There's no occasion quite like the Fourth of July to celebrate all things American. Here at Fashionista, we'll be spending the week examining the fashion industry in our own backyard, from the state of U.S. apparel manufacturing to American-born models on the rise. You can follow all of our coverage here.
It's true that working in this industry, we've all encountered some of the best and brightest names and talents in the fashion business. But sometimes, when it comes to shopping, you just want to support homegrown talent. There's no shortage of brands made right here in America that are killing it, but we here at Fashionista wanted to round up our favorites — just in case you had some patriotic shopping in your future.
Tyler McCall, Deputy Editor
Fleur du Mal
I love lingerie. It's so often a practical purchase, but there are also plenty of options out there than can make you feel anything from playful to sexy. Fleur du Mal is one of the brands that consistently hits it out of the park for me. (They source lace from France but handle production stateside.) Not only are their pieces just drop-dead gorgeous, there's also a nod and a wink to their line, both in the lingerie itself and in the marketing. (Their Playboy collab in particular was pretty incredible.) They're the kind of pieces you want to show off — and plenty of their celebrity clients regularly do just that.
And just in case lingerie isn't your bag, Fleur du Mal has entered the swimsuit game, turning their same sexy bodysuit and bikini styles into some pretty chic bathing suits. In this kind of heat, what could be more perfect?
Dhani Mau, West Coast Editor
Rarely, but every now and then, I'll come across a brand that seems to read my mind in terms of releasing the exact kinds of products I want, when I want them, at a price point that is more or less within by budget. (That last part is especially unusual.) One of those brands is Clare V. The fact that founder Clare Vivier has all of her chic, understated handbags manufactured in Los Angeles is just icing on the cake.
Inspired by a Parisian aesthetic, Vivier has expanded her line of cool, functional laptop cases and clutches to include a range of adorable, everyday handbags. Her pouches, totes and woven Petite Alice styles are my personal favorites, and they all cost less than $200. In a landscape where most "It" bags tend to be over-designed or covered in logos — and cost way, way more — Vivier's minimalist, local approach is more than welcome. She's collaborated with everyone from Steven Alan and Garrett Leight to & Other Stories and Beastie Boy Mike D under her belt, as well her own store in the heart of LA's Silverlake neighborhood. The brand's growth has been organic, and while it's unlikely that she has her sights set on total world domination, there are surely many more years of cute things coming our way.
Maura Brannigan, Senior Editor
I worked at two different fashion publications before starting at Fashionista just over two years ago, and it wasn't until I got here that I really, fully realized how integral sustainability — as well as ethical production practices and humane labor conditions — can and should be to this industry. In meeting and speaking to those brands and companies spearheading sustainability, I've also realized that the onus is on the consumer to affect change; if we put our money where our mouths are — i.e., only shopping at sustainable retailers — less ethical brands will forced to adapt their policies.
One such label fronting the eco-friendly charge, at least on the contemporary side of things, is Reformation, which both designs and manufactures the vast majority of its inventory in its factory headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. In April, Reformation began opening up its LA factory to the public, and began a social media campaign to spotlight some of its employees, like Lupe, Mauro, Joe, Leslie, Sayed and Isabel. Reformation showed me how much I value transparency and has affected my shopping patterns for the better. I'm now trying to put my money where my mouth is more consistently, and Reformation is exactly the place to start.
Maria Bobila, Associate Editor
When I got my first paycheck from my first full-time fashion job, I decided to treat myself to a jewelry piece from Pamela Love. I was instantly drawn to the brand for its signature skull charms, and so I bought myself a necklace with a tiny black skull pendant. It was the perfect addition to everything I wore and has become a sort of totem for my early years living in the city.
I was always drawn to the designer Pamela Love's backstory, too. I imagine her inside a cozy Brooklyn apartment making her witchy-chic accessories, like the ultimate New York City hustle-turned-business. Like any growing brand, Love has moved into a proper studio in Manhattan's Garment District, creating most of her collection entirely in the United States, while manufacturing done abroad is carefully considered for social and environmental responsibility. Now that Love offers a fine jewelry collection, I've had my eye on a few of its pieces as well. Perhaps that'll be for another NYC milestone.
Stephanie Saltzman, Beauty Editor
Tata Harper & RMS Beauty
Two of my favorite made in the USA brands — Tata Harper and RMS Beauty — actually have a lot in common. Both are beauty companies founded by women with a personal devotion to natural ingredients and a commitment to sustainability, and both of them make products beloved by beauty editors, models and Sephora shoppers alike.
Tata Harper immigrated to the United States from Columbia, where she founded her eponymous skin-care line after her stepfather had been diagnosed with cancer. Harper turned a critical eye toward the ingredients in her beauty products when her stepfather's doctor had encouraged him to do the same, and with that, Harper's mission to spread awareness — along with natural, sustainable, synthetic-free products that actually deliver results — was born. She produces her line at a former dairy farm in Vermont's Champlain Valley, a process that has enabled the company to cut down on its pre-distribution steps and limit its carbon footprint (on top of its already eco-minded recycled packaging). All of that is obviously quite admirable, but here's the thing: the products also happen to be insanely good. My all-time favorites are the Resurfacing Mask and Concentrated Brightening Serum, but you pretty much can't go wrong with the entire line.
RMS Beauty founder Rose-Marie Swift has had a decades-long career makeup artist, with her work appearing in Vogue, W, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Allure and just about every other relevant fashion magazine of the modern era, as well as in high-profile campaigns for brands like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria's Secret. Her clients include Gisele Bündchen, Miranda Kerr, Tilda Swinton and Palmoa Picasso. Like Harper, she became interested in the idea of natural products after experiencing health issues (for Swift, it was her own — medical tests revealed that her blood contained toxic levels of heavy metals such as aluminum, barium, cadmium, lead and mercury). It was a wake-up call that spending so much time around cosmetics could have such major implications for one's health.
She has since become an outspoken advocate for "non-toxic" beauty products, launching (and self-financing) her own line of color cosmetics in 2008. Not only are RMS Beauty products made with organic ingredients but those ingredients are also raw, food-grade quality, meaning they haven't been processed to the same extent that most other cosmetics (even natural ones) are. I'm addicted to the Makeup Remover Wipes (which are by far the best use of coconut oil in a beauty product, if you ask me) and Un Cover-Up. Here's hoping for plenty more female-run, environmentally conscious, American-made, super legit beauty brands in the years to come.
Whitney Bauck, Assistant Editor
Calle del Mar
I'm not exactly sure where I first came across Calle del Mar — maybe in a Rookie editorial, shortly after the brand was founded? — but I do remember the first time I saw someone wearing the label IRL. I was shooting street style at my first NYFW when I saw a woman come out of one of the shows wearing a dress that had a huge wave patch on the front. My love for patches is well-documented, and Calle del Mar's, which looked a bit like a cartoonized version of the "Great Wave off Kanagawa," hooked me immediately.
Since then, my love for the brand has only grown. Its combination of ultra-femme details (think pockets stuffed with sequin stars and pleated cheerleader skirts) and a tomboyish attitude (think letter jacket silhouettes and everything styled with sneakers) feels like a perfect fit for the way I want to express gender at the moment. And the fact that California-raised, New York-trained designer and founder Aza Ziegler cares about the ethics of manufacturing and production is a big win in my book, too. In short: this is one American label I hope sticks around for a long, long time.
Homepage photo: Imaxtree