Gawker VS. UNIONMADE

I’d like to consider myself an avid reader of Gawker, and by "avid" I mean I follow them hardcore on Twitter, so it came as a surprise that I completely missed this rant on Friday about Unionmade and their clothes being, in fact, not actually union-made. Surely it must have been a slow news day because if this constitutes the hard-hitting journalism meets trolling that Gawker is ostensibly known for, then one must wonder, “Are Americans really that stupid?”

According to Gawker, they’ve never actually heard of Unionmade until a few people emailed them about their excitement to shop for goods at a store that supports unions only to be shocked and deceived by their allegedly fallacious name. Right, so two people emailed a complaint to someone at Gawker, in this case Hamilton Nolan, who then did his journalistic duty by composing a 500-word missive.

Listen, Unionmade isn't trying to trick anyone and if you think they are then you need to do a little research before demonizing a store that, at its very core, is trying to promote responsibly made goods from our own shores.

When it comes down to it, it’s really just a matter of fundamental reading and understanding the concept of paying homage to well-made goods. If any would-be shopper had preconceptions of whether or not Unionmade actually carried goods made by unions, all they had to do was shift their mouse to the “About Us” section of their website where everything is spelled out quite plainly:

“The name 'Unionmade' was conceived around the notion of well-made and aesthetically classic goods. We strive to carry items of the utmost quality that will continue to serve the owner well over time. While we carry many items that are made in the United States, we also sell items that are made responsibly in countries around the world. Our goal has always been, and will always be, to treat people with respect, honor quality and celebrate the timelessness of American style.”

So yes, the term Unionmade, on its own, could very well imply that they peddle clothing made by unionized craftsmen and women. But they’ve explained clearly why they chose that name and it’s because they’re an American shop that carries a highly curated selection of USA-made clothing and from many other places around the world. Listen, Unionmade isn't trying to trick anyone and if you think they are then you need to do a little research before demonizing a store that, at its very core, is trying to promote responsibly made goods from our own shores. By coming after them you are in fact doing American brands a disservice. It’s a known fact that producing in America has become much more expensive than having your operations outsourced to a certain labor giant (ahem, China). This is the harsh reality that we face and the premiums reflected on these garments represent the costs of true artisanal craftsmanship that has become increasingly difficult to come across in our own borders. Want to ditch the premiums? Cool, you can buy your clothes from these guys. Really want to make a difference in the world of egregious sartorial injustice? Shut the fuck up and donate.

If they had actually looked at more than three items they would know that Unionmade doesn’t just carry 'luxury-priced 1890s miners clothes...'

The political connotations imbued in the piece are fucking absurd and underlines Gawker’s attempt at inciting incident where there is none. “It's the fashion equivalent of a TV preacher using Jesus love for the poor as a selling point to line his own pockets.” If they had actually looked at more than three items they would know that Unionmade doesn’t just carry “luxury-priced 1890s miners clothes,” concluding that "calling your store 'Unionmade' while not selling union made goods is just as asinine and insulting as calling your store 'Americanmade' while selling things manufactured in China.” And while we’re on the subject, we should also probably point them towards the Apple Store and Banana Republic where there’s “not a single piece of fruit in sight.”

The key takeaway from all this? Shakespeare is as important as ever. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

  • RG

    We defend our own!

  • RG

    OK WTF you guys moderate the comments on here? What a joke does it have to do with the ad revenue? Complex doesn’t even moderate their comments, what gives…

    • lawrences

      RG, relax. We use WordPress and for any suspicious email addresses (apparently yours) we have to hand approve them. Simmer down.

      • RG

        I see, my bad. I was just so heated. Maybe use disqus?

  • Hahah

    Your argument is terrible. The “Unionmade” logo deceptively suggests that it’s made by union members. Obviously, it’s not. Go Gawker.

    • jg

      no it fucking doesn’t, and 5 seconds of google fu would educate people thoughtless enough to make the mistake.

  • Alexander

    I always thought union referred to us-made. And almost all their stuff is made in the US, so…

  • Deftski

    As a longtime ambivalent Unionmade shopper (window-looker really)—and even longer stalwart union advocate—I’m pleased about the Gawker piece. Unionmade is trading on a fiction or, worse, a caricature, and it’s about time someone called them out publicly. I don’t think there’s any defining characteristic other than ‘nice clothes.’ This piece is naive in that it suggests that Unionmade’s brands are necessarily good on labor issues.

  • Clint

    Wow, I can’t believe that some people who come to Four-Pins would actually defend Gawker on this piece. I usually never comment but this shit is stupid. At the end of the day, it’s a name of a store thought up by a bunch of guys starting a business. Like the Kempt article stated, there’s many businesses who use names that have nothing to do with what they are selling. If you are really going to bitch and complain about stores with “improper” names, then almost every Japanese brand/store with an English name should be shut down.
    I love Gawker, but they are stupid in trying to make something out of nothing. The woman they quoted that felt “deceived” reminded me of the woman who had called in a radio station to complain about deer crossing signs and how they should be placed somewhere else so deer won’t cross there: TOTALLY NOT GETTING THE FUCKING CLUE.

  • Rede

    Oh my god, guys. Guys. Guys, listen. WE’VE BEEN DECEIVED. EVERYTHING WE KNOW IS NOW A LIE. JUST LIKE DR. BRONNER’S MAGIC SOAP ISN’T REALLY MAGIC LIKE WTF LIFE OVER.

  • Alexander

    Basically. Nobody ever bought a Macbook and wrote an article saying, “I bought an Apple product and it was juicy and hard and it broke my teeth.” It’s not as if Chanel is designed by Coco Chanel. Or Alexander McQueen. Anthropologie has nothing to do with anthropology. Free People isn’t made by any free people. I mean, I can see the point Gawker is making and I can agree that advertising ought to be honest, but the way they went about it was pretty immature. Why they decided to criticize Unionmade for having a little more expensive clothing is beyond me.

  • Tyler

    The people that are upset about being “deceived” are the same people who leave comments on Youtube videos and online newspapers.

  • jay

    just tried to check out on a pair of running shoes and saw that I had to pay!?! Nike Frees, my ass

    • lawrences

      DEAD.

  • AMY

    America-PLEASE. Those of us that only want to go as far as “buy American” can actually suck it. You can buy American all you want, chances are, dear purists, your American made goods are made from Chinese parts, or Pakistani cotton, or metal from the Caribbean. Those of us willing to take that next step to ensure USA made goods are made here, from USA made components are allowed to speak. All you unwiling to cross that line-shut the fuck up. Stop having semi-standards and let names be names.