L to R Julie Chu, Mike Shea, Hannah Kearney, Zach Parise, Charlie White, Evan Lysacek, Meryl Davis, Shani Davis. All photos courtesy of Ralph Lauren [Via MerlinFTP Drop](Photo: Ralph Lauren)
Team USA Opening Ceremony uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren(Photo: Ralph Lauren)
Olivia Barker, USA Today
Team USA's opening ceremony uniforms for the Sochi Olympics are a patchwork of American iconography - of oversized stars and stripes and multicolored rings and names and numbers.
also a patchwork of American craftsmanship - of wool carted from
Oregon, spun in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and knit in California.
2012's rough PR pilling - members of Congress and the media railed
against uniforms that were mostly made in China - Ralph Lauren is making
sure that the made-in-the-USA message is emblazoned on and woven into
every piece outfitting the more than 400 athletes and 250 officials.
"We've learned a lot," concedes David Lauren,
Ralph's son and the company's executive vice president of global
advertising, marketing and communications. "This is an important issue
ny Americans and one we have fully embraced, and we want to
continue to lead the way and find all kinds of vendors who can produce
amazing products made in America."
the more than 40 domestic partners who helped manufacture the uniforms
was "a lot more complicated than people imagine," Lauren says,
considering the quality, consistency and quantity desired. "It's harder
to do in America just because so many vendors no longer exist."
As a result, the cost for consumers looking to parade their patriotic
pride alongside Team USA is steeper than in Olympics past, from $75 for
a belt to $598 for a symbol-showered sweater. Completing the ensemble
are white fleece pants ($165), a cream cotton turtleneck ($245),
red-laced, alpine-ready black leather boots ($395) and an earflapped
wool reindeer hat ($95). The collection is available at RalphLauren.com
Most of the pieces are limited-edition,
including the cardigan, whose "design philosophy," Lauren says, was to
hark back to that most American of crafts, the patchwork quilt. The
opening, vs. closing, ceremony outfit is always "maybe a little bit more
festive," he says, but "especially this year."
At least one of
the initial wearers agrees. "What I really enjoy when look at it is I
can see the patriotic spirit," says women's hockey forward Julie Chu,
31. "When everyone's wearing it together, it makes a bold statement."