You might know this brand from the click-bait portion of your favorite blogs—the sold out “greatest hoodie ever made.” Yes—American Giant talks a big game about a garment many of us wear without giving a whole lot of thought.
That greatest hoodie designation came from a 2012 Slate interview, in which Founder Bayard Winthrop shed some light on the fact that there are a bajillion hoodies out there—from Old Navy to Target and even brands like American Apparel that leave a lot to be desired. American Giant promises to do better—with solid constructed durable basics that stand the test of time.
Here’s a little more information about the brand, and what they really get right:
A Little Background
American Giant began as a way to bring back manufacturing jobs and quality clothing—just like they made in the old days.
Winthrop set out to make clothing built to last—something that, unfortunately, has been increasingly hard to find. He recalls a sweatshirt given by his father from his time in the Navy during the 1950s. Winthrop says it still holds up, like an old pair of denim--and seeks to make clothing that gets better as time passes.
More Than Just Hooded Sweatshirts
American Giant is made in the US--it's sewn, grown, cut, and packaged in the States and features detailing you won't see with your average college sweatshirt or something from the discount bin.
Sweatshirts seem a bit pricey at first blush, it costs $89, which admittedly feels like a lot of money for something most of us wear to run errands and lay on the couch. Still, American Giant’s durability blows American Apparel out of the water. And when you consider how long this item is bound to last—it’s worth the extra $30 or so you’re spending on the upgrade.
As we mentioned, American Giant is best known for those damn hoodies. But, they’ve actually got a whole range of shirts and knitwear in their collection. Here’s a look at some of the “less famous” pieces of clothing: American Giant also boasts a collection of tees (crews and v’s, take your pick) and they’re relatively affordable for the quality. The site currently has a 5-tees for $89 deal—there’s not a huge selection of colors, but it’s a decent mix of black, white, and washed out jewel tones that work well as a neutral.
These aren’t luxury tees, and they’re more relaxed than slim-fitting, but they do the job. We’re not totally in love with the colors here—they’ll make some guys look washed out, but the black and white may be worthwhile.
That said, they do have premium tees as well—which come in a range of attractive, inky colors that will go with anything. The premium tees are a little steep at $36.50, but they’re definitely an upgrade from the classic tees.
Beyond the tees, the casual button down Highway Shirt is a pretty killer find. It’s that classic piece of menswear—a durable workshirt that will keep you warm and comfortable—a slightly more stylish alternative to your favorite flannel or hoodie. In addition to clothing, American Giant also sells bags, hats and duffel bags with a durable and a trendy design.
What They Do Well
Forbes called them the new “Levi Strauss” Convince you to buy American Made products that are well designed and will last. They are clear that by purchasing their products you are revitalizing factories and creating jobs—this appeals to a lot of people and we see why—it’s this new era in manufacturing, focused on bringing sustainability, quality, and above all else, people, not robots.
What we like about this brand is the fact that these clothes add a certain quality to items like tees and sweatshirts that—while ubiquitous, are sometimes hard to find the quality piece you’re really looking for. American Giant resolves that mall experience, where you check all the stores for a good, plain item—a new wear-it-everyday sweater. A
Winthrop knew that if he was going to make clothes in America, he would have to approach the business differently. Worker salaries would cost more, so he would have to save money by doing away with splashy marketing.
This brand is purely basics. No prints, no logos, and nothing fancier than a tee. The brand clearly operates on a minimalistic plane of existence, and for that reason, it creates this very specific thing—it’s not for the flashy dresser who loves colors and little details. But, this isn’t a complaint—it just means that American Giant isn’t your source for standout pieces—rather the unsung heroes of your wardrobe.
Conclusion--American Giant, Worthwhile?
Okay, the company does offer a lifetime warranty on their unique set of basics. We like the care the company has taken in making sweatshirts in the United States, from heavyweight clothing.
As a direct to consumer business, American Giant sells its product online only and has limited stock in their one store. The prices are higher for many items but the quality is better. Designed to last, focus on comfort.