Ralph Lauren Responds to U.S. Olympic Uniform Controversy

07/16/2012 at 12:30 PM ET

Olympics 2012
Courtesy Ralph Lauren

When it was reported that the U.S. Olympic Opening Ceremony uniforms were actually made in China, many people spoke out, criticizing the uniforms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even went so far as to say they should be burned.

But amidst all the controversy, the brand behind the clothes — Ralph Lauren — remained quiet. Until this weekend, when the company broke its silence. They seemed to acknowledge their misstep with the following statement:

“For more than 45 years Ralph Lauren has built a brand that embodies the best of American quality and design rooted in the rich heritage of our country. We are honored to continue our longstanding relationship with the United States Olympic Committee in the 2014 Olympic Games by serving as an Official Outfitter of the US Olympic and Paralympic teams. Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government addressing the issue of increasing manufacturing in the United States and has committed to producing the Opening and Closing ceremony Team USA uniforms in the United States that will be worn for the 2014 Olympic Games.”

So, the navy blazers, white bottoms and berets that you’ll see at this year’s Olympics will have been made in China. But after all the scrutiny, Ralph Lauren promises to keep things “local” next time around.

That hasn’t stopped people from voicing another complaint, though: that the ensembles are way too European. Tell us: What do you think about Ralph Lauren’s statement? What are your thoughts on the Olympic uniforms being made in China?


FILED UNDER: Athletes , Designers , Fashion
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Guest0716 on

And no one in charge knew that these clothes were being made in China. Are you kidding me? It is why our country is in the shape they are in. Ralph Lauren should be banned from ever doing the Olympic clothing again.

Karen on

I, too, believe the outfits should have been made in the states. I’m not crazy about the berets could take or leave them, but the rest of the outfits are clean, sharp and classic. Too European, not at all. As far as “burning” them, lets not be wasteful, enough of the material things in our lives are throw-away only to have more “stuff” outsourced and brought into our homes only to end up in the landfill. Nice job RL and be proud American Olympians.

cindy on

A major issue with these uniforms is that they are made in China.

A bigger problem is their look. Nothing about them screams USA. Classic ? Yes. Timeless? Yes. Representative of America? No way! I agree with an earlier comment that the cowboy-style uniform looked more american than these do. Seriously, how many Americans have you seen wearing berets?

duddy on

The “Polo” emblem on the blazers really bothers me, nothing like a little shameless self promotion and marketing right Ralph? The berets are rediculous and someone really should have known better than to have the garments assembled in China.

HB on

You Americans are something else. You dont mind buying 90% of all designer DUDS that are made in China. Most everything is these days. NIKE etc Etc etc Why do most think you have to impress everyone
You mostly go by the BRAND and think its so important You dont impress me or alot of others
Go to China and get Tiffanys Coach Louis and many more for a fraction of the US price. You all are a bunch of fools Bet you go and buy a Ralph Lauren garment tomorrow in NYC SAD SAD

Linda Perkins on

I am appalled that Team USA will be wearing uniforms made in China. It is increasingly difficult to find American made goods in local retailers. The pictures from London showcasing the military fortification of that beautiful city for the purpose of the games is atrocious. I am certainly not brave enough to risk my life to attend. What is the point if we can’t trust each other on the most basic level? Must we all hold our breath and pray as each of these wonderful young athletes compete? Don’t they deserve their day in the sun without the shadow of fear lurking
everywhere? Is it too much to expect peace without the billions spent on security? What a world.

Scott T on

First, I think the uniforms are wonderful. While they have a “preppy” flavor, they are also classy and very good looking. The US population is an amalgam of many nationalities and cultures, and because of that, we can use things like berets and still be American. After all, Army Special Forces wear berets.

There are those who have remarked that western attire is American, but by implication, a Euro/nautical touch is not. The folks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut might argue with that. We are diverse and we should regognize and celebrate it.

While I would agree that ideally our uniforms should be US made, we should also recognize that we are competing in a global marketplace. If our local contractors cannot compete globally, perhaps they must adjust their thinking.

While I don’t think its right that some countries are gaining a competitive edge by ignoring basic human rights, I also realize some of our own companies tacitly create the problem by outsourcing to those same countries who fail to recognize human rights. It is not right to place the problem solely on Ralph Lauren. It is a bigger issue than that.

susan atwood on

Although I am in COMPLETE agreement Uniforms should be made in the USA !!!

What about the TRIBUTE to OUR Green Berets….love the berets !

Jane on

Why are people so upset that this set of clothing is being made in China? People need to look at the bigger picture that many American companies are doing the exact same thing every single day, all year long. There is a bigger problem here. This is not a slap in the face to the Olympics or Olympian, but to American in general. American companies need to create and preserve American jobs. This is just shameful.

Pam on

What was Ralph Lauren thinking when he outsourced the Olympic uniforms to China? Probably about how much more money he could make by relying on low income wages paid to the poor people who made them in China. For such an “American Icon” as Ralph Lauren, I would recommend that we stop buying his clothing and determine how many other pieces of his clothing are being outsourced to China and he can become their “Icon.” The whole debacle reeks of financial gain for him at the expense of our national pride in “Made in America.”

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