The NBC Sports Group is doing its part to promote American manufacturing when its male broadcast team dons Hardwick Clothes during the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
NBC Olympics, a division of NBC Sports Group, revealed that it has selected the Cleveland, Tenn.-based manufacturer to provide in-studio tailored clothing for the Games, which will run from Aug. 5 to 21.
Hardwick is America’s oldest tailor-made clothing manufacturer. It was founded in 1880 by Cleveland businessman C.L. Hardwick and remained in the same family until 2014 when it filed bankruptcy and was subsequently acquired by Tennessee businessman Allan Jones.
Bruce Bellusci, chief executive officer of Hardwick, said the company has an ongoing relationship with NBC and dresses the announcers for both the National Football League and National Hockey League broadcasts. So it was natural to extend the partnership to the Olympics as well.
“Hardwick is a great American clothing manufacturer but it is so small and unrecognized in the U.S. because it was primarily making private-label and career apparel,” Bellusci said. “This will help give us credibility.”
He said that even though Hardwick’s credits are for “five seconds” at the end of the football and hockey broadcasts, it’s been “a big deal for us and starts the branding recognition.”
He said the Olympics broadcast team, which includes Bob Costas and Al Michaels, among others, will wear looks from the brand’s H-Tech collection of suits and blazers that feature wrinkle resistance, stretch and other performance properties. The looks will include wool, silk, linen and cashmere blends.
Amy Acton of Acton Style Group, the stylist for NBC, said it was “important to me and NBC to try our best to find a Made in America brand, and there are so few. And we wanted to breathe new life into this company. People don’t know it and we want to help bring it back. That pulled at my heart.”
She said the broadcasters will be able to choose their Hardwick wardrobe which will allow them to express their individual style, so long as that gels with the others in the booth. “It still has to be cohesive since they’re on set together,” she said.
She said the guys on the Golf Channel are perhaps the most fashion-forward and Costas also dresses very well, but “simple.”
Acton also revealed that the women will be dressed by Lafayette 148, which is creating a special Made in America capsule for NBC for them to wear during the Olympics.