A Legal Look at “Made in the USA”

A Legal Look at “Made in the USA”

What does the phrase Made in the USA legally mean?

The US Federal Trade Commission has strict regulations regarding this term. For any product to be labeled Made in the USA, “all or virtually all of the significant parts, processing and labor” that go into the product must be of US origin. That’s no easy feat!

Lots of apparel brands work hard to fudge on that phrase, hoping you won’t notice.  That’s why some labels or marketing copy say meaningless babble like “Designed in the USA” (which really means that while someone in the US designed it, it was then sewn overseas with foreign materials), “Sewn in the USA” (with foreign fabrics and trims) or the super sneaky “Made in the USA” (in huge type) followed by “With Imported Materials” in extra tiny type.

If you buy clothes in a brick and mortar store, look inside the garment for the care and content label, which must include the item’s country of origin. If you buy online, look at the website’s style description page to see if it says “Made in the USA.” Some companies are transparent about where each garment is made. Most make you work hard for that information and hope you’ll just not notice that it’s absent. In the absence of either “Made in the USA” or “100% Made in the USA” (like Devium), you can be sure that the apparel you’re buying is NOT made in America. Caveat Emptor– Let the Buyer Beware!

Back to blog