While the Ralph Lauren company promises to produce future U.S. Olympic uniforms in the United States after the company got attacked by U.S. politicians for manufacturing this year’s version in China, the Chinese news agency has blasted Americans for a response it called “hypocritical” and “irresponsible.”
“The Olympics spirit is all about separating sports from politics, but these U.S. Politicians are going too far and trying to force a political tag onto the uniforms,” the official Chinese agency said in a Chinese-language commentary, according to Reuters. The news agency suggested U.S. lawmakers should perhaps be banned from “wearing anything or using any product” that was manufactured abroad, which would be nearly impossible feat in today’s marketplace.
The agency singled out U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had called for the uniforms to be piled up and burned.
“If there is anything that should be burned, it should really be the hypocrisy of the U.S. politics,” it said.
After remaining quiet on the controversy for a week, the high-end Ralph Lauren brand finally released the following statement:
“For more than 45 years Ralph Lauren has built a brand that embodies the best of American quality and design rooted in the rich heritage of our country. We are 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 addressing the issue of increasing manufacturing in the United States and has committed to producing the Opening and Closing ceremony Team USA uniforms in the United States that will be worn for the 2014 Olympic Games.”
Despite the criticism, the U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement to the Wall Street Journal giving Lauren their unwavering support. “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. We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company, and excited to watch America’s finest athletes compete at the upcoming Games in London.”
The uniforms include white pants for gentlemen and knee length dresses for ladies, blazers and berets. The brand describes the clothing as “classic silhouettes in a timeless palette of navy and white with pops of red.” The berets have been criticized in some places, such as on Fox News, for making the uniforms look “too French.”