Why Your Band of Outsiders Sweater Is Made in China

In an op-ed of sorts, Scott Sternberg — the CAA agent turned fashion designer behind Band of Outsiders and Boy — muses on his manufacturing process from conception to final product for the fantastic online editorial porthole Selectism.com. More logistical than creative, the post covers the specifics of making both Boy and Band of Oustiders’ full lines from fabric sourcing to final garment. Most surprising is the fact that brand, which is technically LA-based, is truly a citizen of the world when it comes to both fabrics and labor — a facet of modern manufacturing that reflects the structure of more and more brands.

Parts of the manufacturing process are completely NYC and LA-centric (namely when it comes to suits and accessories). “The suits are made at Martin Greenfield Clothiers, a 100+ year old hand-tailoring factory in Bushwick, New York. The shirts are cut, sewn, washed/dyed, etc. in Los Angeles. The ties are cut and hand-rolled in Manhattan.” Meanwhile, Sternberg is moving Boy’s entire production to Italy this year to keep the line’s fabrics, cuts, and tailoring standardized. Interestingly enough, some of Sternberg’s sweaters are made entirely in China: “Chinese cashmere can be superior depending on the type of sweater, so we’ll make those sweaters there — we do so not to save money or become part of the evil Empire but because it’s the best solution for a given product.” In the same vein, Sternberg’s shirts are made solely in Japan. While maintaining an emphasis on USA-made lines is no doubt important in today’s day and age (especially with areas like NYC’s garment district suffering severe cutbacks given the lethal combination of globalization and a recession), it’s interesting to look at relatively young brands that are truly taking advantage of the global fashion market. As Sternberg points out, tags reading “made in China” or “made in the USA” don’t necessarily mean what they used to.

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