The uniforms Team USA is wearing at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are once again designed by Ralph Lauren. Like each Olympics uniform, they are inspired by the location of the event. The uniforms were also made in the U.S., Ralph Lauren said. Michael Phelps, who was chosen to carry the U.S. flag, is also wearing a very special jacket.
Here’s what we know about the uniforms.
1. Every Part of the Uniforms Were Made in the U.S.A.
When the Opening Ceremony uniforms were unveiled by USA Today, Ralph Lauren said that all parts of the uniform were made in the U.S., despite how complicated it was to make the uniforms for all 1,100 Olympics and Paralympics athletes.
“So much of the (clothing) manufacturing has gone overseas,” Lauren told USA Today. “We’re learning, and hopefully with each Olympics we’re helping to create more jobs and helping to create more product and it might inspire any other brands to do the same.”
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York was happy to see that the blazers were made by Hickey Freeman in Rochester, New York. “This will not only guarantee our Olympians have the best uniforms to wear, but also continues a bright future of stability and expansion for manufacturing in Rochester,” Schumer told USA today.
The Ralph Lauren website points out where each piece of the uniform was made. The company signed up with over 40 partners to make sure everything was made in the U.S. The boat shoes were made by Rancourt & Company in Maine, the wristbands were produced by Scosha in New York and the New England Shirt Company in Massachusetts produced the shirts.
2. Michael Phelps Gets to Wear a Jacket That Lights Up
Michael Phelps will be the most closely watched athlete at the games, as it is expected to be the final time the most-decorated Olympian competes in the Olympics. He was chosen to carry the flag for the U.S. and Ralph Lauren has a special jacket just for him.
According to Us Weekly, the “U.S.A.” letters on the back of the jacket will be electoluminescent panels which light up during the ceremony.
“The Flag Bearer Jacket will literally light the way for Team USA as they represent our country in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games,” David Lauren, executive VP, global advertising, marketing and communications, said in a statement before Phelps was named the flag bearer.
“This groundbreaking jacket exemplifies Ralph Lauren’s continued exploration of the intersection of fashion and technology. For an athlete, being chosen as the flag bearer for Team USA is an extraordinary honor, and we wanted to pay tribute to that position,” David Lauren added.
3. The Uniforms Were Designed to Give off a ‘Brazil Resort Sensibility’
David Lauren told USA Today that the uniforms were designed to give off “almost a Brazil resort sensibility.” He added, “Something that’s relaxed and easy but also celebrates American colors, celebrates patriotism, but something that doesn’t feel too warm for the athletes.”
Ralph Lauren has been designing the Team USA ceremony uniforms since 2008 and have always tried to do something different. For London, they added beret hats to the uniform. In an interview with USA Today in 2012, Lochte called those uniforms “very clean-cut.” Aly Raisman called them “really preppy.” Both Lochte and Raisman are going to be wearing the Brazil one tonight.
4. The Striped Shirt Was a Social Media Punch Line for Looking like the Russian Flag
When the jacket is worn over the horizontal-striped shirt, it looks curiously like the Russian flag, as many on social media noticed. Of course, there’s not much Ralph Lauren could have done about it, since both the Russian flag and the American flag colors are red, white and blue. Changing up the order of the colors would have helped, though.
5. You Can Buy Every Piece of the Uniform Online
Like they did in 2012, you can buy the uniform online at RalphLauren.com/TeamUSA so you can dress up just like the athletes do tonight. It won’t be cheap, but the option is there. You can also get personalized jackets and jerseys.
The skinny jean is $195, while the blazer is $695 and the wrist band is $98. Even the T-shirt doesn’t come cheap, with a steep $89.50 price tag. The men’s shoe is $350 and the polo shirts are $98.50.