Several American brands have stood the test of time and established themselves as trusted names in various industries. This is partly made possible by how much consumers prefer local goods. In fact, a survey found that 7 out of 10 Americans are more likely to buy domestically-made products and are even willing to pay more for them.
However, many shoppers would be surprised that many “All-American” brands now get their products made overseas. From cost to material quality, there are various reasons why companies now choose to go this route. Here’s a list of some popular brands that are now produced outside of the country.
Credit: @rayban on Instagram
As the best-selling eyewear brand in the world, Ray-Ban has significantly contributed to American fashion and history. From their classic Aviator frames initially designed in the 1930s to help protect the eyes of American pilots, to the stylish Wayfarers that are pop culture staples in films like Risky Business, Ray-Ban is one of the country’s most popular eyewear providers. Today, Ray-Ban has multiple collections of sunglasses that come in a wide range of color combinations so consumers can express their authentic styles.
All models are widely available, so you can get a pair from any of their 32 physical stores across the country, or you can buy online. They’re also popular worldwide, especially after they were purchased by conglomerate Luxxotica and started producing their frames from Italy and China.
Credit: @apple on Instagram
Apple devices are every American’s go-to for phones, computers, and tablets. Its headquarters in California is regarded as a hub for innovation and digital progress. As a matter of fact, it’s currently on the 14th iteration of the iPhone, and it continues to revolutionize the world of technology. Currently, experts estimate that Apple will lead the new frontier in smart glasses when they release their much-anticipated version.
Despite the high price point, Apple is still the preferred brand for gadgets due to its usability and sleek design. This popularity has made it one of the leading companies in the country. Contrary to this, most of its manufacturing is done in China, Taiwan, and India. Only a few of Apple’s components remain to be sourced from within America.
Credit: @levis on Instagram
Modern American fashion owes a lot to Levi’s for being the brand that created denim jeans. This year, it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary since it was founded in 1853 by German-Jewish immigrant Levi Strauss. Strauss moved to San Francisco and found success after creating durable blue jeans for miners. Up until now, Levi’s is known for its high-quality clothing and American-inspired branding. A few of their pants styles are still purely made in the U.S., but the majority of their products are now created in factories located in Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Mexico.
4. American Girl Dolls
Credit: @americangirlbrand on Instagram
American Girl Dolls rose to fame with toys that featured figures and characters throughout different points in American history. For example, their Julie Albright doll represents the 1970s, while their Molly McIntire model comes from the late World War II era. These characters are sold with accompanying books and are meant to introduce young girls to American life during various periods.
Even with these deep roots and the brand name, American Girl Dolls have been produced outside the country for decades. In the 1980s, manufacturing was done in Germany, but it was moved to China when the brand was acquired by the company Mattel. More specifically, due to labor costs and the bigger population of workers, most Mattel brand dolls are made in Shenzhen province.
Credit: @gillette on Instagram
For the longest time, Gillette has been the country’s chosen brand for razors and shaving cream. It invented the concept of a disposable razor, and since then, its products are likely to be found in most American households. With their headquarters being located in Boston, most of their promotional materials, such as commercials and posters, often include a “Made in USA” tag.
However, it was later on discovered that Gillete outsources production efforts from several other countries, including Brazil, China, Canada, and Mexico. Apart from these, as of 2021, Gilette themselves state that the majority of their razor blades are manufactured in a factory in Berlin.
Credit: @nikesportswear on Instagram
At this point, Nike is almost synonymous with sportswear. The famous swoosh logo is associated with some of the best athletes America has to offer, and this is even explored in the 2024 movie “Air,” that details the brand’s journey to success. Their shoes aren’t just seen as activewear, but they’ve also achieved collectible status among sneakerheads, who sometimes would display these items rather than wear them.
To date, the most expensive Nike shoes even sold for a whopping $2 million. Bought by the rapper Drake, these shoes were the solid gold Ovo Air Jordans which just further cemented Nike’s 5-star status. Though the brand was initially founded in Oregon, its product manufacturing has been moved to Asia ever since the 1970s. Nowadays, Nike shoes are created out of factories in China and Vietnam.
Despite production being held in other countries, these brands continue to be reliable because they don’t sacrifice the quality of their products. Along with their headquarters, these brands will continue to be seen as American due to their contributions to the country.