truth of fashion's current behind-the-scenes dilemma with all of you:

In a market inundated with "Made in CHINA" disposable fashions, it becomes more and more difficult to source, "Made in the USA" brands, but we maintain a passionate devotion, and a patriotic responsibility to do so. We are so blessed to have you, our loyal customers here in Prescott- who appreciate the efforts we go to in supporting "Made in the USA" brands, by in turn, supporting US! On any given day, we stock more than 20 brands of clothing, jewelry, gifts, accessories, and personal care products that are made right here in the USA. I believe that as Americans, each one of us has a responsibility to support these manufacturers, and keep our money at HOME rather than sending it to China. Many retailers make the argument that Made in the USA is "too expensive" or "consumers don't care", but our thriving business is proof that they do! I challenge you to hold other retailers to this principal. Check labels before you buy! Ask questions! Let shop owners know how important it is to you! We're all in this together.

A recent article in the New York Times really hit home for me:

"Before jeggings, back when there were letters, before texts and tweets, when there was time... before speed cameras, when you could speed... before graffiti management companies, when cities had souls, we managed. Before homogenization, when there was mystery, when the original had value, before digital, when there was vinyl, before Made in China, we had the impression we were doing all right. Before apps... when there were attention-spans, before “I’ve got five bars,” when bars were for boozing, before ring-tone selection, when the phone rang... when love was all you needed..."

It's so true! Granted, this quip plays to the hippie in me... I am a child of the 60's, but my boutique reflects this post-modern bar of excellence; It defines the type of buyer I am. I'm guided by the quality and preconditioning of fabrics, (a key point of consideration while sourcing Hop Sing's fashions) which result in the most glorious-to-the-touch fabrics, a vital component which many of you have come to expect in our boutique. Of course, one of the realities of fashion today, is that American manufacturers have been pushed out by their overseas counterparts- the result of which is those old world touches and heirloom quality details we love: smocking, applique, embroidery, crocheting, etc., being rarely ever "Made in the USA". At Hop Sing, we've found alternative brands that support fair wages, ethical working conditions, and produce excellent quality goods at market rate. It's a matter of doing our homework and looking deeper. The great Vivenne Westwood had this to say about educating ourselves as consumers:

"We are so conformist... nobody is thinking. We're all just sucking up stuff. We've been trained to be consumers and we are all consuming far too much. I'm a fashion designer and people think 'what do I know', but I'm talking about all this disposable crap. I'm saying, buy less, choose well, make it last! Everybody looks like clones, and the only people you notice are my age. I don't notice anybody unless they look great, and every now and again they do- and they're usually 70."

What does quality mean to you? For me it means supporting fellow Americans, supporting family-owned, supporting heirloom brands and practices. It means keeping my money domestic- paying for the roads we drive on, the soccer uniforms our kids wear, the bread baked around the corner, and the agriculture produced in American soil. I'm proud to say that we strive every day to select the best quality, ethical designs that the up-scale marketplace has to offer. We vow to continue supporting those labels proudly produced right here in the USA, and we have YOU to thank for it.


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