Mind over Matter: Stuff I cared about at the time

We’re An American Brand!

Growing up, my mom always bought me Toughskins. They may have had their own ads, but boy did I lust after Levis. I couldn’t even bother to ask — I knew there wasn’t enough money to buy me “expensive” pants. There did come a point however, maybe it was junior high, when there was perhaps a little more money, and when my desire to fit in outweighed my need to resist asking for non-essentials. There was a store, I don’t think it was actually a Levis store, but that’s about all they sold, at the local strip mall (the Hamden Plaza). At that age, I was given some money and allowed to walk there and buy my own pants. It was honestly something of a relief to be wearing the same pants that most everyone else was. At least the boys. For the girls, as always, there was more freedom. Chic, Jordache, etc. For boys there was Levis, and the occasional Lee or Wrangler, but by and large, it was Levis.

Thus began my relationship with the brand. They had done their marketing well. They presented themselves as American as apple pie, as the saying goes. So aside from dress pants, I wore Levi’s exclusively for decades.

But back in the 1990’s, Levi Strauss and Co. began using offshore manufacturing, while still using the Made in the USA label. Thus began my disillusionment, though I didn’t act on it for a long time. A few years ago, though, I did a little research and came across a web site that listed companies that still made jeans here in the U.S.A. Check out the list if you want to help keep your fellow Americans employed.
I’ve bought jeans from both All American Clothing (including their select Carhartt jeans that are Made in the U.S.A.) and Pointer Brand, and have been happy with all of them. The All American jeans are pretty close in character to the Levis I used to know and love so well (though no rivets). The Carhartts are also Levis-like, and the only black jeans I could find in the crowd. I don’t see them listed on the site any longer. I have 2 pairs of the Pointers, one is the funky Hickory Stripe (think railroad engineer…), and the other are the regular jeans. My only complaint about them is that the pockets aren’t as deep as I am accustomed to, though the smaller (watch?) pocket is quite roomy.






2 responses to “We’re An American Brand!”

  1. Marc Light Avatar
    Marc Light

    My carpool was just discussing the demise of american manufacturing on the ride in to work. We didn’t solve the problem but maybe on the way home we’ll figure out a solution.

    I remember your Levi’s button fly jeans freshman year at MIT.

    I also wore toughskins growing up, a Sear’s product, no?


    1. tastewar Avatar

      Like so many of the things in my house growing up, a Sears product indeed. Apparently, they either still make them, or have revived the brand name. I distinctly remember the reinforced knees which became obvious as the pants aged…