An anonymous manufacturing exec told WWD, “[Politicians] should check their cars, their refrigerator parts. Every piece of sporting equipment, every bat, everything is made in China. This is the dumbest thing I['ve] ever heard.” A Chicago Tribune Olympics writer added this to the argument: (via IHT) “Until the U.S. government starts providing funds for Olympic athletes, as every other government in the world does, Congress has no truck telling the U.S. Olympic Committee where to get its uniforms or where they should be made.”The bigger issue, and one that certainly can’t be resolved before the Olympics takes place, is that so much of manufacturing is global now–and it’s not a black and white issue. The WWD article points out that some of the same politicians who have condemned Ralph Lauren have also voted for free trade deals. And we’re pretty sure that many US companies would love to still produce here if it were a financially viable option. As Bridget Foley points out, perhaps some of these politicians can start working on how to bring back garment manufacturing to American soil.
UPDATE: On Monday nine Democratic senators, led by Sen Robert Menendez (NJ), introduced the “Team USA Made in America Act” which requires the USOC to ensure that “all ceremonial uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team to be ‘sewn or assembled in the United States with fabrics formed and cut in the U.S. or components knit to shape from yarns wholly formed in the US,’”WWD is reporting. The bill would require the USOC to provide justification if it can’t meet the stringent “Made in America” requirements.
Have Ralph Lauren’s jaunty berets been burned in effigy for the purpose of some political grandstanding, or do you agree that American athletes should wear 100% American-made goods?