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This 'All-American' Brand Is Mostly Made Overseas

There are a lot of things we associate with the good ol' U.S.A. Apple pie, big cars, and blue jeans are just a few of the items that we tend to bring up when we're talking about specific products associated with traditional American style. But not all of them are actually made here in the United States — at least, not anymore. Due to globalization and the challenge of producing products in the U.S. (which often costs considerably more to do, especially when materials aren't easily sourced and skilled workers are hard to find), many products that were once made in the U.S. are now made in China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and elsewhere. There's even one quintessentially American brand you may not realize has been largely (if not entirely) outsourced. 

Related: 76 Brands Still Made in America

Ironically, the story of the brand's creation — Levi's — is a thoroughly American one. Levi Strauss, a Bavarian immigrant, worked with his brothers at their dry goods store in New York City before heading to San Francisco to open a branch. When Jacob Davis, himself a Latvian immigrant and tailor who frequently purchased material from Strauss, came up with the idea of reinforcing pants with copper rivets, he didn't have the money for a patent. Proposing he and Strauss go into business together,  they received a patent for their riveted denim pants in 1873 and blue jeans were born.

Today, Levi's are mostly made in Sri Lanka, Indonesia,  Vietnam, and elsewhere, though it's worth noting that there are some Levi's made right here — Levi's Made in the U.S.A. 501 Original Fit Jeans as well as trucker jackets (the traditional jean jacket). However, it should be noted that materials are not always sourced in the U.S. and there are reports that all Levi's Vintage Clothing production has moved to Turkey and Bulgaria

It's also worth mentioning that these 501 jeans cost $148 (currently on sale for $70) while the 501 jeans made outside of the U.S. range from $50 to $90. American-made isn't cheap, but people who want American products will be glad to know it's still possible to buy American, even if it's not easy to do.

If you aren't ready to shell out for Made in America Levi's, you may still be impressed with the lengths the brand is going when it comes to promoting sustainability, ranging from using less water to finish their denim, putting rain-fed cottonized hemp in their clothing, and opening Levi's Tailor Shops to promote recycling and reuse. While saving American manufacturing with your purchasing can be tough, saving the world might be easier. 

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