When a die-hard ‘MADE IN AMERICA’ brand pivots and begins production overseas: pour one out for California-cool label, Marine Layer.
Throughout my time scouring labels, I occasionally come across a beloved ‘made in USA’ brand with a new ‘made in China’ label. Oh, the horror! Enter Marine Layer.
A few years ago it was American Apparel (the gall – American IS in the name – amirite?!). I never know the exact reasoning behind the switch really, but I suspect that as certain brands get more and more popular, they decide to make their designs in bulk and move production overseas. Such is the plight of one of my faves discovered on a shopping trip in Soho, New York – Marine Layer.
I remember walking into a shop that immediately brought me back to my time living in Los Angeles. When I was there, I still worked for a New York firm. I got up insanely early, but was finished between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. At the end of my day, I would hop in my Ford Bronco II (a small, cute version of the behemoth that for some ungodly reason was always breaking down) and head over to the beach in Santa Monica… Those were the days!
Above all, Marine Layer captured that period of my life when I had fewer cares. With their sunny, beachy vibe that could transport anyone to the cold majestic waves of the Pacific, they transported me. Funky t-shirts, graphic sweatshirts, body-skimming dresses… it was all there. By the by, their selection for men was equally as appealing. And, they even had accessories for winter to boot!
Marine Layer’s mantra is “the first soft shirt”. They say, “We wanted to recreate a shirt that would feel like your old favorite from day 1.” So they bought an old VW bus and the rest was history. Or was it? Something happened around 2019/2020. They were no longer manufacturing in Los Angeles, the home of so many MADE IN USA clothing lines.
I hope to get a chance to talk with them about their decision. If I do, I’ll report on it here. Keep an eye on our interview category page for updates. I had a chance to learn about their MADE IN USA tenet the first time I walked through their doors that sunny day in Soho. I was impressed. Hopefully, I will have a deeper understanding of the reasoning behind their change of heart and will share it with all of you.