After WWII, the massive population and economic expansion in the United States made the U.S. shoe industry the largest in the world. As the U.S. economy grew and manufacturing costs increased, U.S.-based footwear makers sourced a new and cheaper labor force in Asia, South America and India. Eventually, the U.S. manufacturing base was left behind for inexpensive, foreign-made, mass produced goods.
It is crucial that we begin to create awareness to the origin or products and promote products made in the United States. There is a desire for products that are culturally authentic and unique. This is already apparent in the established luxury brands, where "Made in Italy", is the automatic endorsement of quality and prestige. Currently, "Handcrafted in the USA", resonates pride in craftsmanship, durability and quality with consumers around the world.
While globalization has created positive advancements in almost every aspect of our lives, it has had a lasting negative impact on our nation's manufacturing base. Manufacturing jobs are critical to the economic security of our nation, but in the last four decades the United States has lost millions of manufacturing jobs to cheaper offshore labor markets. The contribution of the footwear and apparel industries to the United States employment has decreased over time but remains significant with the industries currently employing over 800,000 workers.
The Chippewa brand symbolizes American authenticity. Our goal is to capitalize on this authenticity and the growing desire for American made goods, while promoting the positive effects of manufacturing products in the United States has on our nations's economy, employment and the environment.