After Olympic Controversy, Senator Announces "Wear American Act of 2012" to Boost U.S. Apparel Industry
Following the report on the Olympic uniforms, Brown called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to utilize American clothing manufacturers for this year's uniforms and use domestic clothing makers for future Olympics, including the 2014 Winter Games. The 2012 uniforms cost $1,945 for men, and $1,473 for women, and include items such as a $495 shirt and a $498 skirt. Today, following a meeting with USOC Chairman Scott Blackmun and Chairman of the Board Larry Probst, Brown led a group of senators on a letter to the USOC asking it to meet with American manufacturers for future USOC uniform demands, and offering to connect the USOC with these manufacturers.
Brown is not the first to react to the U.S. Olympic Committee's uniform decision. Once it came out that the Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms were manufactured in China, American Apparel's CEO Dov Charney told The New York Post that his company was in talks to design and create made-in-the-USA uniforms from the Russian Olympic team, adding that his company was never approached by Team USA's committee. A representative from American Apparel elaborated, telling apparel site Fashionista that
The American Apparel factory makes more than 50 million garments a year and that isn't all for our stores. A huge part of the company's business is wholesale and private label—we can basically make anything for anyone. Our prices are completely competitive, especially when you factor in the quality control and speed to market. American Apparel could start working on uniforms today and have them in London within 7 days. That's what vertical integration is about.
The representative added that American Apparel offered the use of its facilities to Ralph Lauren to quickly turn around American-made uniforms in time for the London Olympics. The company did not specify if Ralph Lauren responded to the offer.