I’ve been making khakis in America since 1985. In that time, I’ve seen every type of manufacturing facility - from family-owned, inner city sewing operations to state-of-the-art factories located in rural mountain towns.
I’ve designed belts with an Amish harness maker, casted buckles with a sculptor, searched Woolrich’s historic fabric archives and built hand-sewn shoes in Maine. I’ve worn out more than one set of tires seeking genuine makers.
Making products in the USA has always been important to me and will remain the first alternative for PennBilt Brand. American manufacturing is crucial for the jobs it creates and the sense of pride it builds. There is one constant challenge, however, the cost of labor is high and the market for $200 khakis is limited; and almost non-existent for shorts. Surprisingly, shorts cost as much to make as pants minus a few bucks of fabric.
I have one unwavering standard for PennBilt Brand - make the best pair of cotton performance chinos and shorts ever created at a sensible price. Easy to say; not easy to do.
So, for the first time ever, I considered manufacturing a portion of our product line outside the USA. After some soul searching and extensive research, the effort led me to a place where they grow the world’s finest cotton - Peru. Long staple Pima cotton is strong, super soft and wicks every bit as well as tech fabrics thanks to its unique absorbency. It just so happens that Peru also has state of the art, WRAP certified garment factories too.
The combination of world class fabric and craftsmanship presented unrivaled possibilities for value creation. The finished product turned out even better than expected.