The 5 Best American Made Shirts for Custom Branded Merch
Do you want to use American made shirts for your next custom shirt order?
Surprisingly, it's not as easy as it seems.
I'm going to walk you through why using American made shirts is important, who we see order American made shirts most frequently, and the five most popular shirts we use for wholesale orders.
So if you're looking to place an order for your business and use shirts that are proudly made in the USA, this guide is for you. (And if you want us to help with that order, you can get in touch with us here.)
Why American Made Clothing is Important
Utilizing American made manufacturers is quickly becoming more and more important.
In fact, there is a major groundswell of support all over the country to use, promote, and prioritize American made products of all types.
This can be anything from cars to appliances to electronics to food to consumer products and, of course, to clothing.
There are many reasons people want to source products made in the USA.
It's no secret that Americans are proud of their country. Supporting domestic manufacturing is an opportunity to show that pride.
For many people, it's a badge of honor when a product is proudly adorned with a 'Made in USA' label.
This pride stems from the fact that American manufacturers provide good paying, ethical jobs that build local communities.
Made in the USA is a symbol of quality.
As manufacturing left the US and moved overseas, low cost was prioritized over product quality and quality of life.
So while you may need to pay a little bit more for an American made shirt, it is made to higher standards and there is extra value because it is creating American made jobs.
Who Wants American Made Shirts?
The demand for American made shirts has steadily increased in recent years.
We see brands and businesses of all types ask for help choosing the best American made shirt option.
The requests for shirts made in the USA are made by companies that manufacture domestically, have union labor, and value quality, environmental sustainability, and ethical manufacturing.
One example is a local Jesuit high school. They have an ethics policy that requires they source their products from Fair Trade or American made sources. As a result, many of the shirts we print for them are one of the brands listed below.
Another common example is local construction companies. We print a lot of safety apparel for local contractors and subcontractors.
Not only do we see a lot of American made shirts being used in this industry, but it's also common to print the American flag on their shirts. With the practice of putting Old Glory on the sleeve, we feel strongly that the shirt should definitely be made in the USA.
We love to promote American made shirts and can offer them to anyone for any reason.
Without further ado, here are our favorite and, in our opinion, the best American made shirts on the market for brands and businesses.
The Best American Made T-Shirt Brands
Bayside - The True American Made Tee
Bayside is the largest apparel manufacturer in the USA.
For many screen printers that got their start after NAFTA, they are considered the original American made shirt.
Because for a while, there just weren't many out there and Bayside provided the best options.
While Bayside is mostly known for making a heavyweight shirt, they make all varieties and types - 100% cotton, blends, ringspun cotton, long sleeve.
In addition to making all clothing in the USA, they even have a line of Union Made shirts. It doesn't get any more appealing than a union made shirt for union contractors, subcontractors, and manufacturers.
We use Bayside apparel for wholesale shirt orders for businesses that want to support American and ethical manufacturing.
Los Angeles Apparel
Los Angeles Apparel is the originator of the American and ethically made fashion shirt. Their first iteration however, was branded American Apparel.
When business for American Apparel took a downturn and ownership changed hands, their founder picked up where he left off with LA Apparel.
Arguably, he still makes the finest and highest quality American made clothing.
While their original niche was in soft, fashion fit t-shirts (our faves are the TR01 and FF01), LA Apparel has evolved with recent trends and now is known just as much for their thicker, garment dyed shirts.
If you're going for a look that emulates vintage garment dyed long sleeve and pocket tees from your favorite vacations, check out their ever expanding line of high quality garment dyed clothing.
As always, LA Apparel is proud to be made in America, ethical and sweatshop free manufacturing.
Royal Apparel - Made In USA
Known for soft shirts and fleece, Royal Apparel stands out with a full line of blank organic clothing. If you're not in the wholesale apparel industry, it might come as a surprise that this is very rare.
In addition to using organic cotton, they also have shirts made of other eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, hemp, and recycled plastic.
Environmentally sustainability goes hand in hand with American manufacturing.
One of the greatest appeals to domestic manufacturing is its reduced carbon footprint. Once the product is made, it doesn't need to be transported as far.
For Royal Apparel, their commitment to going green and manufacturing in the USA makes them stand out.
We've always been a fan of their triblend tees. In fact, some of the very first shirts we used for our retail brand were the 20051.
Next Level Apparel (USA)
Next Level Apparel is our most commonly used shirt brand for bulk wholesale orders.
They make great, consistent shirts that our customers love and we love to print on. They have a wide range of colors and deep inventory.
While most of their shirts are not made domestically, they are expanding their line of USA made clothing. This is great for our customers who have used Next Level in the past but want to make the change to support American made.
The key indicator to identify a Next Level shirt as made in America is if it has an 'A' at the end of it's product number. For example, the 6010A is their triblend American made shirt.
We're excited that Next Level now has American made shirts.
American Apparel (USA)
American Apparel, which was started by the founder of LA Apparel, was a major force in re-popularizing American made apparel.
Coincidentally, they no longer makes all of their shirts in America. That's what happens when the largest shirt manufacturer in the world buys you out of bankruptcy.
While American Apparel isn't the same as the originally were, they haven't completely abandoned their American roots and ethical manufacturing.
If you want a soft American made shirt, they're still a great option.
The important thing is that if you are placing a wholesale order for American Apparel shirts, only the shirts labeled with USA are made domestically.
I can't predict if American Apparel will continue to make shirts in America in the future, but for now they still do and it's a great shirt.
Ready to Order Custom American Made Tees? Let's Get Started.
We put this list together of our favorite blank American made t-shirts to help our customers that want to support US manufacturing.
There are a lot of options out there and it's tough to wade through all of the options.
Sometimes finding American made options can be like finding a needle in a haystack. We hope this article helps you when making a decision on which shirt to use for your brand or business.
Of course, we can help design, source, and print your next order of shirts. Click the button below to get started!