Sewn in the U.S.A.

Wage costs forced most clothing makers abroad. Brooks Brothers' tie factory makes the case for staying local

Joshua Lutz / Redux for TIME

After a 16-step assembly process, the ties wind up at their last inspection before being wrapped, boxed and shipped to stores around the world.

Domingo Ramirez is a cutter on the tie-factory floor. He unrolls silk fabric from a long bolt and smooths it out on the cutting table. Then he lays down a cardboard pattern, draws a chalk outline and cuts the material with a circular knife. Like cutters around the world, Ramirez does this a hundred times a day. But unlike almost all of them, he does it in the U.S.--in New York City, specifically, just a 15-minute car ride from the Madison Avenue headquarters of his employer, Brooks Brothers.

Most apparel manufacturers went overseas in search of cheaper labor years ago--90% of...

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