Olympic-Sized Controversy for Ralph Lauren
Earlier this week, Ralph Lauren debuted his designs for the U.S. Olympic team’s uniforms. It’s bad enough that the designs were not warmly received, but just a few days ago it was made known that the uniforms were not made in the United States. They were made in China.
I’m honestly not crazy about the design, but that’s not the problem. What really annoys me is that they were not manufactured in the United States.
I understand that it’s cheaper to make things in China. Really, I get basic business principles. I understand that American workers need to be paid more than Chinese. And while there has been a ton of outrage expressed over the last few days by designers, athletes, and politicians alike, I’m still not sure why some blogs are “ok” with it.
We’re in a time where the national unemployment rate hovers around 8%. The economy and unemployment are on the forefront of this year’s Presidential election. Isn’t this exactly the thing we should be trying to fix? Shouldn’t American companies do whatever it takes to bring these jobs back home so our citizens can not only have jobs, but be proud to manufacture clothes and other items made in America?
I also have to wonder how much money Ralph Lauren is making off of these items, considering each item costs between $55 and $598 and labor costs are so cheap overseas. Not only that, but Ralph Lauren (the human and CEO of his company) made over $200 million over the last 5 years. Not for nothing, because he’s very successful and deserves to be compensated for all he’s accomplished, but if his salary was just a few million less, maybe his company could bring back jobs to the USA and revitalize the American garment district.
Luckily, there are advocates for the American garment district that are trying to do just that. Another American fashion designer, Nanette Lepore, took to various news programs over the last few days to talk about what an outrage this is: CNN (twice), Fox Business, and ABC News. She supports the grassroots movement called Save The Garment Center, along with Steven Kolb, Anna Sui, and countless others.
Save The Garment Center has a whole list of companies and brands that make items in the United States. I know I am trying to make a conscious effort to buy as many things made in America as I can, and I hope I can do more in the future.
What do you think?