American quality you say?

I bought a new pair of cheap, skinny jeans yesterday. I like skinny jeans because I can move freely in them, I don’t have to worry about the legs being long enough, they look great with boots, and in winter there’s no chilly breeze up-drafting from the ankles. The pair I found was a brand I’d never heard of (brand name concerns me not a bit; a low price and attractive fit do).

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American Quality Denim ay? Are you sure?

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Yep, more evidence. But are you REALLY sure?

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Hell yeah they’re sure! They even have a little flag!

But wait. What’s this now?

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See. I just don’t get this. Who are they marketing these jeans to??? Americans? Chinese? Somebody else? I certainly am aware the ubiquitous phrase “Made in China” has a bad rap. But “Made in America” isn’t exactly a stellar one by most objective standards. And what is “American quality” denim?? Particularly if said denim was made in China. It’s a cultural koan! What if instead of having “American Quality” slapped all over it the jeans prominently said “Chinese Quality Denim? If I’m being honest, that might give me pause, but they’re still the same jeans, and had I checked out these theoretical pants, I’d have seen just what I did: reasonably well-made jeans (finished off seams, no weird miscellaneous hanging threads, legs of equal length, a metal zipper that lays flat and slides easily, and so on). They are decent quality. But whose decent quality?! I am confused on a new level.

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16 thoughts on “American quality you say?

  1. Ron Walker

    You can’t hardly tell now days. They used to have ‘Made in the USA / Assembled in China’ on some products, So who do you blame when it’s poor quality. US or China. I’m old school, I just despise seeing other languages plastered all over our goods. If your going to live here, learn the English language.

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  2. Peg Stueber-Temp and Tea

    About the only things you’re going to find actually Made in America anymore are the handcrafted things you find from tiny little sellers at farmer’s markets, flea markets, or other open air stall-type events. And, even then, you get someone who just buys cheap overseas trinkets and spreads them out on table.

    If it’s in a store – it’s probably got some component or another manufactured outside the States.

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      1. Peg Stueber-Temp and Tea

        It’s a good thing that we still have SOME manufacturing in the States.

        I know I, as an artist, have a hard time marketing my works. There are times it’s a struggle just to do the damn Etsy listings, because I find the marketing portion boring…I’d rather spend my limited time creating.

        One day, I might just gather up enough courage to actually rent a space at my local Farmer’s Market to share my stuff.

        Guess I’ll continue to work for ‘the Man’ to keep eggs in the ‘fridge & craft supplies on the work bench.

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          I understand exactly. Artists want to make art. They’re/we’re not necessarily business majors or turned on by wheeling, dealing, and “selling yourself.” If only a nice benefactor or patron would come along to do that stuff…

          I also don’t think, unfortunately, that we’re in a culture that places very high value on art (an art major is considered less than a business or computer science one, say) unless it’s worth a lot of money.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Sad but true! Cheap, mass-produced clothes don’t always trouble themselves with pesky details like matching arms and legs. Sometimes the difference is so obvious it’s comical.

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        1. writerinsoul Post author

          Oh Anne, have you been to Old Navy recently?! Once I tried a shirt but the sleeves were noticeably mismatched. I mentioned it when I gave it back to the attendant who did not seem at all surprised!

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