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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?

MEET STYLISH OLYMPIC ATHLETES HERE!

FILED UNDER: Athletes , Designers , Fashion

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Showing 240 comments

Gail on

Please tell me again how much money was saved using Chinese labor. AND he has his logo. Boycott Polo. BUY AMERICAN!!!

From ABC News, take a moment to see how much Ralph Lauren charged the Olympic Committee for the Chinese-made uniforms:

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

Barb on

It’s a fine retro style and cute use of color. Yes a error in judgment about where to make the clothes but what’s new. If it was a joint venture between the two countries, who would have made a fuss.

Kali on

Which brings up a borderline shirttail-related question: There are many foreign athletes that live and train in the United States, but then compete and win medals for “their” countries. Should this be allowed or should the medal go to the country where the athlete lives and trains? My opinion is if you live and train here, you should be considered a U.S. Olympian. If you want to compete for France, for example, you should live and train in France. What do you think?

jbotkin on

Land of opportunity, really? nothing would have been more American than giving a struggling local manufacturing company here at home the uniform contract.

Cameron on

Why is everyone so upset. Lauren clearly embodied the american spirit…do things as cheap as possible for maximum profit.

Jessica on

While I feel as though it was poor judgement to allow the uniforms to be made in China, it is my opinion that the design is timeless and classy perfection. How can the look be un-American when some of our own soldiers wear berets? I also wonder how many other countries’ uniforms were made elsewhere.

bmjuneau on

Yes, they should have been made in the USA – but obviously they’ve learned their lesson. But it begs the question how, in this age of information, companies and people cannot understand that things like this will be noticed.

Anyway, as for the outfits themselves – I’m no fashion guru but at first glance they are very nice. Bold blue with the white and red accents – nice. Berets are fine. However, after I really looked at them I have a problem with the mens jackets. Way too short. And the ladies (at least in the picture above) is a trainwreck. Why a scarf and not a tie? Or at least tie the scarf better – and the jacket looks too tight on the model. Only one button is buttoned and you can see the bottom of the scarf. Yikes. And the skirt – it’s too long and the pleats (?) are off-putting. It’s making the model look very short and her legs weird.
Not a fan.

Karen on

I think Mr. Lauren made a huge mistake and cut off his nose to spite his face on this one. I and many others actually thought that most of Ralph Lauren’s clothes were made in the USA. Now his secret is out. And with the wishy washy promise… He should run for president…
He would make quite a politican.

kc on

I don’t think they look European…they just look plain ugly. They look like a bunch of Airflight attendants.

Daria on

The US has a bad habit of under-dressing at the Olympics. “Too European”? What does that even mean? Since when did wearing a blazer look “European”? A beret? True, mostly worn by the French, but not exclusively. Why would a baseball cap be better? Hogwash!

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