Thursday, December 6, 2012

Back to the Hoodie

Fascinating Slate article by my boy Farhad Manjoo about an American company making sweatshirts locally, using innovation and direct sales to put out a higher quality product (he calls it "the greatest hoodie ever made") at a competitive price, somewhere between the  low and high ends of the casual wear continuum:
Among other things, he was able to hire a former industrial designer from Apple to rethink every aspect of the sweatshirt, from the way the fabric is woven to the color of the drawstrings around your neck. ...When you wear this hoodie, you’ll wonder why all other clothes aren’t made this well. And when you hear about how American Giant produced it, it’s hard not to conclude that one day, they all may be.
I can't say if the sweatshirt is as awesome as he says it is, but I do think that this business model is a harbinger of the future--quality goods designed and manufactured locally using automation and innovation to produce competitive products that are marketed directly to consumers. File this under the end of retail/race against the machine/return of manufacturing to the U.S. I think it's a win for consumers and the economy, even if the actual number of jobs produced is scant, and maybe even a net loss globally.

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