SBD/October 30, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ralph Lauren Unveils U.S.-Made Olympic Clothing After Manufacturer Controversy

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Ralph Lauren's new Olympic sportswear will be available online in November
The U.S. Olympic team yesterday "unveiled its Ralph Lauren closing ceremony outfits," and the clothing this time around "will actually be made in the U.S.," according to David Wharton of the L.A. TIMES. Ralph Lauren during the '12 London Games "took heat because much of its American team apparel was manufactured overseas, including in China." The U.S. team will "sport an iconic winter look featuring striped pea coats over wool turtlenecks with reindeer and snowflake motifs." Team members' pants will be "slim-fitting cream fleece and their black leather boots will have red laces." Ralph Lauren said that its Olympic sportswear collection "will become available online next month and will be in stores in December" (LATIMES.com, 10/29). NBC's Brian Williams said Ralph Lauren making the uniforms in the U.S. is a "promise made and kept by the clothing company after that uproar during the London Games" ("Nightly News," NBC, 10/29). There are "over 40 American partners designing, sourcing and manufacturing the new look" ("World News," ABC, 10/29). The AP's Samantha Critchell wrote moving production of the clothing to the U.S. was a "lesson in the state of the American manufacturing." Ralph Lauren Exec VP/Advertising, Marketing & Corporate Communications David Lauren said that it was "hard to come by facilities that could create the quantity and quality needed for the Olympic uniforms and the versions that will be sold to the public." As a result, there are "fewer pieces in the collection" for '14 (AP, 10/29).

LOOK GOOD, SKATE GOOD: U.S. figure skater Evan Lysacek said that he still gets "a thrill donning Olympic duds." Lysacek said, "As an athlete, the clothing means even more than you’d think. The training, the sacrifices, the lifestyle, which is not glamorous and can be grueling and trying at times, all seem to come together in the moment when you realize you are part of the Olympic team. The moment you put on those first pieces of the American team clothes, you feel like it’s real" (NYPOST.com, 10/29). Lysacek added, "The apparel has become such a large component of the Olympics. You guys are going to have to start asking the athletes, 'Who are you wearing?' ... I think we're all just as proud to sport the Polo logo as we are the American flag" ("Today," NBC, 10/29).
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