Next time, the tags will read "Made in USA."
After facing considerable criticism this week for having the U.S. Olympic team's London 2012 uniforms made in China, Ralph Lauren (RL) has agreed to make the next version, which will be needed two years from now, in the United States.
The company said in a press release that it was "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. Ralph Lauren promises to lead the conversation within our industry and our government to address the issue to increase manufacturing in the United States. We have committed to producing the Opening and Closing ceremony Team USA uniforms in the United States that will be worn for the 2014 Olympic Games."
The upcoming Olympics in London are just weeks away, and being the summer version, include sports such as swimming, track and field, gymnastics and basketball. The 2014 Winter Olympics, with downhill skiing, ice skating and hockey, will be hosted by Sochi, Russia.
As the controversy was building, Ralph Lauren initially didn't comment on the matter, but it became clear that more and more Americans were hearing of and expressing anger about the China-made origins of the uniforms, prompting the company to address the situation and make plans for U.S.-made goods next time around.
In a separate prepared statement, the U.S. Olympic Committee said: "We take seriously the concerns we've heard from members of Congress and the American public regarding the U.S. Olympic Team's Opening and Closing Ceremonies uniforms." However, the uniforms are already being distributed to the athletes, and it's too late for a change to be made for the London events, the USOC said.
"We are absolutely committed, however, to working with our sponsors to ensure that the concerns voiced are addressed," the statement continued. "To that end, Ralph Lauren has agreed to domestically manufacture Team USA's apparel for Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games."