Forget It Jack, It’s Chinatown: Betabrand, Sometimes

Fool me one time, shame on you
Fool me twice, can’t put the blame on you
Fool me three times, fuck the peace signs
Load the chopper, let it rain on you

Imagine how happy I was to get my new Dragon-Hide Hoodigan from Betabrand just in time for a few long plane trips. Then imagine how I felt to see that they’d sent production to China. Well, it’s nobody’s fault but mine.

Four years ago, I noted that the company was outsourcing their shoes in China. I didn’t love that but I kinda-sorta understood it, because making shoes in the United States is not for the faint of heart. The idea of making a hoodie in China, however… there’s no excuse for that. So I’m sending it back.

Betabrand continues to make a lot of clothing in San Francisco, like their original and very comfortable Cordarounds. It’s just that you’re going to have to check ahead of time, every time. And according to a few Amazon reviews, some of the Betabrand stuff that’s American-made if you order it direct mysteriously becomes foreign-made when you buy it on Amazon. That doesn’t surprise me, honestly.

You can still get American-made clothing, with almost no exceptions, from Gustin. If you use this link to buy something I’ll get five dollars of store credit. I promise to use it on something ridiculous. You can also try the newest version of the Flint and Tinder hoodie. I have two of them and they are effectively bulletproof. Each and every one of them is American-made.

With Betabrand, however, we’re gonna have to be all Ronnie Reagan with them. Trust but verify, my friends.

12 Replies to “Forget It Jack, It’s Chinatown: Betabrand, Sometimes”

  1. -Nate

    I’m still looking for wingtip safety shoes with a glossy black finish ~ why did Florsheim forsake me ? .


  2. nobody

    I think it’s more that making sneakers in the US is not for the faint of heart. As I’m sure you know, it’s not hard to find US-made dress or casual shoes (moccasins and similar). And there is really no excuse for buying foreign-made boots (though I must admit that my Italian-made Astorflex chukkas still probably hold the title for most comfortable shoes I have ever owned).

    That said, if you’re still on the hunt for US-made sneakers, I got some Rancourt Carson’s recently (when Huckberry had them on clearance), and they seem promising, though need another round on the shoe-stretcher to fit my wide-track feet. Some of the classic PF Flyers are also US made, but I haven’t yet come around to the look of the massive white soles.

    • tresmonos

      I love my PF Flyers. Goes perfectly with cuffed US made raw denim.

      I also have some New Balance sneakers that are US made but it’s tough to catch a congruent color pallet that suits me. It’s like I have to keep an eye on what is being released from their factory (NB makes PF flyers FYI)

      • nobody

        Oh, I didn’t realize PFs were made by NB. Is that a recent development?

        I like some of the colors on the suede US-made NBs, but have trouble pulling the trigger on shoes that simultaneously seem too casual to wear to dinner but too nice to wear for actual strenuous activity.

  3. Rick T.

    I ordered several pairs of the Gustin 1968 jeans which I had to return regretfully due to their published measurements being meaningfully off from what was delivered. After I had fully documented the differences they did take back and refund the cost so no complaints on the customer service end. A shame because I thought I had solved my American made jeans problem at a reasonable cost.

    • tresmonos

      Try Bravestar. I love both my Gustin and Bravestar jeans. Gustin does let some QC slip through due to their contract manufacturing model. Bravestar is all in house. You have to take the good with the bad with Gustin and they have only let me down once out of the thousands I’ve spent with them.

    • Q.

      I tried Gustin once, based on recommendations here, and the measurements were so off that I’ll likely never buy jeans over the net again.

      • Jack Baruth Post author

        I will say this about Gustin: they don’t fit like anything else. But in my experience they’re fairly consistent once you get over the humiliation of buying 40-inch pants for a measured 37-inch waist. 🙂

  4. tresmonos

    If you’re a fan of Dov Charney:
    If you like a sweatshirt more substantial than what Flint and Tinder, Gustin and whoever else makes US made sweat shirts:
    If you want a 1950’s greaser fit on denim made in the US:

    I personally have spent a few grand on Gustin and all of the above on making my closet 100% american made.

    There’s Ebbets for vintage baseball caps, New Era is finally using their NY factory for MLB on field hats again.

    The only thing I’ll be missing in the near future is selvage denim.


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