The Business of Imported Yoga Apparel: Where Are Made in the USA Yoga Pants?

January 19, 2013

shoppingEvery, and I mean every, time I pick up cute yoga apparel my hands go right for the fabric content/manufacturing tag, typically even bypassing the price tag.  Why?  Because where a yoga item is made generally ranks #1 in my buying decisions.  Of course, price is ultimately relevant to my decision, but even the hottest pair of yoga pants with a diamond crotch gusset isn’t going to rock my world if it’s manufactured in a country on my own “do not buy from” no-no list.

But, clearly not every yogi feels the way I do–and if everyone did, that would probably make for boring looking yoga studio fashion.  You see, if you didn’t already know, America’s Yoga Import business is soaring.  Importing yoga apparel is so hot right now that the heat surely can’t even compare to hot yoga studio temperatures.

The vast majority of American yoga imports originate in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.  Those regions account for more than 70% of all ocean-borne yoga exports to the U.S. Exports from China in 2012 were 44% of total U.S. imports.  It seems India has largely missed the boat on a business that it should naturally dominate, accounting for less than 1 percent of imports since 2006. (Business Insider).

Finding Made in the USA–or even Made in Canada–yoga apparel is not easy. I look. I am looking. Every. Time. I. Shop. For. Yoga. Apparel.  It’s not that I’m categorically rejecting all imports, fyi.  Fair trade works in my book.  European made generally works, too, as manufacturing standards are typically higher in the E.U., than in other countries from which the bulk of yoga imports originate. Handmade Etsy from anywhere also works as far as I’m concerned.

With so much North American interest in yoga and yoga wear, the recent explosion in healthy living and fitness, import numbers and economic conditions, I don’t get why we have yet to see more North American made yoga apparel.  If yoga pants can fly off the shelf for $98, it’s not like yoga apparel is selling so inexpensively at home that the only choice is to import it cheaply.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Until store shelves and e-fronts are routinely stocked with USA made apparel, I’ll continue reading content/manufacturing garment tags and rejecting cutesy, sexy, adorable yogi wear from countries that fall on my no-no list.

Do you have a favorite Made in the USA yoga apparel brand?  Do you boycott yoga imports?  Drop a comment and share your view.

5 Comments

  • Reply Beti February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I’m with you! There are a few brands around. A.S. Tees makes some but they are “Junior Fit” and that brand doesn’t typically fit me even in their large size. American Apparel sells some as does Yoga Lifestyle. REI has a couple of pairs on their website but they are just past the knee length and I prefer full length. I just read a blog post about a gal calling herself Nutti Yogini who is starting up a made in the US yoga clothing business.

    The problem, I think, is that most of the made in the US merchandise I’ve found is online. It’s very hard to find things in stores. And we are not a patient society. We don’t save up for big purchases. We don’t wait until things go on sale. We don’t want to wait for mail order. We want what we want when we want it.

    I’m encouraged though. I’m seeing more and more discussion about making things here in the US and in an increasingly wide variety of venues. It’s no longer just the ultra-patriotic who have typically been written off as rednecks. I’m not sure where you are but in the Pacific Northwest, more and more people are interested in growing their own food, raising chickens, supporting local artisans, buying from the small family farms at farmers markets. It’s an interesting area of common ground between that (left-wing) sector and the traditional (right-wing) supporters of American-made merchandise.

  • Reply Jen April 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Well, I love Hard Tail’s colors, but I can’t fit into them yet. I think Be Present is made in USA too. Ice Cream Wear is made in Canada. My bummer is how difficult it is to find CUTE plus size yoga pants off the rack. It seems like my color choices are black, black, black, and gray. I’ve dropped 4 sizes since I started Weight Watchers and yoga, but it seems like I’ll never get into anything cute off the rack. Ice Cream Wear will make to my measurements and I can choose the fabric, but they are the only place I’ve run across that will do that.

  • Reply Mindy Saintsing April 22, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Take a look at http://www.swadeshiyoga.com
    All the clothing made in SC.

  • Reply Yoga Apparel May 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Consumers have all the rights when buying. It’s your own choice what kind of brand or country you want your yoga apparel are made of. For me as long as it fits on me well and I’m comfortable with it I don’t care what country it came from but I prefer USA made yoga clothing.

  • Reply Melisa June 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    My solution to this conundrum? I buy all my clothes at thrift stores which allows me to support local nonprofits rather than multinational sweatshops and it still leaves cash in my pocket to pay for yoga classes. No, I’m not the most stylish gal in the studio but that doesn’t matter to me in the least as long as I’m comfortable and covered.

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