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High-End Retailers Market Made in USA Clothing

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- High-end retailers are trying to remind shoppers again that wearing clothes made in the United States is hip. Apparel company Club Monaco is launching an exclusive line this week that might appeal to the inner patriotism of consumers.

Club Monaco, owned by Polo Ralph Lauren, announced this week the launch of an exclusive men's "Made in the U.S.A." collection in its stores in New York City's storied Fifth Avenue and its near-equivalent in Toronto, Canada, on Bloor Street.

Of course, Club Monaco is not the only manufacturer to have clothing made in the country. Jean company Wrangler, owned by apparel company VF Corporation, is the largest employer in Hackleburg, Ala., though it also has factories outside the U.S. Wrangler announced it is rebuilding its U.S. plant that was destroyed by a tornado in April.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 154,700 apparel manufacturing jobs in the country as of September. According to New York State’s Department of Labor, there were 19,823 apparel manufacturing jobs in New York State last year, compared with 65,182 of those jobs in 2000.

Women's fashion designer, Nanette Lepore, has long advocated for popular and mass designers to base their manufacturing and respective jobs in the country instead of outsourcing to so-called cheaper alternatives in countries like China.

A report from consulting firm Boston Consulting Group in August reported that China's manufacturing cost advantage over the U.S. will end "within five years" in part due to rising Chinese wages, higher U.S. productivity, and a weaker dollar.

The Made in U.S.A. label has attracted some criticism however, with some clothing manufactured in U.S. commonwealth Saipan and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands permitted to carry such labels.

Lepore has been a part of the Save the Garment District campaign to preserve the apparel factories in New York City. Lepore said it was "fantastic" that Club Monaco is experimenting with a collection made in the country and hopes other designers take note.

"I can produce things in the country at around the same price at a greater quality," Lepore said. "It's great to work in America because we have better control of quality and the factory. We are in there two or three times a day watching everything."

The other advantages include understanding worker conditions, promoting middle class jobs, decreasing the carbon footprint and having quicker speed to market if something is selling well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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