Every, 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.