RIP, my unconditional love for 7 for All Mankind
jeans. We had a good run.
Poking around some shops yesterday, I looked into buying another pair of Seven jeans. Sevens are definitely pricey (around $165
a pair full-price) but in the past I've always found them to be worth it. The denim is really high quality- thick, soft, really luxurious feeling- the colors are rich, the fit is flattering, and they hold up for years and years.
All the Seven jeans I've owned were made in California. I was under the impression that the primary reason Sevens are so expensive is because they're made here in the US. As you may know
, I'm happy to pay a premium for things that are made here.
But the Sevens I saw for sale yesterday felt very different from ones I've
seen before-- the material was flimsy and rough,
and something about the fit was off. They just seemed cheap. Then I looked at the tag, and cursed out loud.The Seven jeans at the store (apologies for blurry camera phone photo)
really surprised to find that Seven has started making (or "assembling", whatever that means) at least some of
their jeans in Mexico. 7 for all Mankind has been in business since 2000; why would they start offshoring
to boost profits now?
Well, a quick web search confirmed that Seven has gone the way of Nature's Gate
: In mid-2007 the company was acquired by VF Corp
., a publicly-traded apparel conglomerate, and cost-cutting changes ensued (stock market shareholders can be a pretty demanding bunch.) Of course, Seven
hasn't passed down any cost savings to the customer-- the price tag on this pair still read $165. VF doesn't break out profits brand-by-brand in their earnings reports, but I have to imagine that they really started making a killing, margins-wise, when they shifted Seven's production south of the border. I mean, most Levi's
made in Mexico
, and those retail for $50 or less.
Apparently there are still some Seven brand jeans made in California, but they're sold mostly on Seven's website and in the brand's own boutiques-- which makes sense since they don't have to pay any retailer fees there. I guess it's good that some pairs are still being made here, but it's a bummer that I'll have to be a stickler about checking tags going forward.
So the search for ethically-manufactured jeans that I enjoy wearing resumes (sorry, American Apparel, you fit the former requirement but definitely not
the latter.) If anyone out there is interested in starting a company and sticking to their original principles, I swear I'll be a loyal customer!