Polo Ralph Lauren is under fire for its Olympic uniforms — which, like virtually all other Polo Ralph Lauren products, are made in China, not the U.S. Harry Reid even said, "they should take all the outfits, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over."
Nanette Lepore, a designer who manufactures around 85% of her goods in the Garment District in New York City, says, "Why shouldn't we have pride, not only in the American athletes, but in the American manufacturers and laborers who are the backbone of our country? What's wrong? Why was that not a consideration?"
Though the controversy could easily be written off as political demagoguery and jingoism — anything that Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner agree on should be regarded with suspicion — the issue is a sensitive one with national unemployment still high at 8.2%, and with the domestic textile and apparel manufacturing industry in a protracted decline. According to a study completed this year by the City of New York, the industry is projected to continue shrinking at a rate of around 2% per year. Earlier this year, the official tourism marketing agency of New York City found itself in hot water when the press discovered that its New York promotional t-shirts were made in countries like El Salvador. New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand put the economic impact of making the uniforms in the U.S. at $1 billion, and said in a statement, "When America's best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, we should be representing the best of American-made goods. The pride of our Olympic athletics goes hand in hand with the pride of American innovation and manufacturing."
The U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement saying it was "proud of" its sponsorship deal with Ralph Lauren, which it called "an iconic American company." (That's different from a company that actually makes shit in America!) [WSJ, ABC, Kristen Gillibrand]
In unrelated Karen Elson news: she answered Rookie readers' pleas for advice about boys, healing after cheating, tattoos, and how to deal with street harassment. She advises against, by the way, getting a Harry Potter tattoo right now, because, "I loved the movie Labyrinth when I was younger, and I'm glad I don't have the words 'The Babe With the Power' on my back today." [Rookie ]
- Nike announced that it will rename its Joe Paterno Child Development Center at the firm's corporate headquarters following the release of Louis Freeh's report on Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children, which found that Paterno and other university administrators covered up Sandusky's crimes. Nike's Phil Knight defended Paterno, even calling him a "hero," earlier this year when he delivered a eulogy for the late coach, but has now released a statement that reads in part, "According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences...I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day. My love for Joe and his family remains." [WWD]
- Yayoi Kusama was a no-show at the dinner held in her honor at the Whitney. Louis Vuitton — which timed its collaboration with the artist to her solo show at the museum — co-hosted, so plenty of fashion people were in attendance. Here are some things they said:
"She's not coming tonight. I mean, she lives in a loony bin in Tokyo — by choice," Zac Posen nodded authoritatively.
"You can do that?" Lauren Santo Domingo asked, queueing with her husband, Andres, Olympia Scarry, Sofia Coppola and newlyweds Margherita Missoni and Eugenio Amos for the first part of the exhibition, Kusama's "Fireflies on the Water" installation.
"You can live in a mental institution and leave whenever you want?" Santo Domingo continued. "Maybe I'll do that....I'd feel so normal."
- Lenny Kravitz wants to be Ralph Lauren. "The plan is to make it a lifestyle brand," he tells CNN of his plans for his label, Kravitz Design, which he hopes will include furniture, bedding, and apparel. "In the same way you would see Ralph Lauren or Giorgio Armani." [P6]
- In other enthusiastic overstatements, here are the three sickliest, sweetest, gushiest, mushiest, silliest quotes from executives who stand to make a lot of money from Lady Gaga's perfume, about Lady Gaga and/or her perfume:
"She is an artist that is never satisfied with the status quo — she always has this way of challenging everybody and trying to do something more, something different."
"Gaga's launch represents my personal credo brought to life....Innovate or die! Absolutely everything about this launch is innovative, from the bottle, to the juice, to the lady herself....She's zeitgeist in a bottle."
"It is the first-ever black eau de parfum and we use language like ‘black like the soul of fame but invisible once airborne,' which makes the fragrance an allusion to the dark side of fame, the price of fame and the narcissism of fame...The soul of fame being black was the intellectual foundation of the color of the fragrance."
As for Gaga herself, she provided exactly one quote for this 1480-word story, via email. The quote was, "Fame is an illusion — if you really want it, anyone can have it." [WWD]
- Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France and the head of the luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, now reportedly has a fortune of $25.99 billion. Other rich French fashion folks include:
The Dumas, Puech and Guerrand families, which control Hermès International, moved up one spot in the ranking to number three (17.4 billion euros, or $21.33 billion), while L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt slipped one notch to number four (15.3 billion euros, or $18.75 billion). François Pinault, whose family controls PPR, slipped one spot to sixth place (6.3 billion euros, or $7.72 billion), while Chanel owner Alain Wertheimer and his family held on to eighth position (5.6 billion euros, or $6.86 billion).
- Heidi Klum is reportedly "furious" that her estranged husband Seal "partied" with two women in a hotel room in Sydney while their kids were in the next room. "Sources" say the supermodel's lawyers may bring up the incident in court, because the couple's custody arrangement, like their divorce, is not yet finalized. [P6]
- Uniqlo gave away 70,000 t-shirts and tops — along with an unspecified quantity of spicy curry — to Tokyo commuters to promote the chain's line of "cooling" clothes. The curry was to get people feeling all hot and bothered, to better appreciate the wicking effect of the high-tech fabrics. [WWD]
- Andrej Pejic's agency confirmed that the androgynous male model is taping a reality show. Out speculates:
So, will this be a sanitized version of Pejic's glamorous jetsetting model life? Or we see the real thing? We know Pejic was most recently living in Washington Heights amid the Dominican boys of Uptown Manhattan when he wasn't on the runways of Paris or New York. Will we see him walking the street with the papis making lewd kissing sounds? Please?!
We'd sure love to see Andrej on T.V. tucking in to some chimichurris from the deliciously illegal food trucks along Amsterdam and 175th. [Out]
- Homeland Security and other federal authorities seized some 70 domain names selling counterfeit goods, including sites like louisvuittononlineoutlet2012.net, tiffanyandcojewelrysale.net, usa-truereligionjean.com, ukfashionoutletmall.com, chanel2outlet.com, and tory-burchoutletsclearance.com. A spokesperson said, "I think in some cases when we are talking about buying counterfeit goods online, the sites are not as sophisticated. There are misspellings of names or things that are more obvious indicators that you may be buying counterfeit products, in addition to the price being significantly lower. But in these cases, the sites are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing and prices are either at retail value or slightly lower, so legitimate consumers who are buying online think they are buying the right thing…at a valid site." Seizing domains is the latest tool in the battle against those who sell and smuggle counterfeit goods. The sellers generally just make new sites. [WWD]
- Target is road-testing a new Beauty Advisor program in the Chicago area. If having dedicated employees shilling cosmetics live in stores increases sales, the store might roll it out nationwide. [WWD]
- Fourteen Nordstroms will be getting Topshop and Topman boutiques inside the stores this September. The affected Nordstroms include locations in Honolulu, Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, San Francisco, Miami, and San Jose. [WWD]
- And now, a moment with British model Lara Mullen. Lara, what was it like to book Dolce & Gabbana's first-ever couture show?
"It was also so nice to spend three days in Taormina, Sicily, with all of the other girls; swimming in the hotel pool until the early hours and going out for dinner. All the local people would stare and ask if we were models — to which we would reply 'no.'"