Made in the U.S.A.
3 Sep 2020
This week: Don’t fret, there’s still good news to be had. With 60 days until the election, here are 6 reasons to believe in the States.
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
One of the most populous nations in the world is facing an immense reckoning. A crumbling of institutions, if you will.
Now is our chance to build back better. And guess what, it won’t be bigger. We’re talking fairer, greener, smaller, leaner.
• In the wake of momentous racial unrest, people are realising the power of the purse; “Black-owned businesses” continues to be a popular search term as shoppers look to support the community. Semicolon is Chicago’s only Black female-owned bookstore, and has seen weekly sales surge from hundreds to tens of thousands. “Was the rush to support Black-owned fashion brands the start of a movement or just a trend?” wondered Cortne Bonilla in Refinery29. We have faith in the former.
• Eater asked 23 chefs, owners, academics, and journalists what the food industry’s future should look like. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of a redesigned business model both ethical and sustainable. In conclusion? “The untapped promise of America’s restaurants means they are worth saving.”
• “Maybe it took a worldwide pandemic to remind us that the antidote to too-muchness may be enoughness. Small may be beautiful, indeed.” The New York Times reported on the contained success of a one-man clothing label built by Evan Kinori. As a reflection of his supply chain concerns, pieces are produced in hand-numbered batches, mostly within a mile of his San Francisco workshop.
With awareness on issues like labour rights and the environment top of mind, reshoring is having its moment. Over 65% of consumers would prefer to buy American-made products during Covid.
Case in point: Tidal – described by Forbes as “the flip-flop brand redefining ‘Made in U.S.A.’” – has seen month-on-month sales grow 100%.
America, it’ll make again.
NEW YORK, NOT DEAD
With the largest urban economy in the world – as Bloomberg so succinctly puts it: “No city is more important to America’s economic recovery than New York.”
• New York Fashion Week starts in 10 days. With lower financial hurdles to clear, this year’s participants skew on the smaller, indie side. Despite restrictions, brands are still buying into the magic of an in-person show. “The earned media from a physical event is just so much more than any digital thing,” designer Rebecca Minkoff told Glossy. NYFW’s staggering economic impact? Nearly $900 million. With many big players sitting it out, it’s a massive stage for emerging talent to shine.
• Mom-and-pop stores in the outer boroughs are as crucial to the restoration of the local economy as the city’s commercial districts, reported The New York Times. In terms of growth, Brooklyn still reigns supreme, with 1 in 5 jobs created over the last 6 years, versus Manhattan’s 1 in 10. Speaking of King’s County, mark your calendars for Oct 2, when three-peat booker Pop Up Grocer lands in Williamsburg for round four.
• Grub Street profiled five chefs opening new spots – from Bleecker Street to Jackson Avenue – catering to real New Yorkers. It’s not about the visitors anymore, it’s about neighborhoods and their needs. The leveling out of a notoriously costly playing field also has its upsides. Lani Halliday is making her Brutus Bakeshop pop-up permanent, securing a flexible lease on a shared space in “what people might call a sweetheart deal.”
Let’s be real. New York is down, but it’s far from out – despite the claims of a certain “think” piece about the forever death of the greatest city in the world.
So we’ll leave you with a favorite riposte, from Seinfeld himself: “This stupid virus will give up eventually. The same way you have. We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back.”
Words by Amy Tai, creative consultant and native New Yorker now based in London.