OK - so I'm jumping on the bandwagon about the ill-conceived uniforms for the 2012 US Olympic team. Lots has been said about the poor design and the Chinese manufacturing.
First, let's examine the look. There is nothing inherently "American" in the design. Nothing screams USA. The uniform does not communicate that this team is representing us. We do not see ourselves in the clothes. Another complaint about the design is that the Polo logo is over the heart where we put our hands when we pledge allegiance or when the national anthem is played. (Are we pledging to Polo?) Although the cap was more golf hat than beret in 2008, the logo was in the same place and the overall parade uniform was basically identical what what we have today.
Secondly, the clothing is made in China. In the 2008, the collection was also made in China. Again, nothing has changed.
We must remember that Ralph Lauren is not just a man. It is a corporation. Lauren does not design and produce the Olympic clothing out of the kindness of its heart. Lauren expects to make money...a lot of money. In fact, even with all the furor, the stock price is up.
Perhaps we should be looking at the US Olympic Committee instead and asking what they were thinking? After all, the USOC asks for bids and obviously does not stipulate that the uniforms be made in the US. The collection was made in Canada in 2010 and I recall there was some negative reaction at the time. It was not enough to trigger a change, however. The USOC also approved the design. It is so similar to 2008 that it probably should have been vetoed for lack of ingenuity.
The real change in this year's controversy is one of communication. People voiced their reaction in social networking and suddenly it was a big deal. That's a good thing. Maybe as a result, we'll get good looking outfits in 2014 and some US workers will have jobs.