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IATSE Offers to Rebuild Olympic Uniforms in the U.S.

So most of the world has probably heard that Team USA will be wearing uniforms “made in China” for the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in London, and the big question is…why??

Say what you will about the uniform designs by Ralph Lauren – opinions are mixed and range from “they look too European” to “they look like school uniforms” to “they look classy”.

Team USA Uniforms
for the 2012 Olympics in London
photo from Ralph Lauren

I, personally, have complained that fashion designers have a bad habit of designing things that look rather costumey.  And I’ve often wished that a Hollywood costume designer would be given the job of designing something like this – costumers are trained to capture a character or a feeling using wardrobe.

Given the chance, I believe that a professional costumer would create something that would embody the American spirit & patriotism we want to see worn by those representing our great nation (without looking like a costume).

I’ve also always said that a costumer would have the contacts to build something in the United States. The “Made in the USA” label is very important to those who are members of IATSE (the film & theatre union).

Now that a stink has been raised about the uniforms not being made in our own country, I was excited to receive an email from IATSE this afternoon. In it, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb was quoted offering the services of the IATSE wardrobe crew to rebuild the uniforms for Team USA. (I’m a member of film Local 484 here in Texas.) The memo concluded with this paragraph:

“Our people design and build costumes for all sorts of events and entertainment and have done so since 1893.” With the Olympics opening day ceremonies scheduled just two weeks away in London, President Loeb added, “Members of the IATSE create all types of clothing under the tightest of schedules and we welcome the opportunity to be engaged by the U.S. Olympic Committee to help produce these uniforms with skilled American workers. We are extremely proud of our U.S. Olympic team as they represent us in the London games, but we want them also to be proud to wear uniforms that were made by workers in their own homeland.”

I’m not sure if he was offering a complete redesign or just a rebuild of Ralph Lauren’s with a “Made in the USA” label, but it’s true it can be done – I’ve been one of those last minute stitchers on shows before.

I don’t know if anyone will actually take him up on the offer, but wouldn’t it be interesting if they did?

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