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Everybody loves when things are made in Brooklyn, right? No other borough encapsulates quite the same combo of craftsmanship and preciousness. ("Made in Manhattan?" Terrible film; like we'd ever buy J. Lo as a housekeeper.) But actually making things in Brooklyn is much more difficult (and expensive) than making things outside of Brooklyn and sneakily slapping "Made in Brooklyn" on them—which is exactly what West Elm did.
During a visit to the brand's Dumbo location, the Brooklyn Paper discovered that a $24 beanie emblazoned with the words "Made in Brooklyn," was not, in fact, made in Brooklyn, but "Made in China," according to its tag.
Also featuring the "Made in Brooklyn" logo are a tote bag, a shirt, and a growler, none of which actually are—however, they do claim to be manufactured in the United States. Right now, all of the items are listed as "no longer available"—likely because of the story's increasing traction.
The real question is, how'd they get away with it? Last summer, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative to slap special "Brooklyn Made" labels on approved products. Was it really as easy as flipping around the words, so that "Brooklyn Made" turned into "Made in Brooklyn?"
Nope: Instead, a West Elm spokesperson claimed that there was no mix-up at all: "The messaging on these specific pieces was designed to be a fun nod to the potential contents," said Abigail Jacobs, VP of West Elm's brand marketing, "You can fill the growler with lager from Brooklyn Brewery, and the shirt and hat refer to the person wearing them." Oh.