Most people know (I think, anyway) that Ralph Lauren has long been the official outfitter of the United States Olympic team. The fashion icon designs the outfits the athletes wear in the parade of nations as well as other gear that’s used through the events.
For the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Ralph Lauren made a particular effort to ensure the items weren’t just designed in America or made in America but that all the materials that went into the garments were American, too.
And because we’re talking winter, we’re also talking wool, and the wool used to make the sweaters that will be worn during the opening ceremony was sourced from Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon.
The knitty story doesn’t end there, of course. The 6,250 pounds of yarn ordered for the sweaters and other garments had to be spun (by Kraemer Yarns in Pennsylvania) into more than 5 million yards of yarn and dyed red, white and blue (Longview Yarns in North Carolina) and finally knit by machine at Ball of Cotton in Los Angeles.
It’s easy to forget sometimes when you see things on television that real people were behind them, but I know it will be a little more special when we see that opening ceremony next February knowing where that yarn came from and some of the stories behind the garments. Watch the video at the above link to learn more about how the sweaters came to be.
Of course woolies aren’t the only story, and Ralph Lauren actually worked with more than 40 partners to make 650 different uniforms for Team USA, which in all is 65,000 items. Amazing.
I’m completely in love with the polo sweaters shown above.
I hope in addition to highlighting some of the amazing small companies that still make stuff here in America that this will be a lesson to Ralph Lauren and other designers and manufacturers that it is possible to produce clothing made in America, and that’s something we can all be proud of.
[Photo via Ralph Lauren.]