Founded in Greensboro, North Carolina, Wrangler remains one of the most loved denim jean brands today. The most recent rebranding of Wrangler started over 70 years ago in 1947 when they first fell under the Wrangler brand. Before that, the company produced denim overalls and didn’t produce jeans until they bought the Casey-Jones Work Clothes Company, which owned the rights to the Wrangler name.
Being such a popular jean brand that was founded in America, many consumers wonder where Wrangler jeans are currently made. We’ll answer that below and share other interesting information about the company.
Most Wrangler jeans are made in Mexico and other countries where the cost of production is low. However, Wrangler does have a collection of jeans called the Rooted Collection that is completely made in the USA with American-grown cotton.
The easiest way to tell where a particular pair is made is by checking the tag located on the inside of the jeans. I took some pictures of some tags for you to view showing some of the different jeans I found with different manufacturing locations.
If you’d like to learn more about Wrangler and its jean production, keep reading because we will cover this information in depth.
Are Any Wrangler Jeans Made in the USA?
Yes, some Wrangler jeans are still made in the USA but in a limited capacity. You can find them below:
Many people are disappointed that more Wrangler jeans aren’t made in the USA and honestly so are we. That said, the higher cost of labor made it less feasible to produce jeans in the USA, and they had a hard time keeping workers. A high turnover rate costs companies an average of $1,500 per employee, which was one of the reasons they sent many manufacturing jobs to Mexico.
Mexico produces the jeans, but the headquarters of Wrangler remains in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina.
Thankfully Wrangler still offers some great American-made jeans to choose from. Also, there are many other great American made jeans to choose from that you can see here.
Why Are so Many Wrangler Jeans Made in Mexico?
If you pick up a pair of Wrangler jeans at Walmart or another major department store chances are you’re going to see “Made in Mexico” on the tag. You may wonder why Wrangler chooses to produce most of its jeans in Mexico. Due to the proximity of Mexico to the United States, the lead time makes the supply chain simpler than production in Asia. The rising costs in Asia have made it less attractive for producing denim jeans.
The biggest threat to this market in Mexico comes from trade tariffs and labor costs. However, much of the denim sector moved to Mexico due to the rising cost of labor in the US. The other issue comes from how it remains a difficult task to get and keep employees in the USA, but in Mexico, that has never been a problem. At the same time, many of the Mexican immigrants in America are the same people who produce the jeans in Mexico.
Some of the denim manufacturing has taken place for over 25 years at factories like Global Denim, which is a producer for Wrangler in Puebla, Mexico. To go into more detail about this, learn more about how VF Corporation plans to spin out its different brands here.
Where Else Does Wrangler Make Its Jeans?
Aside from most of the Wrangler jeans coming from Mexico, they have a production facility in Managua, Nicaragua, as well. These mark out the two biggest manufacturing areas for the American jean brand. Those who live in Florida have an increased likelihood that they would buy the Wrangler jeans made in Nicaragua since they ship them to the South Florida seaport en route to American stores. Those in Texas and other border states, on the other hand, would likely buy Wrangler jeans made in Mexico.
Just to put this into perspective, the plant in Managua, Nicaragua, will have Wrangler investing over $100 million, and it will likely become the largest building that they ever constructed in Nicaragua. The manufacturing plant will provide between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs to the Nicaraguan people.
Nicaragua has become a favorite place for apparel manufacturing since it has one of the lowest wage rates at $0.50 an hour and only fringe benefits for workers.
Outside of Nicaragua, Wrangler also has its jeans produced in Bangladesh where a growing number of clothing brands have chosen to take their manufacturing. This is only a small portion of its manufacturing, however. Some of the other jean brands in Bangladesh include River Island, Levi’s, H&M, and Zara. In Bangladesh, they employ an estimated 1,400 workers.
Are Wrangler Jeans Made in China?
Only an estimated two percent of all Wrangler jeans come from manufacturing facilities in China. The bulk of the manufacturing happens in Mexico, with the second biggest happening in Nicaragua. Most of the things made with the Wrangler brand in China are part of the accessories they offer. Wrangler has had plans to ramp up its production in China because of the popularity of American jean brands there. For example, Levi is seen as some of the most stylish jeans to wear in China. It’s the biggest denim line in China.
Many companies had their manufacturing facilities solely in China, which created a bottleneck in the supply. Current times have exposed this weakness and because of that, many companies have spread production out to several countries to avoid the same issue in the future.
When did Wrangler Blue Jeans Stop Being American Made?
Wrangler continued to operate most of its manufacturing plants in the USA until January 1, 1994. After this time, they stopped producing as much in the United States because it became more profitable to produce jeans in other countries like Mexico. You still had some manufacturing plants in the USA, but the manufacturing levels dropped significantly after that point.
After 1994, they enacted the NAFTA agreement or the North American Free Trade Agreement. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 4.5 million manufacturing jobs were lost since this agreement took effect. This agreement took place between Mexico, the USA, and Canada. The results were mixed since it killed many American manufacturing jobs. They did it to eliminate trade barriers among the three countries and increase cross-border trade.
They negotiated a new and approved NAFTA deal in 2020 to fix some of the imbalances. While some have looked at the agreement as a total failure, and it certainly sent Wrangler manufacturing among others to Mexico, it hasn’t all been negative. To put it into perspective, trade between the USA and Mexico sat at $85,224 in trade volumes in the millions in 1993. Fast forward to 2015, it sat at $481,543.
Today, Mexico’s largest trade partner is the United States. For the U.S, Mexico is its third-largest trade partner with China being first and Canada second.
It’s a complicated deal, and it’s difficult to say for sure, but this did have positives for the USA, Canada, and Mexico. On the one hand, it hurt manufacturing jobs like those at Wrangler, but it had other benefits that may have outweighed the losses.
Why Do Clothing Companies Choose Latin America?
Why does it seem like these jobs go to Latin America now even over China? The closeness of the Latin American countries will lower the carbon footprint and price of shipping, but you have another reason why companies have chosen Latin America.
Under the USA free trade agreement with the Dominican Republic and Central America, American Congress hoped that the accord would allow Latin America to become a more attractive location for manufacturing to American companies over China. The products produced here receive a duty-free entry in comparison to Chinese-made products that must pay duty. All of this leads to a greater competitive edge for Latin America.
Former Blue Bell Factory Nominated for Historic Designation
An American icon, Wrangler’s Blue Bell denim factory shut down in 2017, which marked the last American factory from Wrangler. They could no longer sustain their manufacturing in the USA. The company finally sent its last American manufacturing jobs down to Mexico. Over 100 years of production and popularity as a jean brand make it a historic site worth saving.
Throughout its history and especially in the 1980s in Greensboro, North Carolina, many other industries left town, but the locals could always depend on the Blue Bell Factory for work. The loss of this factory became a loss to the community, but its history here leaves its indelible mark.
American Made Blue Jeans Other Than Wrangler Rooted Collection
We’re disappointed Wrangler hasn’t fully committed itself to American manufacturing despite the all-American image they’ve been able to hold for so long. Because of that, we can’t recommend any of their jeans that fall outside of the Rooted Collection, but you do have alternative brands that continue to produce clothing in the USA.
Only a precious few brands have committed themselves to make jeans in the United States. Much of the jean manufacturing here takes place in Los Angeles, which first took off during the design denim boom. Companies like True Religion, J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, and 7 For All Mankind started in LA.
Some of the jean brands produced in the United States include:
- Todd Shelton (East Rutherford, New Jersey)
- Raleigh Denim Workshop (Raleigh, North Carolina)
- Shockoe Atelier (Richmond, Virginia)
- Railcar Fine Goods (Monrovia, California)
- Dearborn Denim (Chicago, Illinois)
- Round House Jeans (Shawnee, Oklahoma)
- LC King Manufacturing Co (Bristol, Tennessee)
- Detroit Denim Company (Detroit, Michigan)
We would recommend supporting the companies that choose to remain American made because it supports our nation’s economy. Many of the companies outlined above have had to resist the temptation of higher profits to keep their manufacturing in the USA. They deserve your business for that reason.
Wrangler Jeans Style Number
We’ll go over the different styles or tags that Wrangler offers for men and women:
|Men’s Styles||Women’s Styles|
|Classic||Flare & Wide-Leg|
|Cowboy Cut||Plus Size|
Are Walmart Wranglers Different?
Often times, you will see a difference in the quality of the jeans at Walmart. Because of their purchasing power, they have more room for negotiation. Wrangler can afford to make custom brands while cutting a few corners to meet the price tag. You may see cheaper materials and a simpler construction with the Wrangler jeans from Walmart.
The Walmart brand, in particular, is Rustler, which falls under the Wrangler name for manufacturing. The back pockets are usually smaller than other Wrangler brands. If you buy Wrangler from Walmart, you should understand how there will be a difference in the quality.
Wrangler Gains Popularity Internationally
The global presence of this brand has grown over the years, and they have a presence in over 22 countries in Europe. In addition, China loves the Wrangler fashion because it has long held a love affair with American jean brands, seeing them as higher quality. In Europe, people see the Wrangler brand as a symbol of American culture and youth.
Across the globe, the brand has continued to grow a cult-like following. You still see the marketing pushed as an American tradition despite them producing the jeans elsewhere.
White Oak Denim Plant Brings American Jobs Back
Even today, most of the Wrangler brand has taken its manufacturing operations to Mexico, but we do have a recent and welcome development that happened in 2021. The White Oak denim plant in Greensboro, a manufacturer of Wrangler, reopened its facility. They closed it back in 2017, and Walmart turned it into a distribution center. The reopening of the plant does have a few positives, but the manufacturing happens on a much smaller level than before with only a portion of it opened.
Many people in the area worked here generationally, and it was a surprise when they closed it. Former employees were called back to run the machines again.
Check out this cinematic video from Wrangler giving insight into their manufacturing processes below.
Wrangler largely makes its jeans in Mexico today, and we wouldn’t call this an American made company. It wasn’t always like that. Today, you can support other jean companies that keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. You may pay more, but it supports our nation’s economy and jobs.
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Choosing products made in America is important to me because it supports local economies, creates jobs, helps the environment, and ensures ethical labor practices. I also find that American made products are usually of higher quality so although they’re a little more expensive, you save money in the long run. Before starting this website I was in the USMC infantry and nowadays I work on this website as a hobby.