A few days ago, Ralph Lauren, the official sponsor and outfitter for Team U.S.A.’s Olympic uniforms, released photos of the opening ceremony outfits to be worn by our nation’s representatives at the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. It was also revealed that despite the American brand, the uniforms were labeled “Made in China.” This caused outrage among fashion designers and politic officials, claiming the lack of U.S. manufacturing is offensive to factories in our own country that would have proudly made the uniform fit to be proudly worn by Team U.S.A. athletes.
“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,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear.”
Dara Torres, a former American Olympic swimmer who won 12 medals in a span of 20 years, isn’t responding in an equal amount of outrage, but is disappointed the uniforms weren’t manufactured in the states. “Wearing the U.S. uniform, going out there to represent the United States, it would be nice if it was actually made in the United States,” she told CNN.
The USOC did not respond with much comment, instead just noting that it is a privately-funded committee and is grateful and proud of its sponsors. USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky also tweeted that all this fuss is “nonsense” and that Ralph Lauren is a supporter of American athletes regardless of where its products were made.
Though it is fair to say Ralph Lauren could have sourced factories in America and offer incredible job opportunities to combat our increasing unemployment rate, is wearing Made in China uniforms truly that offensive to you? After all, America is considered a melting pot and this might be an interesting way to show global interdependency in this economy. Secondly, the Olympics is a global event. While nationalism is of the utmost importance here, is the harsh criticism truly warranted?
Designer Nanette Lapore still believes the outrage is appropriate, especially when American designers like her are trying to convince larger companies to start moving production back on-shore.
“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 told ABC News, who broke the story. “This would have been the perfect opportunity.”
Are you upset by China-manufactured uniforms for Team U.S.A., or was this just another typical globalization strategy far too common? Sound off in the comments below.