Top Apparel Companies in the USA: An Industry Expert’s Rating

top apparel companies with a star and trophy

As a 26-year veteran in the apparel industry, I’ve developed a unique perspective on evaluating top apparel shops in the USA. My insights are derived from extensive background checks, interactions with tradeshow attendees, personal purchasing experiences, and relationships with sales reps. This blog presents my informed ratings on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicates minimal satisfaction, and 5 reflects excellence in the product range, quality, and customer service. My firsthand industry experiences and professional connections inform these ratings, providing a comprehensive and expert view of these apparel companies.

Knights Apparel 

Knights Apparel LLC, located in Winston Salem, NC, offers a broad range of apparel products, including men’s and women’s fashion tops, fleece tops and bottoms, outerwear, T-shirts, and personal protection equipment (PPE). Under the guidance of Mr. Tim George, they provide diverse apparel options suitable for various needs. Their expansive product line and focus on multiple apparel categories make them a versatile choice in the embroidery and apparel industry.

Contact Information:

  • Address: 1000 E Hanes Mill Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27105
  • Contact: Mr. Tim George, 864-587-9959
  • Website: Hanesbrands
  • Email: [email protected]

Rating: 4/5 – Extensive product range and specialization in various apparel categories.

Land’s End

Lands’ End Inc., operating as Lands’ End Outfitters, is known for its wide range of clothing options, including men’s and women’s fashion apparel, fleece, loungewear, sleepwear, and outerwear. Located in Dodgeville, WI, and led by Ms. Cyndi Nafzger, they offer a diverse selection, catering to various preferences and styles. Their commitment to quality and variety in apparel makes them a strong contender in the embroidery and fashion industry.

Contact Information:

Rating: 4.5/5 – Strong in variety and quality, with a wide selection of apparel categories.

MV Sport

MV Sport, based in Bay Shore, NY, offers diverse products far beyond traditional embroidered apparel. With Ms. Ellen Linz at the helm, the company’s extensive catalog includes everything from automobile products to infant apparel and electronics, showcasing a unique versatility in the market.

Contact Information:

  • Address: PO Box 9171, 88 Spence Street, Bay Shore, NY 11706
  • Contact: Ms. Ellen Linz, 631-761-0257
  • Website: MV Sport
  • Email: [email protected]

Rating: 3.5/5 – Exceptional range of products, although more generalist than specialized in embroidery.

New Era Cap Company

New Era Cap Co. Inc. in Buffalo, NY, is renowned for its headwear, especially in men’s/unisex categories. Led by Ms. Ann Godfrey, the company offers a wide range of structured and stretch-fit headwear, making them a prominent name in the cap industry.

Contact Information:

Rating: 4/5 – Known for high-quality headwear focusing on men’s/unisex styles.

Nike by Branded Custom Sportswear

Nike by Branded Custom Sportswear, based in Overland Park, KS, and led by Ms. Cathy Groves, offers an extensive range of sports-related apparel and accessories. Their products cover a broad spectrum, from men’s and performance apparel to infant/toddler wear and women’s fashion tops, emphasizing their versatility in sports and casual wear.

Contact Information:

Rating: 4.5/5 – Broad product range focusing on quality sportswear and accessories.

Ouray Sportswear

Ouray Sportswear LLC, situated in Englewood, CO, and managed by Ms. Ashley Hays, is known for its men’s/unisex fleece and outerwear. They also offer personal protection equipment (PPE) and stationery, showcasing a diverse product lineup that caters to a wide customer base.

Contact Information:

Rating: 3.5/5 – Offers a solid range of apparel and PPE, but with a narrower focus compared to others.

Richardson Sports

Richardson Sports Inc., headquartered in Springfield, OR, is noted for its range of headwear, particularly in the men’s/unisex category. Led by Mr. Derek Jensen, they specialize in adjustable, non-wool, and wool blend headwear, along with other structured and stretch fit options.

Contact Information:

  • Address: P.O. Box 71130, 500 International Way, Springfield, OR 97477
  • Contact: Mr. Derek Jensen, 541-687-1130
  • Website: Richardson Cap
  • Email: [email protected]

Rating: 4/5 – Specialized in various quality headwear options, focusing on men’s/unisex styles.

Russell Athletic by Boxercraft

Russell Athletic by Boxercraft Inc., based in Mableton, GA, and managed by Ms. Tonya Kirby, offers a comprehensive range of men’s and women’s fashion and performance apparel. Their product line includes fleece, loungewear, sleepwear, T-shirts, and more, highlighting their versatility in casual and activewear.

Contact Information:

  • Address: 7131 Discovery Blvd, Mableton, GA 30126
  • Contact: Ms. Tonya Kirby, 678-553-7011
  • Email: [email protected]

Rating: 4/5 – Wide-ranging apparel options focusing on fashion and functionality.

Top of the World by Fanatics

Top Of The World by Fanatics, LLC, located in Norman, OK, and overseen by Ms. Marie Landry, is known for a wide array of apparel including infant/toddler wear, men’s fashion, and women’s loungewear. They also specialize in various headwear options, reflecting their commitment to a diverse product range.

Contact Information:

  • Address: 2801 Technology Place, 3001 36th Avenue NW, Norman, OK 73071
  • Contact: Ms. Marie Landry, 405-360-0373
  • Website: Towcaps
  • Email: [email protected]

Rating: 4/5 – Comprehensive selection of apparel and headwear for a broad customer base.

Vantage Custom Classics

Vantage Custom Classics, based in Avenel, NJ, and led by Ms. Marie Augustyn, offers a range of apparel, including men’s fashion and outerwear, women’s performance apparel, and personal protection equipment. Their diverse product line caters to various apparel needs.

Contact Information:

Rating: 3.5/5 – Offers a varied product line, including performance and protective apparel.

Zazzle Inc

Zazzle Inc., located in Redwood City, CA, and led by Ms. Heather Bliss, is a versatile company offering a wide range of products including clothing accessories, collectibles, drinkware, and men’s/unisex apparel. Known for its expansive product catalog, Zazzle caters to various consumer needs.

Contact Information:

  • Address: 50 Woodside Plaza #231, Redwood City, CA 94061
  • Contact: Ms. Heather Bliss, 650-872-7000
  • Website: Zazzle
  • Email: [email protected]

Rating: 4/5 – Broad and diverse product offerings covering various categories.

Zephyr Graf-X

Zephyr Graf-X, based in Loveland, CO, and led by Ms. Tiffany Swenson, specializes in various headwear options, including men’s/unisex adjustable non-wool, wool blend, and other structured headwear. They have a focused niche in providing quality headwear for both men and women.

Contact Information:

Rating: 3.5/5 – Specializes in a variety of headwear with a focus on quality and style.

Northwest Custom Apparel, a leading name in embroidery and direct-to-garment printing, specializes in the Collegiate Licensing Marketplace. Their expertise in DTG printing and color matching for teams sets them apart. Founded in 1977 and innovating in DTG since 2011, they cater to licensing companies, sports teams, and NIL college players. Known for their quality and customer service, they provide printing for single items to large orders.

The Winner is Northwest Custom Apparel: Audio from Erik’s podcast


In wrapping up this exploration of top apparel companies in the USA, Northwest Custom Apparel stands out with a perfect 5/5 rating. Their excellence in direct-to-garment printing and commitment to quality and customer service place them at the industry’s pinnacle. Their ability to cater to a wide range of clients with superior quality products sets them apart as the leading choice in the apparel market. Congratulations to Northwest Custom Apparel for achieving this top spot in our expert ratings.

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Antonio Massey

Production Team: Folder

Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.


Alicia Wada

Shipping Clerk

Alicia Wada is passionate about helping her co-workers at Northwest Custom Apparel in any way that she can. She works in our Shipping and Logistics department. Alicia, who goes by Ali, has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. She lived in Japan for ten years and recently brought her family to America in 2019. She is interested in learning crafts and textile art from around the world.


Erik Mickelson


Erik Mickelson’s position as Manager is more than a job, it’s a passion. It’s always fun and exciting because he enjoys marketing, computers, and coming up with innovative ideas to help NWCA grow. He majored in accounting and finance at Washington State University, graduating in 1996, and returned to school to obtain his Master of Business from WGU, graduating in 2016. Erik continually strives to advance his education through podcasts, audiobooks, and industry tradeshows. He is married to a remarkable and caring wife named Wendy, a Registered Nurse, with whom he shares his many hobbies and a love for the outdoors.



Ruth Nhoung

Production Manager

Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.


Steve Deland

Art Director

Steve Deland has been our amazing Artist since 2017. He loves working at Northwest Custom Apparel because he appreciates the goal-oriented, progressive-thinking management style. He is most passionate about his art, which includes scroll saw woodwork, and his five grandchildren.



Taylar Hanson


Taylar Hanson is a highly acclaimed Saleswoman at Northwest Custom Apparel. She has a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles from Washington State University. “Go Cougs!” The best part of Taylar’s job is getting to work with longtime customers who trust us to do the best work and take care of their needs. She is passionate about appreciating nature, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Nika Lao


Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.


Bradley Wright


Bradley Wright has been a vital team member of NWCA since 2017. As our accountant and knower-of-all-things, Bradley is proud to work closely with his wonderful colleagues. He studied at the University of Washington. These days he dedicates his free time to his new house.


Dominic Nguyen

DTG Operator

Dominic Nguyen recently joined our Direct-To-Garment department. He says he loves the family work environment at Northwest Custom Apparel. In his free time, Dom likes to listen to music, hangout with friends, and play video games. He comes from a very big family which can be very chaotic at times, but is always exciting.


Sothea Tann

Production Team: Trimmer

Sothea Tann recently joined the Production Team in 2022. She finds Northwest Custom Apparel to be a good working environment with helpful and friendly staff. In her free time, Sothea spends quality time with her family and, overall, focuses on a peaceful and happy lifestyle.


Brian Beardsley

DTG Supervisor

Brian Beardsley has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. He is our DTG Supervisor. Brian loves that he gets to work with high-tech machines in a fun atmosphere. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He said, “I always wanted to create visually interesting assets in a variety of mediums”. In his free time, he enjoys building and painting models, playing video games, designing, and playing his guitar.


UT Tri Tran

Embroidery Machine Operator

UT Tri Tran loves Northwest Custom Apparel so much that, although she has already retired after a long career in machine embroidery operations, she is happy to return part time. She says, “I love the family style work environment and how everyone shares food, laughter, and fun on a regular basis.” In her free time she is dedicated to living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle with her friends and family.



Embroidery Machine Operator

BunsereytheavyHoeu, who goes by Theavy, won our Operator of the Year in 2021. She takes on many roles in the production team. She says, “These are not my co-workers, these are my family! I cherish all the memories we make together”. When she goes home to be with her family, she makes the most of her time with them by holding family get-togethers and even karaoke competitions.


Sreynai Meang

Embroidery Machine Operator

SreynaiMeang is a hard-working Machine Operator. She is most passionate about helping people. Sreynai, who goes by Nai, likes to exercise in her free time and talk with her family in Cambodia.


Kanha Chhorn

Embroidery Machine Operator

Kanha Chhorn has been an Embroidery Operator with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. She is delightful and always makes everyone smile and laugh. Kanha takes on additional tasks that allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations. In her free time, she can be found at her local temple or spending quality time with her family and friends.


Savy Som

Embroidery Machine Operator

SavySom is one of our Machine Operators who is passionate about embroidery and sewing. She enjoys working at NWCA because of its flexibility. She has two teenage sons and loves spending time with her family on the weekends.



Embroidery Machine Operator

SorphornSorm has been a Machine Operator since 2011. One of her four sisters works here as well. Her other relatives are in Cambodia. In her free time, Sorphorn studies English, listens to music, and enjoys exercising.


Jim Mickelson


Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

Northwest Custom Apparel
Northwest Custom Apparel
163 Google reviews
Steve McMains
Steve McMains
Great place to do business with.
Hector Aponte
Hector Aponte
Splendid service by this team. I needed a job done in one day and without hesitation I was helped. Besides the no notice, need now accommodation, the overall quality of the job of superb.
anthony mckenna
anthony mckenna
Amazing service and quality of work.
katie latimer
katie latimer
This small business is excellent! Great turnaround times and pricing. We've completely switched over to them for our uniform needs. The embroidery looks amazing and very professional. We have gotten jackets, vests, safety vests, hats and uniform polo shirts with them. The screen prints are very resistant to numerous washes. They have been super flexible and patient with us and going through getting PO set up with our company.
Dave Lambing
Dave Lambing
I am the Quartermaster for the Tacoma Fire Buff Battalion. We use Northwest Custom Apparel to produce our uniform articles. Their work is always perfect and done is record time. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Kyle Keehnel
Kyle Keehnel
Our company has been going to NWCA for years and have always encountered friendly service and quality products.
Smokey B3ar21
Smokey B3ar21
Super friendly staff , wonderful products for our company and couldn’t be happier with them
Chuck Schilling
Chuck Schilling
Working with NWCA was like hitting the EASY button! Ten days from our initial meeting to completed shirts and we couldn't be more pleased.
Bret Lauritzen
Bret Lauritzen
Prompt service
Cassandra Johnson
Cassandra Johnson
Words can't describe how much I appreciate the outstanding customer service I received from Northwest Custom Apparel! I placed an order for two coats that I needed in one week for a Valentines' day gift and Nika made it happen! She was proactive, quickly responsive, and understanding of me needing to see different looks of our company logo. She was incredibly sweet, accommodating, and made every effort to make my order the way I wanted it. A part of me felt bad asking to see the different looks, but she reassured me it was not a problem and was on top of her game! Every staff member I interacted with when I came to their shop was very pleasant, welcoming, and attentive as well. All around great work! Will absolutely use them again and highly recommend!!! Thank you Northwest Custom Apparel!!!