In 2012, Ralph Lauren was criticized for manufacturing Team USA’s Olympic parade uniforms in China. Ever since then the brand has been proactive to crush any lingering questions of its patriotism and allegiance.
For the opening ceremony outfits Team USA will wear next week to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the designer has created a patchwork sweater that reflects the collage of unique stories that make up the country’s athletes. More than 40 vendors spanning the United States had a hand in their design.
Knit caps and cardigans are red, white and navy, with American flags, stars, stripes and other USA-spirited insignia. Athletes will pair these pieces with cream cotton turtleneck sweaters, slim-fit white fleece athletic pants, black leather boots with red laces and a cotton belt with patriotic graphics. Ralph Lauren also designed the red-and-navy peacoats athletes will sport at the closing ceremony, as well as a collection of village wear that includes hats, sweaters, polos, graphic tees and more available at www.ralphlauren.com.
For the first time, 100 percent of the purchase price of the opening ceremony cardigan will be donated to the U.S. Olympic Committee. Despite the efforts to improve the public’s impressions of Olympic apparel, the U.S. State Department has some dire warnings: Athletes should be wary of wearing clothes with any USA signage outside the Olympic zone because it could place them at greater risk of being a target for terrorism.