The History of Ralph Lauren’s Iconic Sponsorship with Team USA
February 9, 2018
All the anticipation transfers into an abundance of excitement across the globe as the 2018 Winter Olympics are officially underway. Every four years, the Olympic games bring the world together as dozens of nation’s send their top athletes to compete for gold. This year, the Winter Olympics are being held in Pyeonchang, South Korea. Throughout recent history of the games, Team USA has been nothing short of brilliant. In the 2016 Summer games in Rio, American swimming superstar Michael Phelps tallied his 23rd gold medal in his career, which set the all-time world record for most gold medals won. Of the American athletes that made the trek to Rio two years ago, 210 returned home with a medal, 61 of which were won by women. This stunning collective performance by the United States marked the 6th straight games topping the medal charts. Not only is the performance of Team USA bold and thrilling, Americans are also at the forefront of the fashion element of the Olympic Games. Seen through the lens of the opening and closing ceremonies, Team USA has never failed to make a stunning appearance.
In 2008, Team USA first collaborated with one of America’s most acclaimed designers, none other than Mr. Ralph Lauren. Since then, Ralph Lauren’s label, Polo Ralph Lauren has been the official outfitter of the national team. He has designed uniforms for the traditional opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games of Beijing, Vancouver, London, Sochi, Rio, and now Pyeonchang. The partnership with Team USA marked an enormous shift in Olympic sportswear.
A monumental year for the world of fashion and the sports world was 2012. For the 2012 Olympic Games in London Ralph Lauren contrived a classic and elegant look in his 3rd collaboration with the national team. The men were dressed in navy double-breasted blazer, paired with a simple white oxford shirt adorned by a red, white and navy blue neck tie. Women sported a similar look with a navy blazer as well as a silk cream-colored skirt. The looks epitomized the timeless function and appeal of a classic navy blazer.
Four years later, the Americans were portrayed in yet another elegant look as the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio began. The American outfit consisted of a red, white, and navy blue t-shirt underneath a navy blazer with golden lapels, matched with a pair of slim-fitting white jeans. This appearance epitomized the timeless all-American palette of red, white and blue. To complete the outfit, Ralph Lauren collaborated with Kyle and his father Michael Rancourt of Rancourt & Company to curate a perfect pair of boat-shoes. The company is based out of Maine, and their doors have been open for business for over 40 years. Lauren is exhilarated from the wonderful opportunity to be the official outfitter of Team USA for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, and his proud of the fact that 100% of the clothing the athletes wear are made here in our great country. Michael Rancourt recalls the opportunity to work with Lauren, “My dad got the call and texted me that Ralph Lauren was making shoes for the Olympic Team and they wanted us to make them. I was so incredibly excited…” Ralph Lauren, paired with another American company filled with heritage, formulated a beautiful leather red, white and blue boat-shoe for the athletes. The iconic silhouette was the cherry on top for the outfit.
This year, the brilliant American designer was back at it again. As fireworks shot up towards the South Korean sky, shouts rang out filled with praise and support for the American athletes as the national anthem rang out and they began their trek around the stadium. The athletes made their rounds humbly, donned form head-to-toe in red, white and navy blue just as the subsequent years. Since the origin of Ralph Lauren’s work, he has made a conscience effort to intertwine the natural beauty of the garments with cutting edge technology. This year he made a revolutionary enhancement to the functional silhouette of the parka, and enhancing it by utilizing battery packs in the inner-lining of the jacket to provide a heated panel for warmth. The battery packs come with a few different heat settings that the athlete could alter if necessary throughout the parade. The uniform, along with the heated parka, was comprised of a navy blue wool sweater, dark colored jeans, and a pair of suede mountaineering boots. The athletes also possessed an extra touch, sporting accessories such as a star-patterned scarf, wool beanie, and a handcrafted pair of suede gloves that obtained elegant embroidery of the American flag, and the classic Olympian rings. This was not only a very beloved collection of garments, it also prioritized comfortability and warmth for the below-freezing temperatures the athletes endured during the ceremony.
In his partnership with Team USA, Ralph Lauren has not only curated classy looks that are stunning and memorable, but they also go as far as to embody the heart and soul of the American spirit.