Ralph Lauren publicized its designs for the U.S. Olympic team’s opening ceremonies uniforms yesterday. They feature smart berets, neckties, and double-breasted blazers in a sailor-inspired blue-and-white ensemble with red accents. Countless online outlets have mocked them for their aura of preppy elitism and the shameless self-promotion of the oversized Ralph Lauren logo on each blazer.
But U.S. lawmakers have a much bigger problem with the uniforms: every single item of clothing was made in China.
“I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News. “If they have to wear nothing but a symbol that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”
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Reid’s frustration is echoed by many other lawmakers who are offended that the uniforms won’t benefit the American manufacturing sector. Two New York Congress members, Rep. Steve Israel and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, wrote a letter this morning asking that all U.S. uniforms be American-made in future years.
Some have called for more immediate steps. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has asked the Olympic Committee to immediately find a domestic manufacturer to remake the team’s uniforms. Brown is the sponsor of some pending legislation that would strengthen “Buy America” requirements for items paid for by federal tax dollars. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also stated that she believes the Olympic team should wear American-made uniforms.
The U.S. Olympic Committee defended the uniforms in a statement to ABCNews . “The U.S. Olympic team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors. We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company,” the statement said.
It’s not the first time that the ‘Made in China’ issue has come up: in fact, the exact same thing happened four years ago, when Ralph Lauren also created the 2008 Olympic team’s uniforms – which were also manufactured in China.
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