The Vermont based company, Burton, is fielding criticism after they unveiled the uniforms they designed for the 2014 U.S. Snowboarding team for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The patchwork retro look of the coats was inspired by a quilt that designers found at an antique fair.
But it’s not a matter of aesthetics that people are complaining about, it’s the fact that the Burton uniforms were made overseas. The fabric was made in Italy and Vietnam, and the uniforms were then fabricated in Japan and sewn in Taiwan.
Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont is an advocate for‘Made in America’ products and told WCAX Channel 3 News, "Vermonters are proud that Burton designed the uniforms for U.S. Olympic snowboarders right here in Vermont. But the U.S. Olympic Committee must be held responsible for making certain that uniforms worn by American athletes are made in America."
Locals, like Abner Fernandez, felt similarly saying, "What?! What happened to the American jobs? What’s going on? They should have brought that in here." Ian Lorberfeld, another snowboarder on Stowe Mountain said, "It is kind of messed up that our own Olympic team has to be represented by almost another country."
Burton stands behind their decision to go with materials they say they rely on and know are of top quality. The company released this statement: "To achieve this level of performance and function, Burton turned to its best, long-standing and most trusted technical partners around the world to produce the uniforms, to ensure that our high technical and design standards were met."
The 2012 U.S. Olympic team uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren drew criticism as well when it was discovered that the line was made in China. As ABC News reports, the designer upheld a promise made back then to manufacture the 2014 uniforms in America. U.S. Olympians will sport uniforms entirely U.S. produced. From the wool, to the threads, to the buttons and zippers, everything is ‘Made in USA.’