Ralph Lauren, who was awarded the contract to design and manufacture the opening ceremony uniforms for the US Olympic team, admitted last week that the uniforms were made entirely in China.
The announcement was a surprise to oblivious, seemingly naive lawmakers in Washington, who you’d think would be acutely aware that 98% percent of the clothing purchased in the United States is imported from abroad (most of it from China.) Many of them are now insisting that the uniforms be burned and re-made domestically before the July 27 ceremonies. Can anyone say “band-aid?”
Ralph Lauren, admitting no accountability…on the contrary, borderline bragging…released this statement:
“For more than 45 years Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL) 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.”
The official U.S. Olympic Team will change its policy for the 2014 Olympics and require that the uniforms be manufactured in the US, but no changes will be made to this years uniforms.
Patriotism is still alive in the US, as evidenced by the outrage over Lauren’s profiteering and poor judgement. But the truth is, Americans are more concerned with the price they’re paying for a t-shirt than where and under what conditions that t-shirt is made. Ralph Lauren and many other brands would be forced to make changes if consumers voiced their concerns and didn’t buy their clothing. Hopefully this news story will make Americans re-think their wardrobes and the terrible price our country pays when we purchase that cheap t-shirt.