The Olympics have slowly become a way for big-name designers to expand their market and for small-name designers to be discovered. For last summer's Olympics in London, England, iconic American sportswear designer, Ralph Lauren, was chosen to design the U.S's outfits for the opening ceremonies. However, the entire country was horrified to discover that the uniforms had been fabricated in China. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, even went as far as saying "I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again." These uniforms were, in my opinion, a complete embarrassment to all Americans as they represented a very dated view of fashion, they completely destroyed any feminist progress that has been made in the past twenty years as well as failed to provide thousands of jobs to the American population.
When I first laid my eyes on these uniforms, I thought: "God, it's like a cross between a dated version of Air Canada's flight attendant outfits and something from Hitler's Youth." They really looked awful. Berets came back in the early 2000s and have not reappeared since; with good reason. Could they really have not thought of a more modern way to present a suit? I always thought that the U.S was about leading the way in technology and in culture, not about taking us back in time to something that we've seen a million times before. I also thought that the over-sized Ralph Lauren logos on the lapels were tacky; everybody already knew who the designer was, they didn't have to scream it from the mountain tops. Lastly, why would they make the women wear those god-awful, high-rise, white socks with those terrible shoes; they give the entire look a very unnecessary, juvenile vibe.
I find it appalling that Ralph Lauren did not include pants for women in his original designs. Did he really expect all the female athletes to attend the opening ceremonies of a sporting event to wear skirts? The idea, in my eyes is completely ludicrous. Also, I find it odd how the female models are represented in the image preview for the uniforms (above). It is strange how there is only one woman and three men and how the woman seems to be set apart from the others, kind of like the outsider in the back. It really seems as if Ralph Lauren took his inspiration from a time traveling adventure back to the 1950s but not in a cool, retro kind of way.
I would be truly embarrassed to say that my country produced their Olympic wear in another country. The Olympics are meant to be about proudly showing everything your nation has to offer, not taking short cuts to save money. That decision literally cost Americans thousands of jobs at a time when the unemployment rate is so high.
Ralph Lauren eventually apologized for his actions and promptly promised that the next Olympic uniforms will be manufactured in the United States, healing some of the country's wounds. However, the designer still managed to disgrace the nation's name by creating uniforms that were unattractive and requiring a modern make over, that were a step backwards in the feminist movement and that cost Americans money. Overall, the designer simply reinforced the often untrue stereotype that U.S citizens are dumb and uneducated.