Debate rages in Congress, public over U.S. Olympic uniforms made in China
“For years, the fashion industry has also argued whether “designed in America” and “made in America” are two competing business models that appeal to separate demographics. Many publicly traded Americana brands — Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Michael Kors — have long manufactured their lower-priced diffusion lines in Asia and high-priced lines in Europe.
The political fallout has been unified. Democrats and Republicans, speaking with one voice, decried the outsourcing of Olympic regalia, showing that during an election season nothing spurs bipartisanship like Chinese competition and a shared fall guy.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) both made statements condemning the clothes. far as to say, the Olympic Committee should “burn them and start all over again.”
The burner camp continues to grow.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee suggesting custom suit designer Hickey Freeman as a replacement for Lauren.
“Team USA should wear American-made uniforms,” Schumer said in an e-mail. “Hickey Freeman can stitch these outfits right here at home without making any compromises cost-wise or fashion-wise.”
Doug Williams, chief executive of HMX Group, which owns Hickey Freeman, said that his company is ready to make new uniforms at its headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., for the entire team in the two weeks before the games begin in London.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), among others, sent a letter urging the committee to consider American-manufactured replacements, such as Hugo Boss, which has a plant in Ohio. (So far, the White House and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney are not commenting.)
Congress’s outrage, though, is limited to the razing of the ties and scarves. Ralph Lauren has become the fashion victim, but Congress has not yet suggested burning Spalding basketballs, Adidas leotards, Nike shoes or the Acer computers that the Olympic Committee will be using courtesy of their sponsors, all of whose products are …”
I know nothing about “fashion” and care even less. For me, clothing should be comfortable, durable, and affordable. Beyond that, I would prefer that it be created from concept to cutting and assembly in this nation or in one of our long and strong allies. Sweatshop practices bother me enough to cause me to boycott labels known for such practices.
Of course, I’ve also been known to boycott any product line that carries a “fashion” house label just because the whole fashion industry strikes me as one of those things that should have vanished in the French Revolution.
Now, the Congress has decided to insert its ability to create chaos by intruding where it has no need to be. The US Olympic Committee has allowed a sponsor to outfit U.S. participants with fashion house clothing. Congress is outraged after the fact. Congress’ outrage might be more believable and appropriate were it not for the fact that the majority of the House has voted benefits and tax breaks for companies which have and which are closing down mills and plants in the U.S. while off shoring mills and plants in 3rd world nations in order to increase corporate profits.
As for the American workers who have lost their jobs to off shoring, they’ll have that much more time to watch the Olympics and admire all the USA uniforms and clothing that they didn’t help manufacture.