Years ago, many towns in Somerset County had clothing factories. Local people made clothes for private label brands as well as governmental uniforms.
Then the manufacturing jobs were sent overseas, primarily to China, because it was cheaper to make clothing there.
If one or two big brands decide to make a commitment and bring the whole supply chain ecosystem with them, from zippers, button and thread suppliers, back to the U.S. then all of a sudden manufacturing will be cheaper to do in the U.S. The fashion industry currently accounts for 4.4 million U.S. jobs, but more than 97 percent of clothing is still imported. In January, WalMart Stores announced that it would buy $50 billion more in American-made goods over the next decade.
In addition, people are becoming more aware of the working conditions in some countries, including building deficiencies that led to the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh last month that killed more than 400 people.
It ultimately boils down to cost of production versus what people are willing to pay for clothing. If people still demand cheaper clothing, the majority of manufacturing jobs won't return to America.