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Oh No!: U.S. Olympic Uniforms "Made in China"

Updated on July 13, 2012

The media and political parties and "average Americans" are all supposedly very upset that the US Olympic uniforms made by Ralph Lauren are "Made in China". It seems that it would be a patriotic duty to make them in the US. Not only this, but athletes will be wearing berets! Fox News obviously felt very upset that good ole' American athletes will be forced to wear "French" berets, even though some branches of the US military also wear them: see Red Berets.

This jingoism is just another way for the media and politicians to focus on some small and unimportant issue whilst totally ignoring slightly more important ones, such as the fact that China owns 26% of all foreign held U.S. Treasury securities and 8% of total U.S. public debt. Foreign countries own 47% of all U.S. public debt. But never mind, it's more important to rally around Olympic uniforms and applaud the bi-partisan agreement that it is akin to being a traitor to have the uniforms manufactured in China. Why wouldn't they be? Everything else is made in China, so why not uniforms? The U.S. Olympic Committee gets no funding from the government and rely on sponsors to be able to clothe and send athletes to the games, which is not cheap. If politicians feel so strongly about "Made in USA", then the taxpayer should provide the uniforms. It's a capitalist economy, out-sourcing is the name of the game, so who cares if the uniforms are made in China? Athletes should be happy that they have uniforms at all and don't have to buy them for themselves.

This is obviously a bigger issue for both parties and the media than unemployment numbers and the fact that health care is the most expensive in the world and that tens of millions of people can't afford it at all. That Wall Street has a free hand to rob people via banks only comes up now and again in passing in the media, but Olympic uniforms being Made in China is obviously seen as being a slap in the face to the American garment manufacturing industry, which is pretty much nonexistent. Another number that was thrown out there for the masses was that making all Olympic paraphernalia here in the US would have given US workers 2 billion dollars. This has caused righteous indignation in the media and politicians. They fail to mention that these goods would cost much more for consumers than when they are made in China. "Buy American" is just another gung-ho term that people like to use to make themselves feel all patriotic, yet most of the things they own are most likely made in China. This is not much different from those who support wars in Iraq and Afghanistan yet wouldn't even think of volunteering for the Army.

We'll have to deal with enough coverage of the Olympics soon anyway, chock full of tear jerking stories of athletic "heroes" who have accomplished their dream etc. etc etc. If this uniform issue was really that important why don't the media and politicians insist on all the athletic gear that athletes wear be Made in USA? Is it not insulting to our pride if an American sprinter wins the 100 meter dash gold medal in shoes that were Made in China?


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    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 5 years ago

      TFH: Old Navy is not owned by Ralph Lauren. Old Navy is owned by Gap, as is Banana Republic.

      Also, just because something is made in China does not mean that it is crap. Many "luxury" items are manufactured in China made with high quality materials. It depends on how the company that is getting their product manufactured in China does their quality assurance. If they pay attention and make sure everything is done according to their standards, then the product will be high quality. See Apple's products, which are all made in China, yet are of very high quality.

      Old Navy clothing is meant to be cheap, and sadly the quality of their clothes shows this, because they tend to fall apart quickly. Banana Republic clothing, on the other hand, is much better quality, despite being probably made in the same factory as the Old Navy stuff. It all depends on how much quality control time the ordering company puts into looking at the factory where their things are made.

    • profile image

      TFH 5 years ago

      The reason this piques my interest is because now I know that Ralph Lauren = Old Navy. Why would I pay outrageous prices for their clothing when I can get the same quality of clothing made at Old Navy, whose clothing was probably made in the same factory as Ralph Lauren.

      This is a loser situation for Ralph Lauren because in the past you could say that you were paying such a high price for their goods because of the high quality. This is no longer the case. You are paying high prices for Old Navy clothing.