For the last decade or so, there’s been a movement by some to spend a little more and make a conscious effort to buy things “made in America.” With the offshoring of a ton of American textile production, there are limited offerings of wearables that are still domestically produced - and those that are tend to be a bit more expensive than the off-the-rack competition.  

On top of that, I happen to know garment collectors and producers who are enamored with the old techniques/construction of these items, and pick them up to either imitate or use as inspiration for new creations.  Here are a few things to look for when you’re out on the hunt.

  1. 1. Filson Items – Filson - like Eddie Bauer - is a manufacturer of outdoor gear.  Unlike Eddie Bauer, they didn’t go the mall route.  No longer owned by the Filson family, much of the product is still US-based.  The most common items I run across in the wild are the luggage/messenger bags in waxed canvas.  Also commonly seen are the hunting vests and wool mackinaw cruiser hunting jackets.  If you see them, buy them and resell - or enjoy them, as they are incredibly well-made and will likely last a lifetime.
  2. 2. Vintage Levis – Vintage, American-made Big E logo, and selvedge is the trifecta.  Levi 501 jeans from the 40s/50s with the aforementioned trifecta can sell for as much as a few grand at auction.
  3. 3. Vans & Converse – These canvas sneaks have never really fallen out of favor with the general public and collectors are now willing to pay top dollar for these vintage shoes that were made in America.  Condition is really important, and the better the condition, the higher the price.  Also, more common sizes will bring in higher amounts. Check out these rare Converse I sold recently.
  4. 4. Pendleton Shirts/Blankets – The American-made wool shirts and blankets from this company are timeless.  It’s also been fortunate for the company that the “lumberjack” look has been a thing for dudes recently, as their most popular item tends to be the classic wool flannel shirt.  It appears that much of the production for current garments is done in Mexico.
  5. 5. Red Wing Boots – Another American company that has benefitted from the “lumberjack” look with their rugged American work boots.  Even used boots will bring in a decent price at auction.
  6. 6. “Union Made” Garments – This is necessarily a brand per se, it’s just an old tag that was sewn inside of garments that were produced at factories with a unionized labor force, and it’s generally a good indicator of age on a particular vintage item.

Hopefully these pointers can serve as the basic guidelines for any auction-trawlers out there looking to sink their teeth into the ‘Made-in-America’ wave. Good luck, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled - these are just my pointers, and there are always more to be found.