By: Serena Tarneja and Devina Puri
This year, American fashion house Ralph Lauren was given the honour of dressing Team USA for the upcoming Olympic Games. However, controversy has erupted over the uniforms being manufactured in China rather than on American soil. To many citizens and politicians, this act is not only unpatriotic but also extremely disrespectful to American workers in the manufacturing industry. Outraged US representative, Steve Israel, stated:
"Today there are 600,000 vacant manufacturing jobs in this country and the Olympic committee is outsourcing the manufacturing of uniforms to China? That is not just outrageous, it's just plain dumb. It is self-defeating."
Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lipschitz in the Bronx, New York. He is one of the few distinguished and iconic American designers, making him the perfect choice for the job. For the Olympic committee, choosing an American brand that embodies "the spirit of American athleticism and sportsmanship" was enough. However, this was not the case for most American citizens. Outsourcing these jobs is just more proof of America’s crippling dependence on China. Senator Bernie Sanders called the use of these Chinese-made uniforms "symbolic of a disastrous trade policy which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and must be changed." Ralph Lauren has been the official outfitter of Team USA since the Beijing 2008 Olympics. But with such backlash, it remains to be seen if the Olympic Committee will ever put their trust in him again.