As part of Ibex's "big commitment to American-made products," the outdoor apparel company will move its remaining Asian clothing production to the United States and Canada by 2014, company founder and CEO John Fernsell announced this month. About 15 percent of Ibex products currently are made in Asia; the remaining 85 percent already are made in the U.S. and Canada.
Last year, Ibex announced it would start using wool from the Lehfeldt family ranch in Montana in its fall 2012 Shak Lite garments. Those pieces will be 100-percent American-made, sourced, and processed.
Ibex plans to expand its use of U.S. wool in its mid- and baselayers every year and is looking into partnerships with other U.S. ranchers to meet that increase. In addition to Shak Lite, in 2013, Ibex's Nomad line also will be made from U.S. wool.
Ibex currently contracts its North American production with factories in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland, Calif., and with a facility in Vancouver, Canada.
Fernsell points to several reasons for Ibex's recent commitment to domestic production.
"First, the closer Ibex is to its clothing when it's being made, the greater the control we have on quality. This control is vital as Ibex continues to pursue wool as an art. Greater oversight, greater quality, and greater ownership of the process is crucial for the future of Ibex," says Fernsell.
"Second, the shipment of Ibex materials halfway around the world isn't sustainable, and shouldn't be a requirement for manufacturing, especially in dealing with a natural, sustainable fiber like wool," says Fernsell. "Ibex is tightening down its supply chain to use less energy and to mirror its clothing—well designed and efficient.
"Finally, the decision to commit to North America is one of pride. Ibex is a small U.S. company with big dreams. It's important to Ibex and its customers to make garments close to home and to create and retain jobs here as well."