Thursday, July 12, 2012

Made in USA

The fact that the uniforms for the USA Olympic Team, sponsored by Ralph Lauren, were all apparently made in the People's Republic of China has been accumulating some outrage in the blogosphere and Capitol Hill.

From the ABC News report that broke this story:
They are the pride of America — Team U.S.A. — and for the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in London, they’ll be proudly wearing red, white and blue, from beret to blazer.

The classic American style — shown in an image above — was crafted by designer Ralph Lauren. But just how American is it?
When ABC News looked at the labels, it found “made in China.”

Every item in the uniforms that the U.S. athletes will be wearing at the opening ceremony in London will carry an overseas label.

Nanette Lepore, one of the top U.S. fashion designers, said she was shocked that none of the uniforms had been made in the states. Further, Lepore said that it was “absolutely” possible that the athletes could have been outfitted in U.S.-made clothing. She said U.S. manufactures could have easily made the uniforms — and for less.
 Is Lepore right?  Probably.

Here's the price list provided by ABC:
Men:
Beret – $55
Tie – $125
Belt – $85
Shirt – $425
Blazer – $795
Trousers – $295
Shoes – $165
 I don't feel up to looking for an American-made beret, but here are some products made in the USA that would replicate the designated uniform style and cost about as much, if not far less:
Brooks Brothers Tie: $79
Allen Edmonds Belt: $88
Brooks Brothers Dress Shirt: $79
Brooks Brothers Double-Breasted Blazer: $695
Anderson-Little Blazer: $175 (for an even better bargain)
J. Press Trousers: $110

Now, American-made shoes are a bit more expensive, but plenty of made-in-America shoes from companies such as Allen Edmonds and Alden can be purchased for around $300 or less.

Even with the extra cost of made-in-America shoes, the Olympic team's uniform (excepting beret) could easily cost $500 less using made-in-America substitutes.

To close with some final thoughts from Lepore:
“Why shouldn’t we have pride not only in the American athletes, but in the American manufacturers and laborers who are the backbone of our country?” Lepore said to ABC News. “Why? What’s wrong? Why was that not a consideration?”

(Note: I have no financial interest in Brooks Brothers, Allen Edmonds, J. Press, or any other company mentioned in this post.  I also have no problem with Ralph Lauren.)

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