OLYMPIC DREAMS DASHED: Do not look for American Apparel on the medal stand in 2014 in Sochi. The company will not produce any uniforms for Russia’s Olympic team after all, admitted ceo Dov Charney on Friday. In fact, Russia had never even considered it, despite the many news reports that they were, following a July 16 story in the New York Post that publicized the claim.
After reviewing his e-mail communications, Charney told WWD the potential production deal he talked up was for Russia-themed consumer merchandise, not for official team uniforms. “I’m not as well educated on these Olympic matters as I should be. I’m in the schmatta business,” he explained with a disarming laugh.
RELATED STORY: Russian Spin on Olympic Apparel Fray >>
Charney’s admission came on the heels of WWD obtaining a statement from the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee denying that any negotiations for uniforms with American Apparel occurred. The official outfitter for Russian team uniforms, Moscow-based Bosco Sport, which has a deal in place through 2016, has not held potential production talks with American Apparel either.
The disavowal by the Russian Olympic committee — and now Charney — takes all the wind out of the inflated news story that Russia’s Olympic teams were contemplating U.S. apparel production. That story gained traction last week in the wake of the political uproar over Ralph Lauren outsourcing to China its 2012 U.S. team uniforms, which will be worn for the opening and closing ceremonies in London. Most prominently, Diane Sawyer of ABC’s “World News Tonight” — which has been flogging a regular Made in America series — reported the mythical Russian preference for U.S. production of its Olympic apparel as fact on her newscast July 16.