Move over ugly Christmas sweaters, there’s some competition in the hideous sweater department: the new Team USA Winter Olympics uniforms.
In case you missed it, Ralph Lauren recently debuted his designs for the 2014 American team, and they are ugly, to say the least. Navy sweaters covered in knitted American flags and Olympics memorabilia — these sweaters look like something that could be found in the back corner of some random thrift shop in the middle of Iowa or worn by hipsters 30 years from now in an “ironic” way.
After the controversy surrounding Ralph Lauren’s designs for the 2012 American Olympic team — when ABC News reported that the uniforms for Team USA were made in China — it seems that Lauren has overcorrected by covering every possible knittable inch in patriotic gear. It seems Lauren’s imagination could not expand far enough to think of anything other than the typical flag regalia. Other than the sweater, Lauren designed a pair of sweatpants for team USA to wear. Yes, sweatpants. What depicts the glory of America better than having our top athletes parade around in sweatpants?
The navy peacoat with a red stripe is very classic Americana, the perfect coat for athletes trying to be stylish without looking like they’re trying too hard. And of course, the pea coat would not be complete without a standard Ralph Lauren polo symbol …
Having Ralph Lauren design the Olympic uniforms makes sense considering his place in American fashion history. However, with the breadth of talent the American fashion scene currently offers, why not switch it up and offer a newer American designer the chance to step out in red, white and blue? An obvious first choice would be Michael Kors, who would provide very classic yet stylish pieces. The minds of Proenza Schouler could also dream up a more exciting uniform. The Olympic team could even create a design competition to find and cultivate new talent. This is the fourth time Lauren has designed the uniforms for Team USA and, judging from the lack of creativity exhibited by the designs, it’s high time to find a new outfitter.
Ralph Lauren’s designs for Team USA are unattractive and boring at the same time. How many variations on the American flag are we going to see in clothing this year? Could there have been a new way to present patriotic-themed clothing? Give the flag a break, and let’s see a new take on American patriotism for the next Olympics!