On Tuesday, the US Olympic Committee officially unveiled the threads Team USA will be wearing during the Opening and Closing Ceremony Parade at the London Olympics this summer. As usual, the uniforms have drawn mixed reviews. Similar to the way people felt at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, some are saying they reek of military propaganda while others appreciate the nostalgic feel of the navy blazers, white pants and berets. Those are simply opinions, but the fact of the matter is the uniforms are made in China.
While they were designed in America by the famous Ralph Lauren himself, the US athletes will be covered in head to toe with garments and accessories that are labeled “Made in China.” Like many others, US fashion designer Nanette Lepore said she is shocked that the uniform manufacturing was outsourced.
“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 asked according to ABC News. “Why? What’s wrong? Why was that not a consideration?”
In fact, Lepore says US manufacturers could have made the uniforms much cheaper. The men’s uniforms cost close to $2,000 each while the women’s are nearly $1,500, with the men’s blazers and shirts making up nearly $1,000 of that price and the women’s blazers and skirts doing the same. When ABC News reached out to the US Olympic committee for comment, they gave a very generic answer.
“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.”
The US is not the first country to be upset with their Olympic uniforms (see Great Britain’s uniforms here). Americans are simply displeased for a different reason.
As expected, US lawmakers are outraged at the decision of the US Olympic Committee to turn to China for the manufacturing of American Olympic clothing. Repiblican and Democratic members of Congress voiced their opinions on Thursday.
"I am so upset," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) said during a news conference at Capitol Hill. "I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) added that he simply would think the USOC would "know better." This is shaping up to be one heck of a PR nightmare and the Games have yet to even begin.
Photo credit: Ralph Lauren/AP Photo