This time, the ones out of step regarding the Olympics isn’t the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but whoever made the decision about the Team USA apparel from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
While the fashion industry is currently undergoing a strong push towards “Made in the USA” apparel and accessories, and the concept of Americana trends in fashion are going stronger than ever (even in Japan, for godsake), the USOC has decided to go with iconic so-called American brand Ralph Lauren yet again for the Team USA’s apparel, including the blazers, berets, skirts, red scarves, pants, (and probably underwear) for the Opening Ceremonies and other locations.
“We’re very excited about the look Ralph Lauren has developed for Team USA to wear at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony and believe it will help set the tone for Team USA at the Games,” USOC Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird said in a statement.
Ralph Lauren, who also designed Team USA outfits for the Beijing Olympics, will also be creating the apparel and accessories for the Team while hanging-out around the Olympic Village in London.
However, without too much effort, ABC News looked into just where the Ralph Lauren manufacturing of the Team USA fashion apparel and accessories were taking place, and it’s all made in China.
Olympic uniforms and the fashion for Team USA has always been a sticky issue, especially back when snowboarding was taken under the USOC wing and made an Olympic sport (under FIS rules). At the time, most snowboarders wanted to wear their own sponsor’s clothing, which made sense, but that got overruled. Burton manufactured the US Olympic snowboard team’s apparel during the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010, and while technically high-end, the style and designs were notoriously horrendous.
Silver medalist Danny Kass was so pissed about having to wear Team USA apparel, including gloves, that he decided to drop into his snowboard pipe runs wearing in his glove liners rather than wearing the Team USA gloves. Kass has his own line of gloves called Grenade and will only wear his own gloves.
Back to the London Games and Team USA, according to ABC News, Nanette Lepore, one of the top U.S. fashion designers, said she was shocked that none of the uniforms had been made in the States. Further, Lepore said that it was “absolutely” possible that the athletes could have been outfitted in U.S.-made clothing. She said U.S. manufactures could have easily made the uniforms–and for less.
Here’s how much the uniforms cost:
Men: Beret – $55
- Tie – $125
- Belt – $85
- Shirt – $425
- Blazer – $795
- Trousers – $295
- Shoes – $165
Women: Beret – $55
- Scarf – $58
- Belt – $85
- Shirt – $179
- Skirt – $498
- Blazer – $598
“Why shouldn’t we have pride not only in the American athletes, but in the American manufacturers and laborers who are the backbone of our country?” Lepore said to ABC News. “Why? What’s wrong? Why was that not a consideration?”
ABC News reached out to Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Committee and asked why American-made clothing had not been selected for the athletes.
The committee said: “The U.S. Olympic team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors. We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company.”
Apparently, an iconic American company can mean being manufactured in China.
The Opening Ceremony of the London Games takes place July 27. 2012. Stay tuned for more.