After anger erupted on Capitol Hill in 2012 when it came to light that Team USA’s threads for the London Olympics were made in China, Ralph Lauren learned a dear lesson. For the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the company enlisted more than 40 American partners to produce Team USA’s opening and closing ceremony uniforms on home ground, from yarn to dye to finished product.
One such collaborator was Asher Fabric Concepts, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of domestic-knit fabrics, and the striped jersey Polo Ralph Lauren tees worn by more than 1,100 U.S. athletes during the opening ceremony last Friday were made from 100 percent combed cotton sourced from the company.
“We are proud to have sourced American yarn from which we knitted, dyed and finished the fabric locally in Los Angeles for the Team USA ceremony T-shirt,” said Asher Shalom, president of Asher Fabric Concepts.
“The Olympic games create a huge emotional connection with people all over the world,” said Anthony Vecchione, president of Da Solo Ltd Textiles in New York, which represents Asher Fabric Concepts and collaborated closely with the Ralph Lauren design team on the Rio Olympic uniforms. “This project highlights the importance of made in America.”
The Ralph Lauren website has also gone to great lengths to call out some of its other U.S. partners. Maine’s Rancourt & Company made the team’s red, white and blue boat shoes, while New England Shirt Company out of Fall River, Massachusetts, crafted the oxford shirts the athletes will wear during the closing ceremony on Aug. 21. All in all, 292 sets of hands helped make both the opening and closing uniforms at American factories that have been in operation a combined 331 years.