Senator Sherrod Brown & Designer Nanette Lepore team up for new - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Senator Sherrod Brown & Designer Nanette Lepore team up for new "Buy America" plan

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Youngstown native and fashion designer Nanette Lepore has joined forces with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to save the garment district and American jobs while also committing to a new "Buy America" plan.

During a conference call for news media outlets on Wednesday, the Senator discussed his proposal to boost domestic apparel and textile manufacturing.

The announcement comes after it was discovered that U.S. Olympic team uniforms, designed by Ralph Lauren, were actually made in China.

Lauren announced on Friday that uniforms provided to the U.S. Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Games will be made in the U.S.

But Youngstown native and fashion designer Nanette Lepore, who only uses American facilities to make her clothing line, says Lauren should join with others who are committed to saving the garment district and American jobs.

"I think he should make Ralph Lauren sit on this committee like he promised in his statement. He said he's going to lead the discussion to bring manufacturing back to America. Well let's make him prove it. I think for me I've been trying to get people on-board, and all the big designers shy away from this," Lepore said.

Lepore supports Senator Brown's new "Buy America" plan. It's proposed legislation that would ensure that the federal government's purchase of apparel is 100-percent American. Current Buy America statutes require that only 51-percent of products purchased with taxpayer dollars be "made in America."

Since 1990, it's estimated the cut and sew business has lost 85% of its jobs in the U.S.

Senator Brown said, "When the government starts buying more things, it's a major purchaser. It helps other companies, other start-ups, and it grows from there."

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