U.S. athletes won’t be the only ones brandishing the “Made in the U.S.A” label at the 2014 Winter Olympics. An unlikely champion has emerged in the form of another competitor: Team Russia. Although the U.S. Olympic Committee, together with Ralph Lauren, have pledged to produce their opening- and closing-ceremony uniforms domestically, the Russians have been in talks with Los Angeles-based American Apparel to design their Olympic kits as early as 2011, according to the New York Post.
““[Russian Olympic team representatives] said they didn’t want anything that was made in China,” Dov Charney, CEO of American Apparel, the largest garment-manufacturing facility in North America, told the Post on Sunday. “It’s not just for the uniforms—it’s also the merchandise.”
American Apparel says it can start work on Team U.S.A. uniforms today and have them in London in a week.
Although Charney says the U.S. Olympics Committee has never approached him about producing uniforms or merchandise for Team U.S.A., he’s willing to lend a helping hand. In fact, his company could have uniforms in London within a week.
“The American Apparel factory makes more than 50 million garments a year and that isn’t all for our stores,” a spokesman told Fashionista. “A huge part of the company’s business is wholesale and private label–we can basically make anything for anyone. Our prices are completely competitive, especially when you factor in the quality control and speed to market. American Apparel could start working on uniforms today and have them in London within seven days. That’s what vertical integration is about.”
Charney told the Post that Wall Street continues to favor China by financing clothing imports instead of textile equipment for local manufacturers. “The banking oligarchy wrote off a U.S. textile industry that was ailing in the late 1990s,” he ranted. “Now, the industry is completely disposed to importing—they don’t know any other way.”