Published July 12, 2012
The Olympics haven’t even started, but China has already taken gold from America -- by manufacturing the uniforms Team USA will wear during the opening ceremonies.
With corporate sponsor Ralph Lauren designing the duds, the job of making the red, white and blue uniforms falls to its apparel contractors in China, the New York Daily News reports. Every item in the uniforms that the U.S. athletes will wear at the opening ceremony in London will carry an overseas label.
The company, in a statement, said the outfits aim to embody "the spirit of American athleticism and sportsmanship."
But fashion designer Nanette Lepore said she was shocked that none of the uniforms had been made stateside, telling ABC News that it was “absolutely” possible that the Olympians could have been fitted in U.S.-made clothing for the opening ceremony.
Ralph Lauren also is dressing the Olympic and Paralympic teams for the closing ceremony and is providing casual clothes to be worn around the Olympic Village. Nike, meanwhile, has created many of the competition uniforms for the U.S. and outfits for the medal stand.
Messages seeking comment from Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Committee were not immediately returned early Thursday.
Prices for the apparel range from $55 for a beret to $795 for the men’s blazer.
In a statement, the U.S. Olympic Committee said it was “proud” of its partnership with the company.
"The U.S. Olympic team is privately funded and we're grateful for the support of our sponsors,” the statement read. “We're proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company."
In 2008, Ralph Lauren took criticism for an oversized logo on the opening ceremony uniform that some said overshadowed the Olympic rings, as well as reports that Chinese tailors worked overtime to finish the uniforms at the last minute.
"Lauren -- and most likely his son David -- celebrated not the spirit of athletic competition, but themselves and their brand, morphing our athletes into unpaid billboards for the "Polo™" pony and rider that has helped bring the Laurens great ... riches," The American Politics Journal wrote.