NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ralph Lauren Corp unveiled its Team USA designs for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Tuesday, emphasizing that - “from yarn to dye” - they were made in America.
The U.S. fashion designer debuted the red, white and navy uniforms on NBC’s Today Show and in a five-minute company video featuring its 40 American production partners in a bid to redeem itself after drawing heavy criticism for manufacturing US gear in China for the last Olympics.
Days before the start of the London Olympics in July 2012, six Democratic senators introduced the “Team USA Made In America Act of 2012” after news reports that Ralph Lauren had outsourced its work to overseas factories.
In response to the outcry, the company issued a statement vowing to design, source and manufacture all future Olympic outfits in the U.S.
The film on the company’s website shows the production of the athletes’ American flag sweaters, starting with the 142-year-old Oregon family-run sheep farm to the California husband and wife team’s high-end knitwear company where the sweaters are made.
Ralph Lauren, licensed by the United States Olympic Committee, has been making Team USA’s apparel for the opening and closing ceremonies for each of the Olympic games since 2008. This year the designer has made 65,000 items for the 650 American athletes, including navy pea coats and boots with American flag emblems, according to the website.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson