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Leg Rash Made in China - Hazards of Foreign Manufacturing

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Manufacturing Location Matters

I love UGG boots. Other fashion bloggers may be spitting out their coffee right about  now, but I don’t wear them just for fashion’s sake, I wear them for warmth and comfort. Always have, ever since I was old enough to buy a pair myself. But after wearing my latest pair, the black classic short boot, I broke out in a skin rash on both my legs that didn’t go away for over a week!

rash from ugg boots

Sorry for the pic of my embarrasingly white and apparently somewhat bruised legs, but I had to show you the evidence. This is a completely unretouched photo taken shortly after I noticed the rash. It only got worse from there.

Outside the countries of Australia and New Zealand, UGG is a brand manufactured by the California-based Deckers Outdoor Corporation, with the majority of its manufacturing based in China. This annoying rash made me wonder, what the heck were the Chinese manufacturing processes doing to the pristine UGG sheepskin I knew and loved?

The UGG boots I owned prior to purchasing these new boots lasted over 5 years (worn frequently), were the same style, and were made in Australia. I had no problems with them. The new boots are definitely authentic UGG boots, not counterfeit, were made in China, and apparently came with some sort of additive or insecticide on the sheepskin that caused this crazy skin rash - and it takes a lot for me to have any kind of skin issue - no sensitive skin here.

I’m not trying to bash UGG - just want clothing brands to be aware that there may be adverse consequences when they choose to manufacture products in foreign, low-cost manufacturing environments. Do you really know how they’re handling them? Is the quality control the same or better than it was when you made it in your own country? We know it’s less expensive, but is it really worth it?

Less expensive for now, maybe; China’s costs are rising. On February 23rd, Dan Harris of the China Law Blog writes “Not entirely sure why, but in the last couple weeks our China lawyers have seen a massive increase in emails and phone calls from North American companies seeking our help in dealing with defective products/quality control problems.”

And yes, I realize that all foreign manufacturing is not bad and all American manufacturing is not good. But don't you have more control over what you produce when you can keep a closer eye on it during the process?

This is yet another reason that we, as Americans, should try to purchase products made in the USA as much as possible. The manufacturing country matters! The more American consumers purchase American-made products, the more those manufacturers will want to remain here or build new facilities to make their products here in the U.S.

Several studies and informal polls have repeatedly shown that Americans are willing to pay a little more - up to 10% more - to have their products made in the USA.

Also, the more products we make in our own country, the less reliant we are on others. Being reliant can have enormous and costly repercussions, which we are beginning to experience now - the Chinese manufacturers have already started to increase their manufacturing costs, and the ones that haven’t are scared to raise costs for fear of losing the foreign companies. They won’t be able to sustain this plan for long without going broke.

The apparel industry here in the U.S. is growing, and raw cotton is one of our major exports - to the tune of $4.1 billion - but many fabrics and components are still made elsewhere, in part because the machines or factories to make them don’t even exist here anymore.

If a piece of clothing is made in the USA by an American company or clothing brand, and is sewn or otherwise constructed by American workers, I’m willing to support it even if a portion of it came from somewhere else. Why? Because many fabrics and hardware that are used in our current fashions aren’t readily available here. Yet.

At Cinnia Boutique we showcase clothing, accessories and gifts that are made here in the USA, by U.S. workers with American quality control - giving people options to support and choose American made products. Visit us the next time you want to support American-made.

Have you experienced lack of quality in, or an adverse reaction from, an item you purchased from a foreign country? Tell us about it in the comments.

p.s. If you're looking for Spring 2017 fashion trends and outfit ideas, we've got some great options

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