WASHINGTON — The controversy over the U.S. Olympic Committee’s outfitting of American athletes in Chinese-made uniforms and apparel took another twist on Monday as a group of nine Democratic senators followed through on a pledge to introduce legislation that would require the USOC to outfit the U.S. team in clothing made in America for all future Olympic games.
Led by Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), the senators introduced the “Team USA Made in America Act” on Monday that would require the USOC to adhere to a procurement policy that requires all ceremonial uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team to be “sewn or assembled in the United States with fabrics formed and cut in the U.S. or components knit to shape from yarns wholly formed in the U.S.”
“While I was shocked that it’s not already a given that Team USA’s ceremonial uniforms must be made in America, I welcome the United States Olympic Committee’s commitment to rely on American manufacturers and industry to produce uniforms for our future American Olympians,” said Menendez. “And while I appreciate that commitment, I look forward to the quick passage of this patriotic jobs bill so that the United States never finds itself in this embarrassing, baffling situation again.” RELATED STORY: Bridget Foley's Diary, Olympic Posturing >>
The senators moved forward with the introduction of the bill Monday despite Ralph Lauren’s pledge on Friday to make the uniforms for the 2014 Games in the U.S.
The bill is also cosponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Charles Schumer (D. N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D. Mich.), Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Jay Rockefeller (D., W.V.).
The bill would amend the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act and cover all uniforms, including accessories, such as ties, belts, shoes and hats, requiring them to meet the standards of the Federal Trade Commission for labeling as “Made in the USA.”
The USOC must also provide a detailed justification for allowing uniforms and clothing sourced overseas if it cannot meet the procurement requirement.
Adidas on Monday denied reports in London’s Sunday Telegraph that it was underpaying workers in one of the factories producing merchandise for 2012 Olympics fans.
The British paper said that a factory working for Adidas suppliers in Shen Zhou, on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, was paying workers $120 a month for 10 hours’ work per day, six days a week. It said the workers were living in “squalid conditions” and sleeping three to a bed.
“Workers at the factory earn an average of $130 a month, which is well above the minimum wage,” Adidas said in a statement Monday.
“It is important to note that the industry has agreed to introduce higher allowances in Cambodia from September, and we will ensure our suppliers pay those wage increases.
“The Adidas Group only conducts business with overseas manufacturers who work in a fair, honest and responsible manner. We have strict procedures in place to ensure that the individuals employed to make Adidas products are paid and treated fairly.
“Furthermore, all factories that work with us are subject to regular labor, health and safety audits conducted by independent third parties in association with the Fair Labor Association and Adidas’ compliance team.
“All suppliers we work with for London 2012 products are on a LOCOG (London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) list of authorized suppliers that is available online. All our partners have to sign a manufacturing agreement with us and they all comply with our workplace standards.”
In a separate statement, LOCOG said: “We have just been made aware of this allegation, and are taking it very seriously. We will investigate the situation in collaboration with LOCOG’s independent monitor.
“We understand that the Shen Zhou factory is part of the internationally recognized ILO labor rights program, which means that it is inspected by the ILO or World Bank program.
“We regularly remind all of our licensees of the importance we place on the sustainable sourcing code they have each signed up to. LOCOG is one of only a small handful of organizations in the world that has a robust grievance mechanism in place.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)