NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – Bringing American manufacturing jobs back to the United States is a key issue in the presidential race. Clothing designer Joseph Abboud is an expert.
Since 1987, he’s manufactured high-quality men’s suits and sport coats at a factory in New Bedford. He calls the facility the foundation of his brand. “First, we’re really proud we’re made in America. But the real distinction is making it well in America….This isn’t just flag-waving. It’s really special.”
He wishes every presidential candidate could tour the factory.
“I would say they have to come visit places like this to see what the American worker does and how proud they are. Bring more jobs back to America…I think that’s what the focus should be.”
Abboud insists it is not more expensive to make his men’s suits and sport coats in the U.S. He calls that a myth—explaining that the clothing goes straight from the factory to the customer. “We don’t have the middle with a wholesale-retail margin,” he says.
High-quality Italian fabrics arrive at the factory where they are cut, assembled, stitched and sewn. There are 203 different steps per suit. New technology and machinery ensure consistency. But it’s the workers who run those machines, build the clothing and produce 300,000 suits per year.
For Abboud, a Roslindale native, employing so many people in Massachusetts is a special point of pride. Many of them stay for decades.
Abboud was eager to introduce Governor Charlie Baker to some of those workers during the Governor’s first visit to Abboud’s factory. The Governor, clearly impressed, pointed to manufacturing positions—which often get far less attention than technology jobs—as those that make it possible to “…buy a home, raise a family, build a life. I think we should focus on more of that.”
Now that the Governor’s visited the factory, we asked Abboud whether he would extend an open invitation to the men and women running for President. “I would love for them to come! We’ll make them a suit. And it will be made in America!”
Perhaps, Abboud says, by a new employee. He is looking to hire 40 more workers immediately.