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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Showing 240 comments

jamjar on

Is anyone offended by the large RL polo logo on the jacket? Self-serving, not honoring America!!!

sno on

The fact that these garments were produced offshore should disqualify Mr.Lauren from designing the 2014 Olympics uniforms.

I feel, instead, that there should be a contest allowing American designers and anyone else, for that matter, to submit their design and then let the American people choose the winning designs. Isn’t that what America is about??? Opportunity??

sandy on

NO EXCUSE!!! OLYMPIC UNIFORMS NOT MADE IN USA IS JUST PLAIN UNACCEPTABLE!!! I no longer want to support our country in the evens. How can I when we continue to sell ourselves out for cheaper labor. When will we bring LABOR back to the USA??? We have plenty of people here that need work. WE NEED PRIDE again. SO VERY SAD!

Rosemary on

Ralph Lauren outsources his manufacturing to China because the cost is less expensive.

This is one of the reasons our economic growth is slow to recover. Do not blame the lack of US job growth on President Obama to create jobs when our American CEO’s decide to out source labor abroad.
Just think, if all of the US CEO’s brought all jobs back to the US. What an economic recovery we would have. Maybe we should give tax incentives for companies to do this right away?

LOL! on

The uniforms are classic Ralph Lauren, formal and tailored, the Americans are sure to be the best dressed at the Opening. But to have them made in China was a huge mistake, China is synonymous with cheap labour and poor quality and it immediately takes something away from them just knowing they were produced there. They should have been quality American made right down to the last button. Shocking that even something of this importance would be outsourced.

isabelle on

Hypocrites….stop shopping at Wallmart, target, or kmart then. Wallmart pulls the same bull. Why do you guys think outsourcing exits??? The government doesn’t work with small businesses here in America. Non sense extortion fees…all provided by government.

Leslie on

Yes, they do look too European: like hoity-toity old money prep school European of some decades ago. Crewing at Henley, anyone? The berets but for the color look like old Iron Curtain countries’ army issue. Ankle socks for the women? Really? As for the China-made controversy, Ralph Lauren’s statement sounds more like a mea culpa only to ensure the company gets the 2014 contract. Were the company truly cognizant of its monumental public relations gaffe, it would immediately get American shops working 24/7 to do better for the 2012 London Games. America invented denim: put our team in Levi 501s or something; just make sure those pants weren’t manufactured in China!

Leslee on

I do buy RL and don’t plan to stop but that said, this wasn’t exactly a shining moment for RL. The pony logo is fine but the “Big Pony” is rather obnoxious considering this is the Olympics and not a main event fashion show. I formed that opinion before finding out they were made in China and they were not entirely sponsored by RL.

As to things being manufactured in China, that’s no surprise and it’s not the most offensive thing I have heard. I believe RL did his company and the country a disservice by not promoting his label by making these costumes “All American” by some big proclamation that they were entirely made in the USA. Find a way to draw materials or workmanship from all 50 states and promote it heavily, RL would have hit a home run, or would that be taken home a gold medal? Instead, they end up with this.

isabelle on

Instead of criticizing RL and others, think about WHY outsourcing exits. Apparently, MANY of you have NEVER owned a business and probably never will with your naive comments.

christa on

He knows he did wrong, or he would not have apologized. While I think the uniforms are classy, it was a bad move to have them made in China. He should have know better, because he knows about the job situation in the USA. But if we want made in the USA, we will have to pay more, but I would rather have clothes made here in the USA and pay more for quality.

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