I’d like to consider myself an avid reader of Gawker, and by "avid" I mean I follow them hardcore on Twitter, so it came as a surprise that I completely missed this rant on Friday about Unionmade and their clothes being, in fact, not actually union-made. Surely it must have been a slow news day because if this constitutes the hard-hitting journalism meets trolling that Gawker is ostensibly known for, then one must wonder, “Are Americans really that stupid?”
According to Gawker, they’ve never actually heard of Unionmade until a few people emailed them about their excitement to shop for goods at a store that supports unions only to be shocked and deceived by their allegedly fallacious name. Right, so two people emailed a complaint to someone at Gawker, in this case Hamilton Nolan, who then did his journalistic duty by composing a 500-word missive.
Listen, Unionmade isn't trying to trick anyone and if you think they are then you need to do a little research before demonizing a store that, at its very core, is trying to promote responsibly made goods from our own shores.
When it comes down to it, it’s really just a matter of fundamental reading and understanding the concept of paying homage to well-made goods. If any would-be shopper had preconceptions of whether or not Unionmade actually carried goods made by unions, all they had to do was shift their mouse to the “About Us” section of their website where everything is spelled out quite plainly:
“The name 'Unionmade' was conceived around the notion of well-made and aesthetically classic goods. We strive to carry items of the utmost quality that will continue to serve the owner well over time. While we carry many items that are made in the United States, we also sell items that are made responsibly in countries around the world. Our goal has always been, and will always be, to treat people with respect, honor quality and celebrate the timelessness of American style.”
So yes, the term Unionmade, on its own, could very well imply that they peddle clothing made by unionized craftsmen and women. But they’ve explained clearly why they chose that name and it’s because they’re an American shop that carries a highly curated selection of USA-made clothing and from many other places around the world. Listen, Unionmade isn't trying to trick anyone and if you think they are then you need to do a little research before demonizing a store that, at its very core, is trying to promote responsibly made goods from our own shores. By coming after them you are in fact doing American brands a disservice. It’s a known fact that producing in America has become much more expensive than having your operations outsourced to a certain labor giant (ahem, China). This is the harsh reality that we face and the premiums reflected on these garments represent the costs of true artisanal craftsmanship that has become increasingly difficult to come across in our own borders. Want to ditch the premiums? Cool, you can buy your clothes from these guys. Really want to make a difference in the world of egregious sartorial injustice? Shut the fuck up and donate.
If they had actually looked at more than three items they would know that Unionmade doesn’t just carry 'luxury-priced 1890s miners clothes...'
The political connotations imbued in the piece are fucking absurd and underlines Gawker’s attempt at inciting incident where there is none. “It's the fashion equivalent of a TV preacher using Jesus love for the poor as a selling point to line his own pockets.” If they had actually looked at more than three items they would know that Unionmade doesn’t just carry “luxury-priced 1890s miners clothes,” concluding that "calling your store 'Unionmade' while not selling union made goods is just as asinine and insulting as calling your store 'Americanmade' while selling things manufactured in China.” And while we’re on the subject, we should also probably point them towards the Apple Store and Banana Republic where there’s “not a single piece of fruit in sight.”
The key takeaway from all this? Shakespeare is as important as ever. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”