Are all Allen Edmonds Uppers Made in the Dominican Republic?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by deveandepot1, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What do you mean by that? The fact that they send some of the work to Dominican Republic doesn't mean it is not an American company anymore is it?

    No, it doesn't. And the bottom line is the bottom line -- perhaps AE has little other choice. But history suggests this is a troubling sign. Many of the American shoe companies we complain about here -- Florsheim et al -- once made quality product ... until the cost cutting and offshoring took hold. AE is one of the last big names in domestic shoe manufacturing, and I'd hate to see them become another J&M.

    I hope AE's spray-on finish is really for a certain aesthetic, and that the offshoring is just because of a worker shortage ... but we've been down this road before.
     
  2. D Yizz

    D Yizz Senior member

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    No, it doesn't. And the bottom line is the bottom line -- perhaps AE has little other choice. But history suggests this is a troubling sign. Many of the American shoe companies we complain about here -- Florsheim et al -- once made quality product ... until the cost cutting and offshoring took hold. AE is one of the last big names in domestic shoe manufacturing, and I'd hate to see them become another J&M. I hope AE's spray-on finish is really for a certain aesthetic, and that the offshoring is just because of a worker shortage ... but we've been down this road before.
    How does "made in USA" guarantee it will be a better product? I don't contest that offshoring has lowered the quality of many products, but the fact that a certain product is manufactured in the US does not guarantee that it will be a better product. Just look at the car industry. Sadly, offshoring has been the only choice of many companies due to the enormous costs of producing something in the US. People want better work standards, higher wages, but most are not willing to pay the price. Companies are there to make money. Thus, cost cutting. Even if it costs quality or the company's life in the end.
     
  3. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It doesn't guarantee a better product -- crap can be made anywhere. But costcutting often means the focus is no longer on the quality of the product. And continuing to pay the premium to manufacture in the U.S. generally suggests the company is not focused entirely on its margins.

    AE commands a premium for its products in part because of that "made in the U.S.A." tag. If they want to make shoes in China or India or whathaveyou, let the price reflect that.
     
  4. classicusa

    classicusa Well-Known Member

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    Why does it matter? Because it just does.

    They've given themself the moniker of Great American Shoe Company. That was on purpose to mean something. Lets not get into semantics. They added that tagline because they want to be seen as the flag waving, American shoe company.

    Just looked inside one of my AE shoes, and it says Made in the USA of Fine Imported Leather. The question is where is that line? Just how much of it is actually produced overseas? How much of the work are they really doing here? That's a good size factory they have there, so its obvious there is a lot of good work/production going on. How much is up to debate.

    If these shoes became Made in China/Honduras/DM/Korea/etc., I would certainly entertain other options.
     
  5. D Yizz

    D Yizz Senior member

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    It doesn't guarantee a better product -- crap can be made anywhere. But costcutting often means the focus is no longer on the quality of the product. And continuing to pay the premium to manufacture in the U.S. generally suggests the company is not focused entirely on its margins.

    AE commands a premium for its products in part because of that "made in the U.S.A." tag. If they want to make shoes in China or India or whathaveyou, let the price reflect that.


    Well, often in this kind of manufacturing environment and product type, the only substantial cost cutting you can make is in wages. If you have minimum wage constraints and/or unionized labor, it is not an option. Therefore, sometimes offshoring is the only option. I mean, would you rather have it that way, or would you prefer lower quality materials? Sure, sometimes both occur at the same time, but we're dealing with the first one in this thread. I personally don't know what's the margin on an AE, but I'm sure these are not last minute decisions, even if they backfire in the long run.
     
  6. onix

    onix Senior member

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    People often praise the older AE and observe that quality of the current AE drops. Does this (partially) outsourcing contribute to this somehow?
     
  7. NotoriousMarquis

    NotoriousMarquis Senior member

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    I've been to the AE factory and watched them make their uppers. Then again, it could have just been a nice face put on for a great quasi-local-artisanal show.
     
  8. upnorth

    upnorth Senior member

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    To be quite honest, domanican republic has acquired quite a comparative advantage in producing moccasins and stitching and sewing of leathers. They are definitely not inferior quality, and in fact superior to what many of the aging American workforce can produce and in greater quantity. I don't know if it is coincidence that many USA shoes are exhibiting slight manufacturing flaws usually associated with degeneration of biomechanical coordination caused by aging. Aldens, redwings, quoddy and others seem to be having many complaints in recent years.

    The topic of nationalism is indeed a sensitive topic, I do not think that anyone belonging to either side of the fence is wrong. Market forces can be a cruel reality check, many young Americans prefer to move away from manual work such as stitching into product development or more desk bound conceptual work. It's been very difficult to attract young apprentices to artisanal work and have them commit to long hours with very little starting pay.

    I guess many would be more comfortable with cheap foreign labor working on American soil than a complete offshoring of certain processes just to say it is 100% american made.
     
  9. Equus Leather

    Equus Leather Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Currently the production of the shoe uppers are made in the Dominican Republic due to lack of shoe sewers in the United States. The uppers are imported to the factories in Lewiston, ME and Port Washington, WI where they are assembled with other shoe parts, thus allowing them to be considered "Made in the USA."

    I've heard this said several times by and about several companies, notably Boden in the UK. The fact of the matter is they cant find sewers because they want to pay them all but sweat shop rates which only off shore workers will accept. I'd imagine in this case the Dominican workers will make perfectly good shoes, but if we (the US and UK notably) keep destroying our own manufacturing industries like this they'll never recover. One of the quotes in the threads even points out that the company (allegedly) doesnt save any money by doing this. For heaven sake, surely the right long term view is to invest in some youngsters to learn the trade???

    Maybe its just me but it seems things like this is why the economy has gone wrong....

    Charlie
     
  10. CaymanS

    CaymanS Senior member

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    This is a common, probably even prevalent, but nevertheless deceptive practice in the apparel industry. For example, fashion-oriented Italian brands like Prada, Gucci, Armani, etc., are notorious for gathering and assembling most of their materials in China, then shipping the almost-finished items to Italy to put on the finishing touches -- thereby claiming the items were "Made in Italy."

    I guess this just proves that the Chinese make good shit. Fancy that!
     
  11. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    I guess this just proves that the Chinese make good shit. Fancy that!

    Lol, no. Read that again. "Prada, Gucci, Armani."
     
  12. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    How does "made in USA" guarantee it will be a better product? I don't contest that offshoring has lowered the quality of many products, but the fact that a certain product is manufactured in the US does not guarantee that it will be a better product.
    "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong . . . but that's the way to bet."
    Probably the worst example you could have picked. Most Japanese cars sold in North America are made in North America. But they, unlike many American cars, are very well engineered and made in state-of-the-art automated factories employing non-union labor.
     
  13. D Yizz

    D Yizz Senior member

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    "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong . . . but that's the way to bet."



    Probably the worst example you could have picked. Most Japanese cars sold in North America are made in North America. But they, unlike many American cars, are very well engineered and made in state-of-the-art automated factories employing non-union labor.


    If you read my other posts you may understand that this is precisely what I was referring to. Sorry I should have said "American car" industry. In regards to the "American car industry" I believe I couldn't have picked a better example.
     
  14. entrero

    entrero Senior member

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    I hope AE's spray-on finish is really for a certain aesthetic, and that the offshoring is just because of a worker shortage ... but we've been down this road before.

    Doc, these PA were on teh bay.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Senior member

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    I would like to know the answer.

    "Made in the USA" doesn't mean better quality. It just means it was - guess what? - made in the USA.

    If it is claimed to be Made in the USA and it isn't, that's a big fucking issue. It's called a lie

    And I don't mean some legal technical offshoring import/export regulatory definition of Made in the USA.
     

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