Team USA Apparel Is Made in New England
Just when you thought our Olympians couldn’t look any better (those bodies! all those medals!), Team USA is about to suit up in Massachusetts-made apparel.
At the closing ceremony of the Rio games this Sunday, athletes will sport red, white, and blue oxford shirts manufactured in Fall River by New England Shirt Company.
After getting flack for making the 2012 London Olympics uniforms in China, official team outfitter Polo Ralph Lauren worked with about 40 American brands to create this year’s opening and closing ceremony looks, as well as other team apparel and accessories.
“Being able to represent American manufacturing on an international stage is a huge honor to the dedication of our craftspeople,” says New England Shirt Company director of marketing Brad Herzlich.
The RL team also commissioned Rancourt & Company, based in Lewiston, Maine, to create boat shoes for the opening and closing ceremonies, and Re-Sails, based in Newport, Rhode Island, to whip up patriotic sailcloth duffel and tote bags.
More on these New England collaborators:
New England Shirt Company
Fall River, Massachusetts
New England Shirt Company specializes in making cut-and-sew sport and dress shirts for its own brand (available locally at Sault New England on Tremont Street) as well as private label clients such as Trunk Club. Open since 1883, this historic factory in the hard-hit former mill city has been undergoing a rebirth in recent years thanks to new ownership.
Workers spent the winter turning 12,000 yards of red, white, and blue fabric into button-downs designed by the Polo Ralph Lauren team. They made upward of 5,500 oxfords—about 4,600 went to the Olympics and the rest will be sold at retail, says Herzlich.
The shirts have USA patches at the back and front. An RL Polo pony logo—embroidered by another Fall River company, Corporate Image Apparel—sits at the left chest.
“It was a unique and exciting challenge to fit all of the specifications we were given,” says Herzlich. “A basketball player like Kevin Durant has a very different body type than, say, one of the women’s gymnasts.”
Rancourt & Company
This family-owned Maine manufacturer has been making hand-sewn moccs and other shoe styles for three generations.
For Team USA, workers crafted red, white, and blue calfskin boat shoes made entirely from American materials. They have a nonslip Vibram sole, developed specially for the Olympics.
Athletes wore the stylish shoes with their skinny jeans and blue blazers during the opening ceremony, and are expected to slip them on again Sunday.
Newport, Rhode Island
Re-Sails owner Christian Schlebach has been making bags, apparel, and home decor out of unwanted sails since 1996. For consistency given the size of this Olympic job, his team used new Dacron sailcloth.
Sold through the Ralph Lauren website, the super durable weatherproof duffel and tote bags are adorned with USA patches, stripes, and stenciled lettering, all applied by hand.
Re-Sails operations manager Mara Fleming says she doesn’t know if Olympians were given the bags or if they are just being sold as part of the collection. “If some of them were given to the athletes and they were seen carrying them around, that’s a bonus,” she says. “Either way, it was a great project for us all around.”
The Rhode Island-based brand has stores in Newport, Rhode Island; Charleston, South Carolina; and Annapolis, Maryland.
If you want to look like an Olympian, the Official Team USA Collection is for sale online at ralphlauren.com. Now if only we could buy the abs under the shirts, too.