Jan 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm #1298125
Maybe it has been a piece of old news. I just browsed the FF website today and found the origin of the garments listed on this page are all "imported". http://featheredfriends.com/index.php/outside/garments/lightweight.htmlJan 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm #1944563
A few words on the subject lifted from their website..
"We have recently made the difficult decision to expand a small portion of our production to China. With 40 years of domestic, in-house manufacturing and a loyal customer base that has come to equate that legacy with quality and craftsmanship this was not a decision we undertook lightly. Please understand that we are not displacing our domestic production, we have actually increased output in recent years, but difficutly finding the highly skilled sewing labor that our products require coupled with a high demand for our lightweight garments necessitated that we expand production beyond Seattle. All of our sleeping bags and a large portion of our garment line will continue to be produced in our Seattle based facility and we will make every effort to keep you informed of any future changes.
Feathered Friends values your opinion and we welcome any feedback you may have on this or any other aspect of our business. Please email email@example.com and let us know what you think, we're looking forward to hearing from you."
Same complaint Ron Moak has. Can't find a production sewing facility here capable.Jan 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm #1944595
used the same excuse years ago ….
note that canada goose is committed to produce all of its jackets in canada … its not UL, and its yuppie, but they stand by their commitment ….Jan 17, 2013 at 8:38 am #1944660
@mammomanLocale: NE AL
I can tell you if FF was based in my neck of the woods they would have great difficulty in finding a domestic workforce….folks around here view that kind of job as beneath them and meant for illegal aliens….while they sit at home and collect a gov't check. Our local restaurants can't even get domestic dishwashers to work for $10 a hour with bennies because it's "dirty work."Jan 17, 2013 at 10:01 am #1944678
I'm gonna try not to condemn other people's opinions. However, I've got a lot of strong ones.
First of all, pushing against globalization strikes me as a futile pursuit. American businesses are important and I encourage everyone to eat and shop locally, but calling out a business for importing goods and services is a very different thing. Asking a company to maintain growth, expand business, but never sacrifice their exclusivity to American production is asking them to seriously hamper their profits, the benefits they can provide to their American workers, their competitiveness against other companies, and their possibility for further growth.
Globalized production is an infrastructure that is indelibly connected to American consumerism; it doesn't matter how much 5% of the population dislikes the fact that their goods are imported, production overseas is going to continue. A globalized economy is going to keep existing. We are going to be connected to China, and Taiwan, and Brazil, and Indonesia. The best thing you can do is inquire about the choices these companies make when choosing the factories and districts that their goods are produced with. Some have a social conscience; others don't.
If you connect the USA-MADE brand with quality, it is with a sense of nationalism and a misunderstanding of what actually goes into quality. If you pay for a product, you usually get what you pay for. Imported goods come on a spectrum. If a USA-MADE company produced a flimsy product, it would be less expensive. Similarly, if you pay less for an imported product, you lose quality. Very simple relationship.
So when a company like FF starts importing some of their business and explicitly states that they aren't cutting their domestic line, I don't find any reason to doubt them unless it comes from misplaced patriotism, bigotry, and ignorance towards the global community we now live in. Embrace the fact that American production standards are a step up from local economies; people who get jobs in factories making American goods end up stepping into better quality of life, for the most part, than they would otherwise. And when the Chinese economy grows, our connected economy does well also.
It's not 1975 anymore. The game has changed.
-MJan 17, 2013 at 11:57 am #1944713
@hhopeLocale: East Bay
Max, you've got some work to do. Quite a bit. Today in Beijing. That article has some nice pictures in it, I've started realizing that words probably don't work when people have very little idea about a subject.
Companies move production to China to cut costs, in almost every case. Those costs are reduced because china has almost no environmental or workplace regulations. So that cute notion that it's all one big happy global world is nonsense. Don't they teach any critical thinking any more?
You are however right, it is time to change, and the changes are relocalizing, supporting local businesses over environmentally destructive outsourced enterprises whenever possible. Living ethically means you live ethically, not that you just pick whatever you feel like based on no understanding at all. Ethics is a very demanding thing to engage in, it requires sacrifice among other things, though the sacrifices are only illusory, the real bondage happens when you fall for the convenience that uncritical approaches to modern industrial existence offer.
Globalism has no future, it's resource intensive, and relies on supply chains that are totally non sustainable. I suggest you learn what the word sustainable means before you respond. Engaging in non sustainable behaviors for what are essentially selfish reasons is a fundamentally unethical behavior. There's no law that says a well run company has to grow endlessly, it can serve its niche and be happy and content. Another principle of ethical living, by the way. I suggest you work your way through Spinoza's Ethics, it's a good place to start. He doesn't hold your hand though, you have to figure it out for yourself. This is assuming I remember right your claim to have an interest in such things.
One of my favorite things about the whole cottage industry driven backpacking gear scene is that it relocalizes and removes corporate abuse and control from at least one sector of our lives. It also restores something that sort of resembles an actual free market. Like farmers markets and shopping at coops etc. I don't buy from 'cottage' guys / gals who outsource their production, it defeats the purpose, I don't consider them cottage in any way shape or form, just some guy/gal who is trying to make money without doing any real work. Hats off to Henry from tarptent, Lawson form mountainfitter, the great group at Western Mountaineering, Enlightened bags/quilts, Zpacks, and all the rest who seem to have no trouble using local sewers to create their great products. And all the smaller guys who create one great little item or another, and bring craft and care (heidegger, remember?) back to our regional lives. One step at a time, that's how we'll progress into the future.Jan 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm #1944716
I didn't say foreign production was great, humane-wise. I didn't. Don't misunderstand me.
I said it was a step up over their previous options for taking care of their families. From the Adam Smith institute:
"To poorer countries globalization brings the chance to sell their relatively low cost labour onto world markets. It brings the investment that creates jobs, and although those jobs pay less than their counterparts in rich economies, they represent a step up for people in recipient countries because they usually pay more than do the more traditional jobs available there."
I'm about three months away from receiving a degree in Environmental Science and Communication, with a focus in pollution and nuclear power. Don't mistake me for someone who has very little idea on the subject, either. I could write a book, but I don't try and say all of it in a single post. ;)
Furthermore, I didn't say anything about where I shop. For you to challenge my ethics and my understanding of sustainability is offensive. I don't know what I did to make you think I was uninformed, but the only person missing information here appears to be you. Don't presume to know me, my thoughts on a great many things, or my understanding of your concepts. Instead, share information and opinion, and allow others to interpret and respond to them (it's a hell of a lot more useful than telling people what you're sure they "don't understand.")Jan 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm #1944722
I'd much rather people quote me saying "Shop Local" because I believe in and support cottage industry. I just don't condone a condemnation when they split between domestic and international production.Jan 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm #1944728
@hhopeLocale: East Bay
quoting from the adam smith institute in the context of environmental science? that's a first. Would have been the very last place I'd think of to look for a quote. Aside from the fact that quote ignores ALL costs, both social, envirnmental, ecological, of such a simple minded notion, well, no, actually that covers it adequately. Used to be that if we talked about global thinking, it meant we expanded our thinking to cover more and more costs/outcomes of actions, not fewer and fewer, but I do understand the pressure modern society imposes on people to not question it.
I think you should start learning something about ecology and the environment particularly in the context of sustainable existence, but then again, you might be a bright guy who has figured out that catering to corporate industrial interests makes for a very profitable, and very easy, career. Who can say? Not me. Your choice of words certainly say that, if that's contrary to your intention, I'd suggest stepping back from your degree and working on the communication aspect a bit more, but I think you're saying roughly what you mean, you just didn't expect anyone to call you on it. No worries, we're all happy campers in the end.
You'll have to forgive me, I think I must have misread some of your other postings, I had the impression you actually had some interest in such matters, and awareness, my mistake, pretend I never said anything. It's a mistake I'm prone to making on these forums, but one that I'm finally starting to learn to step away from. Too many great minds out there in the end to spend frittering time away that we'll never get back. Life only has so many days in it after all, and as the wise man once said, don't do things you know aren't good. Hard advice to follow, it sounds so easy though…
enjoy your hikes etc.Jan 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1944732
Ok, sorry for all the postings. This touches on a subject I have a great deal of interest in.
I like the sentiments I'm getting from previous posts. However, I kind of see them like I see macaroni art from when my brothers were younger. I smile, and I covet the idea, but I recognize that it isn't realistically "adult," and that if placed against the standards of fine art, they (mostly) fall short.
For every person in the U.S. that shops at farmer's markets and uses local goods, there are probably upwards of 50, and I'd be willing to bet closer to 1-200 other people who have absolutely no regard. Think about that. You talk about moving to a better future from unsustainable production through baby steps, but you're taking steps against something that is absolutely inevitable.
I applaud the efforts to shop domestic, and I try to do it whenever I can as well. But I have the understanding that it's going to make no difference in the progression of global peril at the hands of pollution. There will be crisis, possibly life-altering crisis, in the next century. Houses are going to go underwater. Cancer rates are going to skyrocket. Entire populations are going to be displaced. If you think your quilts and your jackets are going to prevent that from reaching your perfect little corner of the United States, your American privilege has blinded you to the inevitable. The food you buy in the supermarket has far higher a carbon footprint than your camping gear, and the gasoline in your car has far greater a human cost.
Luckily, when there are crisis, people usually step up. Remember when Acid Rain was going to decimate forests? We brought acidity down. Remember when the rivers in Michigan caught on fire from pollution? We've rehabilitated most of them. Everyone remembers the Ozone hole- that filled back in since we banned hydrochlorofluorocarbons.Jan 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm #1944737
You seem to have a pretty concrete picture in your head of who I am from about ten paragraphs. I have a degree in environmental science- to get that, I've taken class after class on ecology, sustainable development, environmental law, economics, media studies, cultural studies, botany… etc. If that's not enough to give you some indication that I understand, then nothing will be. I can't convince you; I won't try.
I don't own a car. I shop from local farms. I make my own gear and shop from companies with policies for recycling. I recycle electronics responsibly, not at the local dump. I haven't thrown out plastic in a decade. I run advocacy groups on my campus, I do trail cleanups, I help coordinate carpooling for commuters. I do my part- stop attacking someone who doesn't need the conversation, focus on someone making a bigger impact. Like somebody NOT on a forum for supporting the great outdoors, maybe?
Edit: I don't have the degree yet, I still need to take Chemistry, an American History course, and a computing course. But you catch my drift.Jan 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm #1944739
It's capitalism. Pay as little as possible for labor so you can maximise profits. Surely no US citizen is anti-capitalist? ;-)Jan 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm #1944745
"Who can say? Not me. [added by me: but now I'll go ahead say it anyway….] Your choice of words certainly say that, if that's contrary to your intention, I'd suggest stepping back from your degree and working on the communication aspect a bit more, but I think you're saying roughly what you mean, you just didn't expect anyone to call you on it. No worries, we're all happy campers in the end."
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ah, Harald, you do make me chuckle a lot, a bit of unintended humor to brighten my day. Thanks. And thanks for being BPL's very own Sheldon Cooper. We missed having one of our very own.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm #1944748
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Capitalism also gives us the choice to not buy from a company that produces in China and force them to bring production back into the United States or fail.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm #1944749
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
I agree with Max, on pretty much everything he wrote. Not that it matters, but it's nice to have someone put it so well.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm #1944750
@rustybLocale: Rocky Mountains
I had to read this twice….for as the first time, I interpreted it as "everyone else is doing it so it doesn't matter if I do or don't".
Now, I'm not saying that this is the case here…nor am I picking on you Max, or anyone else. However, it *is* the sense I get from the majority of people…not here on BPL necessarily, but in general. "What difference am I going to make" doesn't address ones convictions or moral compass. Rather, it might say, "I don't care"…and it may speak clearly of their true convictions…or lack of. Some people are well aware that, without a collective effort, their particular actions are not going to change the outcome. However, that doesn't stop them from believing in what they do…and doing what they believe is right. After all, what good are convictions unless put into conduct?
Perhaps anyone taking an environmental stance should back-up their voice in future posts. What is it that they are doing…or are they just being trendy with lip service? Ok, now I'm the bad guy….:-)Jan 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm #1944758
Keep on going Max.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you. Then you win.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm #1944762
Thanks for the insight. Being perfectly clear about where I stand on this would probably require all of us to go on a few dates and then maintain long-term communication, but I can try and scratch the surface.
I definitely take steps where I think they'll have the most impact. Whenever I buy food, I use restaurants that promote local farms and I shop from our store, Wild oats, which gets all of it's produce from the towns around mine, rather than from another state. I recycle plastic, religiously. I'll carry a plastic bottle for miles just to get to a blue bin. I haven't left a trail without some trash in a long time.
On top of that, I have spent the last six years of my life traveling only by bicycle whenever possible. I don't own a car or ever drive one. I bike to class, I bike to shop for food, I bike to my friend's houses, and I bike to travel around when I'm on vacation. I significantly reduce my carbon footprint by removing a motor vehicle from my life.
When I'm shopping for a jacket, I'll pay the extra premium for a USA-made product happily, but sometimes I jump on a "for Sale" item without giving sustainability a second thought. Sometimes, that's just the choice I make. When you consider the impact 100+ miles of driving a week has, I like to think I earn my right to get the occasional imported product, but it's definitely not "right." It's just about being reasonable with myself.
I make all these choices, not because I'm getting ready for the moment of revelation where everyone saves the planet, but instead because I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I didn't. These things are the right things to do, and I don't want to be part of the problem. So I work hard, but I don't put the weight of the solution on my shoulders because, frankly, the solution is not really at hand, just yet.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm #1944763
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you. Then you win."
Then we celebrate with single malt! Gosh, Mike, you forgot the best part! ;-)Jan 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm #1944766
Mmmmm… Grog…Jan 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm #1944767
@mammomanLocale: NE AL
The FF brief quoted above makes it sound like they outsourced this limited part of the lineup over quality concerns, not over $$$. Now, you can debate whether or not that's true, but if it is, how can you fault them?
I KNOW I've seen cottage gear makers on this forum before decry the shortage of skilled craftsmen and women they need to produce their product. I think that's one reason why so many of them do the work themselves….but when your company grows, and there's only one you, where do you turn? I'm with Max on this one….and FWIW I'm the son of a highly-educated ecologist who his father trained well…..I live like Max for the most part….but I'm a realist as well.Jan 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm #1944769
These youg dudes can't appreciate a good single malt, Doug. It takes many years of throat abuse to perfect the procedure. ;_)Jan 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm #1944781
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Max, you mention shopping at Wild Oats? This surprises me, because the Wild Oats stores in the Pacific Northwest, and, I understood, nationwide were all bought by Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck (hostile takeover) some years ago and then all closed down. I now have to drive 35 miles to buy organic food, except for the small amount carried by the local Fred Meyer (Kroger) chain, very little of it local.Jan 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm #1944787
Ours thrives, but I'm on the other side of the country. :)Jan 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm #1944819
"Then we celebrate with single malt!"
Then you have several more.
First, they try to ignore you, then they laugh at you, you try to fight them, you fall down a lot, and they win.
And the bloody cycle continues, on and on and on…
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