Even though many U.S. businesses are now manufacturing overseas to save money, some local Massachusetts companies are trying to buck the trend and revive the state’s once robust clothing industry.
The clothing line is manufactured only in Massachusetts with labels that proudly proclaim ‘Made in Massachusetts, U.S.A.’
“It is cheaper to do it overseas, however, I just believe in keeping the economy going here as much as I can. Keep it going here where I live. I just feel that it’s necessarily important,” said Karen Hipwell, one of the owners of Karen Warren, LTD.
“And of course, manufacturing overseas, you can never know if they would use children doing the labor. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if that’s the case,” she said.
Karen Warren, LTD. is a clothing line running by a husband and wife team. Warren Hipwell takes care of business side while Karen Hipwell designs all the clothing.
The Hipwells have run their wholesale business for more 17 years and they just recently opened a retail store in Hanover, Mass.
“We have sold our clothing to a trade show and sold wholesale to other stores across the country, from California, Florida and up to Maine,” said Hipwell.
“We recently have the opportunity to open our retail shop to service our local customers in the south shore and Boston and Cambridge,” she said.
“I love having our retail store. I love that we get to talk to the customers and see what they need,” said Hipwell. “We plan to open more retail shops in the Berkshire and the Cape.”
Some of Karen Warren’s customers said they are thrilled to visit the new retail shop.
“I discovered their line in other shops in Hanover but they don’t carry it consistently. So I’m happy to find that they opened a retail store. I first stopped by here last March,” said Brooke Diesel, a customer of Karen Warren.
Karen Warren LTD actually went on hiatus for a few years when the Hipwells welcomed their twin children in 1999 and when 9/11 happened in 2001.
“We took time off to take care my children,” said Hipwell. “Then, when we got everything ready to get back in business again, but all the trade shows were canceled after 9/11.”
“When 9/ 11 happened, I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself. So I decided to make the most complicated dress I could ever do. That’s when I first designed the ‘Flag Dress’,” said Hipwell. “It’s started as a self-therapy for me. I have been sewing since I was in third grade. It’s my passion.”
The ‘Flag Dress’ is a red, white and blue dress that resembles the American flag. It was sewn by hand.
The Hipwells have made about 50 flag dresses and have sold all of them. Hipwell said now customers have to order the dress in advance.
“From 9/11, we realized how deeply we felt about this great country. This renewed our desire to have all our designs made in the U.S.A,” said Hipwell. “ We also try to encourage people to shop locally, even with clothing to help our country during a roller coaster economy like this.” Read more about Karen and Warren Hipwell at TheBostonChannel.com.