BUSINESS Made in USA American Eyewear Companies Spread Their Roots and Grow By Gwendolyn Plummer Tuesday, September 6, 2022 1:00 AM RELATED CONTENT L'Amy America Debuts Home Grown Seven.Five State and AO, an Icon in Chicago The McGee Group Grows in Georgia Hilco’s American-Made Safety Eyewear Modo, Made in Brooklyn North Point Eyewear’s Pittsburgh Roots Thema Offers Italian-Born, American-Made Eyewear Art-Craft Optical Serves Up New Suns Randolph Eyewear in Massachusetts, the White House and Around the World ClearVision’s Spectaculars, Handcrafted and American-Made Click to download a PDF of Made in USA.NEW YORK—What it means to be American-made can be different for everyone. In July of 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced a new rule that both clarified and narrowed what it means to be a product “Made in the USA.” Under this new rule, the FTC prohibits companies from labeling their products as “Made in the USA” unless “virtually all” https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/blog/2022/04/ftc-charges-battery-maker-first-case-under-made-usa-labeling-rule pieces or ingredients are made and sourced in the U.S. In addition, the final assembly or processing and “substantial transformation” of the item must occur within the U.S. as well. The rule is strict, and it can be tough to reach every single requirement—in the eyewear industry, for example, many American-made frames are constructed and designed here in the U.S. using globally sourced components, like Italian acetate or Japanese titanium. The takeaway for consumers and eyewear companies alike is where and how American-made frames are constructed: here, in our own backyard, with American personality and heart. In 2020, the Reshoring Institute (https://reshoringinstitute.org/made-in-usa-survey/) surveyed nearly 500 Americans and found that 69 percent prefer products with a “Made in the USA” label. Plus, 83 percent of those surveyed said they’d be willing to pay as much as 20 percent more for an item that is American-made. Alongside the benefits on the consumer front, keeping production in the U.S. creates more jobs and boosts local economies. There’s little question, then, that being American-made has its benefits—something the eyewear community has known for a long, long time. American-made eyewear has its own special space within our industry, one associated with heritage and innovation, combining design and technology that uniquely American way. Some brands have been American-made from day one, born with the vision to grow on home soil. Others have seen the U.S. as a perfect place to take their next steps—a land to expand upon, a place to plant more roots. But no matter how these eyewear brands made it here, they’re making an impact—and, in line with the idea of the American Dream, they’re being welcomed with open arms. It’s not just American production that’s picking up steam, though—American fashion is having a moment too. Both the 2021 and 2022 Met Galas were themed around American fashion, designers, identity and history; 2021 was titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” while 2022 was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion.” An exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art always accompanies the Gala—open through September 2022 for all to see, this year’s exhibit presented the growth and evolution of American fashion, and shone a spotlight on some of the most influential American designers and fashion voices. Brent Miller, owner of Albright Opticians in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has seen patient interest in American-made eyewear, too. Miller and his team weren’t specifically looking for an American-made collection, but found themselves drawn to North Point Eyewear, Eyenavision’s line made in Pittsburgh. Because the frames are made in the same state as Albright Opticians, Miller hopes to see an increase in patient interest—and a willingness to pay the extra cost that comes along with being made in the U.S. Like many ECPs, Miller has recently hired a company to help overhaul the practice’s social media and online presence—part of that will include promoting their American made collections. “Our patients really appreciate the fact that they are made in state in Pittsburgh and that has made it easier to sell,” Miller told VM. Every year, Vision Monday takes a look at the landscape of American-made eyewear. From East to West, and everything in between, American-grown and American-planted eyewear companies are thriving, adapting and carving out a unique space for themselves in our big, connected world.