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Ralph Lauren unveils crisp white Team USA Olympic uniforms

NEW YORK (AP) – With a crisp white graphic look and roomy pockets, the uniforms to be worn by Team USA at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics were unveiled Wednesday by official outfitter Ralph Lauren.

The uniforms and Ralph Lauren-designed Olympic Village attire for the American athletes had been ready to go when the Games were postponed last summer due to the pandemic.

“It seems like we’re all going now,” David Lauren, the company’s chief branding and innovation officer, told The Associated Press ahead of the reveal. “They had been designed, produced, and ready to roll.”

The Games are now scheduled to open July 23 and end Aug. 8 as organizers continue to figure out how to hold them with the pandemic still raging and just 100 days to go. In the meantime, Ralph Lauren is ready with opening and closing parade gear for the more than 600 Team USA athletes, those participating in the Paralympics, and Olympic-themed items for sale to the public.

Opening ceremony uniforms will be unveiled in July.

Lauren, the son of the fashion giant’s founder, said sustainability was top of mind this Olympic go around.

Ralph Lauren, which has been outfitting Team USA since 2008, worked with Dow on a cotton pre-treatment dyeing process that uses less water, chemicals, and energy than more traditional methods. The process was used for a navy Polo shirt each athlete will receive.

A leather alternative using plant-based materials and agriculture products free of synthetic plastics was used for a patch on the closing ceremony’s white stretch denim pants made of U.S.-grown cotton. And like the lightweight drawstring jacket, a striped red, white and blue belt to be worn by the athletes is derived partially from recycled plastic bottles. The patches are already a keepsake of the historic Olympic delay: They say “Team USA” with 2020 printed in red.

The zip jackets in white include navy collars and hoods and striped red, white, and blue cuffs. An American flag patch is on one arm, and “USA” is on the other, the latter also down one pant leg. The athletes will wear a classic white Polo shirt, white sneakers with a stripe design, and navy masks also made of American cotton.

The company’s Olympic retail collection will be available for purchase beginning Wednesday on Ralphlauren.com and in June at select Ralph Lauren retail stores, U.S. department stores, and online at TeamUSAShop.com. All revenue supports Team USA.

“We want our athletes to really be ambassadors for American style, culture, and sportsmanship,” Lauren said recently via Zoom from Manhattan. “We also understood that the message for the Olympics was about sustainability, that this would be the most sustainable Olympics in history and a chance for the team to showcase ingenuity around new ways of thinking about our environment.”

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