[POLL] Should U.S. Olympic Uniforms Be Made In U.S.?

Clothing designer Ralph Lauren had uniforms for the Opening Ceremonies manufactured in China; Rep. James Langevin co-authors letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee arguing for domestic manufacture.

Even though most – if not all – of the clothes we wear every day are made in some place other than the United States, when it comes to the Olympics, suddenly it matters that the uniforms to be worn by our athletes in the Opening Ceremonies July 27 were made in China rather than here.

Ralph Lauren outsourced the manufacturing to China and politicians and some citizens are up in arms. The reaction has been so strong, the company has pledged to manufacture uniforms for the 2014 Winter Games in the U.S.

Rhode Island Rep. James Langevin co-authored a letter with colleagues Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) challenging the U.S. Olympic Committee to do even more to ensure uniforms will be manufactured domestically in the future.

"... while we applaud the announcement that Ralph Lauren will domestically manufacture Team USA apparel for 2014, we would urge you to consider additional steps that can be taken to address this matter ... " the letter read.

The Providence Journal reports Rep. David Cicilline thinks the situation could be made better by engaging a manufacturer, Northwest Woolen Mills in Woonsocket, to make the berets for the Opening Ceremonies.

However, some argue we shouldn't be worried about where the uniforms are made.

According to Business Week, "garment manufacturing is a low-cost commodity business. Most of the value in the apparel industry comes from design, technology, sales, marketing, and distribution—not manufacturing. The successful players in apparel, such as Ralph Lauren and Nike, figured this out long ago."

What do you think about the uniforms? Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

centaur July 19, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Napoleon: "Money knows no borders".
Still Hope July 19, 2012 at 02:59 AM
On the contrary Dagny, I listed the factors that hinder production and domestic trade in this country: US policy, corporate greed, and union control. If any one of these deterrents were to ease their control, this country could see a reawakening. It is my belief that the children of the 80s and 90s will muster up enough fortitude to undo the selfish misgivings of the baby-boomers. They will return us to the direction of personal choice and freedom while keeping regard for moral well being. It will take a little bit more than buying a T-shirt made in USA to get us there, my friend.
Still Hope July 19, 2012 at 03:33 AM
A perspective: I know someone that runs a home security business. He kept an office of about 25 people, some were installers but most were telemarketers selling the products. The average demographic was a single mother 20s-30s with maybe a HS diploma. The wages were hourly plus commission but essentially you make what you sell, skies the limit. Some of the better sellers would clear $2000 a week when bonuses came in. Not a bad gig for someone with limited resources. Then a few things happened in this company. The post 2008 decline hit, minimum wage went up for the slackers, some employees were made to go from 1099 to W2, and health care became mandated! So here are the options: A. Pay more money and benefits for the same moderately-literate, somewhat reliable, self-entitled employees that are barely keeping the company afloat during a down season. Or... B. Outsource that portion of the business to a professional company that has an army of trained and thirsty go-getters whose average joe is as good as your superstar. A force that shows up in shirt n tie and, by nature, is satisfied putting in an honest day's work for an honest pay. The one caveat: these professionals are part of an institute in India. So, the choice of course was to keep the original staff! 6 months later it proved less than sustainable. Now, the Indians are cheaper, more professional, and making the business more successful than ever. How do you argue that?
Still Hope July 19, 2012 at 03:44 AM
For anyone that is thinking of referencing sweatshops or labor laws or anything to that effect...you have no idea what you are talking about and watch too much Dateline NBC. I've seen regular video conference calls from here to India and I have met some of the people on the other end first hand. You'd be amazed how much people from another country value their craft, the stuff we take for granted. The labor unions have forced the hands of business, both large and small to explore other opportunities. US employment laws and mandates makes it tough to sustain a decent workforce. Talk about driving jobs and business away.
Dagny Taggart July 19, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Very well stated "Still Hope". The labor unions, the governmental mandates and the laws that punish business in the US have driven jobs and businesses away. That is why I said we have to start with the government to make the changes and I can assure everyone reading this post that the current administration is not amenable to these kinds of changes. The United States has become a country of "hand outs" . How can we sustain that? Where our predecessors used to "value their craft" we have many who don't even want to work because they can make more if they don't work! When you break the human spirit you get a broken country. Simple as that.


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