Thursday, July 12

Ralph Lauren Dresses Team USA

The US Olympic Team just showed off their new uniforms prior to their debut in London, as created by Ralph Lauren.  It's a classic, bold look befitting an American team if you ask me ... from a truly American designer.

But it's not without its controversy.

First the style.  Some are criticizing what I would call some of the international inspiration.  Like the French-style beret and the German-style iconography on the accessories.   I don't know, I think the outfit on whole looks pretty darn American, with style.  Should they have worn cowboy boots instead?

Next the Ralph Lauren logo.  Omni-present to be sure, prominent definitely.  A big huge polo player, when polo isn't even an Olympic sport.  That is missing the point, if you ask me ... the brand paid big bucks for the exposure and they deserve it.  It's their logo.  Although I will admit that I miss the prominence of the Olympics logo as well.  Maybe it's there, but it's certainly overshadowed.

Manufacturing sites.  Ok, got me there.  Some of the items are produced in China, not that there's anything wrong with that.  They hosted a fine Olympics when it was their turn.  But it does sort of feel like an American team should be wearing uniforms from an American designer (check) that is produced in America.  Just sayin'.  I sort of felt the same way back when the American Winter Olympics Team was wearing items by a  Canadian company, Roots.  Stella McCartney designed clothes for Team England this year, I wonder where they were manufactured.

All in all though, very classy, very American, and very fitting.  And available for sale at the Olympic village and I'm sure fine retailers everywhere.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

PS - A lot of folks in Washington are now coming down hard on the Olympic committee for choosing clothing produced outside of the US.


  1. Hi Jim,

    I totally agree. I believe the outfits were sharp and were a direct reflection of the Ralph Lauren brand. However, I do wish he would have helped the American economy and had the outfits produced here, especially in these economic hard times. The news that the outfits were made in China tarnished the fact that we were here to celebrate the American team and their accomplishments. He did apologize and stated that next time the uniforms would definitely be made in the USA. As a brand, this made me take a step back and reevaluate how I feel about his company.

    Becky Hagedorn
    (Summer 2012 NYU Marketing Student)

  2. Good to see you here, Becky. Hope you are enjoying "observing" marketing for the week! Jim.