The 2012 U.S. Olympic Uniforms are Causing Controversy
This Thursday, the uniforms for this years’ 2012 London Olympics were revealed to the public. Classic American fashion label, Ralph Lauren was chosen by the Olympic Committee to design the outfits for the opening ceremony. In a press statement announcing the roster of the company’s “athlete ambassadors,” throughout the games, David Lauren declared, “The Olympic Games are the greatest sporting event in the world and we are incredibly honored to partner with this esteemed group of athletes. They embody the true spirit of American sportsmanship and we are proud to have them wear our product as they represent Team USA.”
The uniforms are certainly Ralph Lauren in taste and have a slightly militarial tone. The ensemble features a navy blue blazer and white trousers or skirt. The women’s blazer is single breasted while the men’s is double and it is completed with an Olympic medallion patch and a large embroidered Polo logo. Accessories include a striped scarf for the ladies, a star spangled necktie for the men, and a beret for both men and women. The seemingly harmless ensemble is causing quite the controversy since it’s release. On Wednesday ABC World News reported that it had learning that the uniforms were manufactured in China. The new information has been causing an uproar. Public anger over the issue caused Ralph Lauren facebook page to be bombarded with comments of disgust and calls for boycotts. US Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky released a statement about the issue saying, “Unlike most Olympic teams around the world, the U.S. Olympic Team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors.”
So, seeing as government funding is not provided for Olympic apparel, it seemed quite out of place when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, commented furiously, “the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. 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.” Obviously, Ralph Lauren should have pursued American manufacturing, no question, but calling for a public burning seems harsh. There is also some debate over whether the design of the American uniforms is too “country club,” or “too preppy.” But this Ralph Lauren, we are talking about here, the preppiness has no limits. Other critics deemed the berets as “too European,” a Fox commentator stating “why not a baseball cap?” It all just seems rather unsportsmanlike to be fuming over the situation, even though the abroad manufacturing was unnecessary and is unsavory. The patriotic thing to do is to lend support to our diligent athletes, no matter their fashion, and hope that important lessons have been learned on the part of everyone involved.