FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2012
In Wake of Revelations That U.S.
Olympic Uniforms Are Made in China:
SCHUMER CALLS ON U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE TO MAKE U.S. OLYMPIC UNIFORMS IN AMERICA; NEW YORK’S LEGENDARY SUIT MAKER HICKEY FREEMAN STANDS READY TO DO THE JOB
New Reports Indicate That Team USA Olympic Uniforms Are Actually Made in China—Rochester-Based Hickey Freeman Stands Ready to Support Their National Team & Produce Uniforms On Time
Schumer Calls on U.S. Olympic Committee to Make Uniforms in America; Legendary Suit Maker Hickey Freeman Is Willing and Able to Produce High-Quality Suits for the Olympic Team & Is Already Producing Olympic Attire For NBC’s On-Air Talent
Schumer: U.S. Olympians Don’t Train Their Entire Lives to Don Chinese Ceremonial Uniforms
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to abandon their current uniforms that were made in China and replace them with uniforms made in the United States, and suggested Rochester-based suit maker Hickey Freeman to do the job. This week, ABC News revealed that the U.S. Olympic Committee decided to outfit the American athletes at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in uniforms made in China, instead of enlisting American workers and companies to support their national team. In the wake of this report, Schumer secured a commitment from President Mike Cohen of Rochester-based suit maker Hickey Freeman to produce the sport coats and dress trousers for the Olympic team’s uniforms for the opening ceremonies. Today, Schumer called on the Olympic Committee to scrap their current uniforms, have them made in the United States, and consider hiring Hickey Freeman to lead the charge in producing the uniforms in the United States. In addition, Schumer and Hickey Freeman officials noted that should the current uniform producer, Ralph Lauren, decide to make the tailored components of their uniforms domestically, Hickey Freeman would be thrilled to partner with Ralph Lauren and execute that order in New York.
“Our Olympians don’t train their entire lives to don Chinese uniforms,” said Schumer. “Team USA is seeing red instead of red white and blue, and it is clear that the U.S. Olympic Committee should start over and provide the U.S.-made uniforms these athletes deserve. Luckily, the President of Hickey Freeman Mike Cohen called me to personally commit that his company is ready, willing and able to lead the charge in producing American-made uniforms in time for the upcoming Olympic Ceremonies. This shows that great American companies and their workers stand ready and able to quickly produce the U.S. Olympic uniforms, and who better to produce the formal wear than the best American suit maker, Hickey Freeman. That’s why I’m urging the U.S. Olympic Committee to quickly make this right to support America’s economy and workers.”
“Hickey Freeman stands at the ready to manufacture all tailored components of Team U.S.A.’s uniforms for the upcoming Olympic ceremonies,” said Doug Williams, Chief Executive Officer of HMX Group. “Our talented Olympic athletes deserve the best, and Hickey Freeman can quickly produce top-rate uniforms right here in Rochester. I hope that the U.S. Olympic Committee heeds Senator Schumer’s call.”.
This week, it was reported by ABC news that at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, U.S. Olympians will be wearing uniforms made in China. The formal wear for the ceremonies which includes berets, blazers, and trousers for the men and berets, scarves, and skirts for the women, all which carry the “Made in China” label and are not produced by American companies. Hickey Freeman stands at the ready to produce the suits for these uniforms. This is despite the fact that American clothing companies are more than capable of producing better quality clothing at the same price. According to Nanette Lepore, a top U.S. Fashion Designer, these clothes could have been made in the U.S. for even less than were made in China. In wake of these reports, Schumer spoke with legendary New York suit maker and confirmed their ability and desire to produce the clothing for the U.S. Olympians. Hickey Freeman still makes its suits in Rochester, New York, where it employs 650 highly-trained and specialized tailors.
Schumer today called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to abandon their current uniforms and have new Opening Ceremony uniforms made in America. Schumer noted that producing the uniforms at Hickey Freeman would support the US economy and a great American company. For the non-suit components, Hickey Freeman has committed to contract with only American-made companies for production. Schumer also noted that in these difficult economic times, the last thing the U.S. Olympic Committee should be doing is depriving American workers of much needed jobs.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below:
July 13, 2012
Dr. Lawrence F. Probst
United States Olympic Committee
27 South Tejon
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Dear Chairman Probst,
As we approach the 2012 Olympic Games, the United States Olympic Committee has a rare opportunity to showcase the strength and pride of the United States. Our athletes train countless hours to represent our nation, and private citizens help to send them there. I was disappointed to learn that despite being sent to London by fellow Americas, their uniforms will be manufactured by Chinese citizens instead.
This is particularly disappointing because there are many American manufactures capable of providing uniforms to our athletes. Hickey Freeman of Rochester, New York, for example, has recently offered to serve Team USA by producing sports coats and dress trousers even with such a short time frame. It is the honor of our athletes to represent the United States in the 2012 London Olympic Games; it should be the honor of American manufacturers to do the same.
While it is disappointing that the USOC has chosen to outsource the production of our Olympians’ uniforms, it is particularly concerning that they have chosen to use a Chinese manufacturer. The Chinese government habitually and flagrantly violates their international trade obligations to the detriment of both American and other international manufacturers. The International Olympic Committee touts the importance of “fair play” in their mission statement. For the USOC to choose a manufacturer that constantly ignores the principle of “fair play” in international trade flies directly in the face of the purpose of the Olympic Games.
I urge you to reconsider your decision to use a Chinese manufacturer for our Olympians’ uniforms and instead give your business to companies such as Hickey Freeman and their American workers who have offered to serve their nation in this capacity – both for this year’s games and all the upcoming 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. I ask that you allow all Americans, manufacturers as well as athletes, the opportunity to serve their nation in this important event. We are capable of making our uniforms in America – and we should.
Charles E. Schumer
United State Senator