News that the outfits the United States Olympic Team will wear for the opening and closing ceremonies at the upcoming London Games are actually made in China has caused quite an uproar. Senator Charles Schumer has called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to consider re-outfitting the team in American made clothing produced by Rochester suit maker, Hickey Freeman. Our Doug Sampson reports.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The U.S. Olympic Committee recently revealed the outfits produced by Ralph Lauren for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Summer Games in London. The problem that some have with the clothing though, is that it is made in China. The CEO of HMX, Hickey Freeman's parent company, said he is excited that Senator Schumer has recommended those outfits be reproduced in Rochester.
"It would be something that we would be very proud to participate in. An American manufacturer that's been around for over a hundred years to be able to support our Olympians would just be something that would be great for the morale of our team, as well as the morale for the Rochester community," said Doug Williams, HMX CEO.
Williams said there are more than 400 qualified tailors at the Rochester facility on North Clinton Avenue, and an additional 600 at HMX's Chicago plant that can produce more than 1,500 clothing items per week. Rochester area residents said it would be a shot in the arm for this community for Hickey Freeman to get that Olympic contract.
"It's very strange that when I buy Hickey Freeman in other cities, they don't really realize that they're made in Rochester. And that is something that we really need to advertise," said Claudette Entenberg, a Brighton resident.
Other's said even though this would be great for the company, they have questions regarding the cost.
"If they're going to do it gratis, fine. If they're going to charge the Olympic Committee, I can't see the Olympic Committee paying twice when they're already short of funds. It doesn't make sense," said Ronald Carafice, a Greece resident.
When asked that question, Williams said he didn't have an answer.
"I said to other people today who asked the same question, we have patriotism around the Olympics, and other great events. My challenge to everyone is when they walk into their closets in the morning and they look at where their clothing is made, remember that it's more than just an Olympic event, it's a choice that we all make every single day on what we wear," Williams said.
The games being in just two weeks. Hickey Freeman said it is ready and can manufacture the U.S. outfits in time for the opening ceremonies.