I have been silent on this matter as I have wanted to read, listen and research the elements of this situation.
Allow me to clarify and simplify this matter with a practical answer devoid of politics, emotion or opinion in the first part. In the second part I will offer my opinion.
The uniforms in question are essentially Blue Blazers, a matter in which I have obvious personal expertise. A lot of 350 of these takes from delivery of fabric to availability for delivery 6 to 8 weeks total at our factory located in Florida. Fabric delivery takes 10 days for in-stock dyed and 30 days for custom dyed "grey goods".
Had I been asked, I would have been happy to make the garments for the team at my factory replete with the Polo branding and done it at wholesale as a courtesy to our team and to Mr. Lauren for whom I have the utmost respect. I would have used Lauren patterns, fabrics and all other specifications. i also would have signed a confidentiality agreement to avoid any encroachment of the Anderson-Little brand into Lauren's licensing deal with the Olympics. Further my Father would have consulted directly with Mr. Lauren to make sure he felt supported by someone with decades of experience.
Also, be aware that these athletes can be very, very tall, or very, very short or very muscular or bulky or very thin, so in essence you are running from 54 XL to 34 Short and everywhere in between and probably only a few in each size, so it's almost a custom order for the top and bottom end of the size scale. And you have both men's and women's.
All that being said, I can state for a fact that It would absolutely not have been more expensive to make this garment here. I do it every day.
They just never asked. They used their usual channels and this is based around a foreign production model. It's just that simple. Just business as usual.
Given the lead time involved in this and their overall business model, coupled with the foreign manufacture of the uniforms for many years, I doubt the issue ever even came up as to where to make them. They're at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong product. They misjudged the mood of the nation, underestimated the public reaction and failed to anticipate the public relations lightening rod this would become.
While I hate to see a class act like Lauren be dragged over hot coals for simply running his business, I do applaud the American public for finally getting the real message here. We have got to make things if we are ever going to bring growth and prosperity back to our economy. We need to return our national focus to manufacturing and reclaim our place in the word market with goods made here. A service economy will never provide growth or prosperity. That can only come from the creation of wealth through the production of goods. The service economy is a theory and it has not worked.
The problem is we have been told for so long that we can't do it, we, like Lauren don't even bother asking the question. Should we make it here?
That is why I took Anderson-Little back. That is why I make my product here. That is why my company has grown a minimum of 20% per year in the four years since my Father and I relaunched it.
We bothered to ask the question. Can we make it here and really compete. The answer was a resounding yes. And we were absolutely right.
Let me repeat. I opened a textile company in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. TEXTILES. I make my garments here in America. My company is a success and has double digit growth and the economy has only marginally improved.
Not theory, not speculation, not financial folly. Empirical proof.
I hope this adds some insight into this debate and encourages and challenges people to ask the question--why aren't we just making it here?
And to Mr. Lauren I again say, I have the utmost respect for you sir and I regret to see your fine name being so reviled. Yes, it was a mistake, but we've all made them. I look forward to 2014 and let me know if my factory can be of any help to you. It'll be just between us
Now, let's all get back to the real action which is the Olympics themselves. Let's cheer our team and glory in their triumphs, share their losses and admire their sportsmanship.
Let the games begin. I can't wait!
Exactly. We can compete globally. Maybe more people would know this if they quit coming up with reasons why we cannot, and asked some locale textiles companies like yours to make something happen.