January 23, 2014
Less than two years ago, the 2012 U.S. Olympic athletes’ official uniforms, designed by Ralph Lauren, drew much criticism—not for appearance, but because they were made, head-to-toe, in China.
The 2012 fiasco was a subject of a blog post on thefabricator.com entitled, “Will Olympic uniform outrage be the catalyst for change?” Maybe. The 2014 U.S. Olympic uniforms, also designed by Ralph Lauren, were unveiled today, and they are made entirely of material sourced in the U.S. and by U.S. manufacturers.
This change no doubt came as a surprise to some, such as a “Stamping News Brief” reader responding to a 2012 newsletter covering this topic who said that the Olympic uniform outrage wouldn’t “even be a blip on the radar to any except those still trying to make a living in manufacturing in the U.S.”
Another SNB reader said, ““We live in an apathetic country—a money-hungry, selfish country where everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck. So…do you really think anyone’s going to boycott Ralph Lauren? And the only people who will be picketing or speaking out, it won’t affect a thing— it won’t mean a thing—it won’t do anything. Signed, also apathetic in the United States”
Also weighing in on the outcry was Jim O’Leary, a contributor to thefabricator.com, who disagreed with both readers. He said, “The tide is beginning to turn on this issue. Daily, more American citizens are realizing that the political, high finance, and major business leaders have sold American manufacturing down the import river.
“The publicity for Ralph Lauren is really bad! This is being splattered across every major news outlet in the U.S. This is more fuel for the Pro-American First fire. This may very well be a catalyst that starts a chain reaction that will burn a very wide path through the apathy of the American people.”
I don’t know how wide the path is, but it does appear that more Americans are noting where items are made and making a concerted effort to buy U.S.-made whenever possible. And retailers are taking notice. I was in a Sam’s Club earlier this week and saw a display of clothing promoted as being “Made in the USA.” This is part of Wal-Mart’s strategy to fulfill its patriotic promises made in 2013 to stock more U.S.-made goods.I do know people who simply eschew buying anything made in China, whether there is a similar product made in the U.S. or elsewhere—people who believe that Chinese production/exportation is the cause of all our economic ills and/or products made in China are inferior.
There definitely is a backlash against buying cheap items made in China. It may not have been precipitated by the Olympic uniform controversy, but one thing’s for sure, the Olympic Committee and Lauren got the message.
Let’s go Team USA!
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