When the United States Olympic Team enters the Games’ opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium in London, it will be outfitted in official uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren. And though the 530 men and women who make up the team are the best athletes the country has to offer, the same cannot be said for the uniforms they’ll be wearing.
That’s because Ralph Lauren manufactured each piece of the uniform, from the unique hat to the designer jacket to the shoes, in China.
The U.S. Olympic Committee didn’t exactly have an explanation for why its uniforms were made in China. “The U.S. Olympic team is privately funded and we’re grateful for the support of our sponsors,” the committee told ABC News. “We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company.”
Outsourcing practices like those used by companies like Ralph Lauren have resulted in the loss of 2.8 million jobs to China since 2001, and the apparel and accessories and textile industries were among the hardest hit. China is notorious for its lack of labor standards — its workers often toil for long hours for low pay in horrendous working conditions. But even with American workers struggling to regain a foothold after millions of jobs were lost in the Great Recession, Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Team think it’s more important to make more money than make their products in the United States.