Iconic American designer Ralph Lauren, who arguably embodies the nations “spacious skies” and “amber waves of grain,” was tapped to design official uniforms for this year’s U.S. Olympic team, as he was in 2008.
But once again, the U.S. Olympic Committee has come under public fire because Lauren’s uniforms are manufactured in China. The outrage has reached all the way to Congress, with House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking out against the foreign-made outfits.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was especially explosive on the matter, saying the USOC should “take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them.” The USOC is privately funded and is free to clothe their athletes as they see fit.
But are they obligated to have the uniforms made in the U.S.? Does having them made overseas send a bad message to American textile workers? Will knowing our Olympic athletes are dressed in outsourced togs sour your enjoyment of the games?
David Mark, Senior Editor, POLITICO; Author of “Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning”
Monica Sklar, Founder & Editor, Worn Through blog; Ph.D. in Design-Apparel Studies