The closing this past week of the last American company which manufactures flatware, as noted in the NY Times, Sherrill Manufacturing Closes New York Plant, got me thinking whether or not it matters where a product is made.
Is it just jingoism to prefer products made in your own country? What other factors should enter into the decision making process for choosing country of origin?
Here’s the way I look at it:
- If it’s at all within your price range, buy the authentic product, not the knock off, regardless of where its made.
- If local manufacturing gives the people you are dealing with expertise that they would not normally have if the product is made at a distance, buy locally.
So, when it comes to buying cloth at Kozinn+Sons, we buy almost exclusively from English, Scottish and Italian mills because no high quality fabrics were ever woven in this country. However, I am not blind to the merits of other locales.
For example, if I want the finest flannel, I might choose a small mill near Barcelona which also makes the cloths for billiard tables. Or, if I want Madras for a summer sport coat, I will buy it from India (not from Italy) because that’s where the weaving of these ultra lightweight cottons originated.. The mills in Korea and China do not necessarilly produce poor quality cloth, but I consider them knock-offs without their own independent inspirations.
An obvious example of where local production makes a huge difference is when you buy from a farmer’s market or you have a meal in a restaurant. There is freshness and expertise rooted in the proximity to the means of production. I am not sure the same holds true for where your light bulbs or ball point pens are manufactured.
In the case of a custom suit, I believe it is critical for the production facilities to be within the control of your tailor. He can make certain that the pattern is made correctly and that special attention is paid to your particular needs. Furthermore, the tailor will understand all the intricacies of what goes into your custom suit or shirt, not just what he is told by his supplier.
In summary, at Kozinn+Sons Merchant Tailors, our cloths come from Europe and our production facilities are in New York. It’s not bigotry on our part that prompts us to do so, just the desire to give you the best product we possibly can.
Kozinn+Sons Merchant Tailors
22 West 32nd Street, 5th Floor
New York NY 10001