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On Thursday, the fashion brand, which has been creating outfits for Team USA Olympians and Paralympians since 2008, unveiled the closing ceremony uniforms the country’s best athletes will be wearing on social media.
“In anticipation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2022, Polo Ralph Lauren proudly unveils the official @TeamUSA Closing Ceremony uniforms,” the brand tweeted alongside a photo of Olympians including snowboarder Jamie Anderson, figure skater Jason Brown, hockey player Hilary Knight, bobsledder Aja Evans and para sled hockey player Rico Roman wearing the clothes.
The new collection, which features an expected mix of red, white and blue, includes a red and blue buffalo plaid puffer jacket made with recycled polyester and recycled down, and blue fleece bottoms, in both pants and leggings. The accompanying boots and gloves are also sustainably made, with the designer noting that they are made with recycled polyester. The collection also includes an intarsia turtleneck sweater and hat, emblazoned with the American flag, and made from US-grown wool.
While speaking with People about the new collection, and the opportunity to model the line ahead of the Winter Games, Brown, 26, said it feels like a special moment because Ralph Lauren is “synonymous with the Olympics”.
“Just being a part of the Team USA spirit is so special,” the bronze medal-winner said. “The 2008 Olympics was the first-ever Summer Olympics that I remember watching as a kid. The images of the opening ceremony and everyone decked out in Ralph Lauren are what sticks with me.”
In a statement, David Lauren, chief branding and innovation officer of Ralph Lauren, said: “Ralph Lauren is incredibly proud to outfit Team USA in apparel that has been designed with integrity and purpose. For these Games, the design aesthetic of our uniform represents a modern look that feels distinctly new and fresh, created with sustainability in mind.”
In anticipation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2022, Polo Ralph Lauren proudly unveils the official @TeamUSA Closing Ceremony uniforms
Learn more about how we support #TeamUSA as an Official Outfitter: https://t.co/diLTlsg68k#RLxTeamUSA #WinterOlympics #WinterParalympics pic.twitter.com/G4oo9T9UL8
— Ralph Lauren (@RalphLauren) October 28, 2021
However, the brand’s latest design comes after numerous calls for Ralph Lauren to be replaced as the official outfitter of Team USA, following criticism over the outfits designed for the athletes to wear during the opening ceremony at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
At the time, many questioned why the fashion brand is “allowed” to keep dressing the country’s Olympians, with some viewers comparing the outfits to attire worn by classic Disney villains while others said they were better suited for a vacation in Rhode Island.
“Can we stop letting Ralph Lauren create our Olympic outfits?” one person asked. “I’m literally never impressed.”
Since the brand unveiled its latest collection, the reactions on social media have been lukewarm, with some expressing disappointment in the outfits.
“The boots are awful. The rest of it is just meh, uninspiring. And white pants? Come on,” one person tweeted.
Another said: “Ugly as always. Why can’t they ever hire a good designer?”
Not everyone was critical of the outfits, however, as there were also comments from some praising the designer’s latest attempt.
“Omg I need that coat and knit sweater,” one person commented on Instagram, while someone else wrote: “So much better than the summer Olympic gear.”
The Team USA closing ceremony outfit will be available for purchase online at ralphlauren.com beginning Thursday, while the Winter Games are expected to kick off on 4 February.