Tag Archives: USA

US Olympic OC Fashion: Political or Patriotic?

The Olympic games are one of the few events which enlist the participation of 88 nations and garners global spectator-ship. The Olympics are just as much a cultural event as they are a sporting event. And while this is an event for the global community, the competitive nature of the games inspires a great deal of patriotism and nationalism. Each team has a responsibility to represent its country’s values and culture from the moment they touch down in Sochi to the moment they leave, whether medal-clad or not. Most people assume that by winning medals in their respective events that the athletes have proven the success of their country’s government, culture, and fundamental values and mores. But unless the athlete is someone like Michael Phelps who boasts 22 medals, the world is more likely to remember your presence and presentation than they are to remember your performance.

This is why the teams’ and individuals’ appearances are so important and this is where fashion comes into play (pun intended). The teams’ styles are debuted and broadcasted to a worldwide audience at the games’ Opening Ceremonies, where the athletes are formally welcomed and introduced. Next to each individual’s event this is the most important moment for the athletes and even more so for their respective countries. Each country’s culture is being assessed through how their is presented and a major component of this is how they look: their physical appearance and how they are dressed.

OpeningCeremonies_RL_Team

This year, as in 2010 and 2012, the United States’ Olympic team will be dressed head to toe in Ralph Lauren designs, but unlike previous years, these designs were produced and manufactured entirely in the United States. It seems like common sense that the America team wear designs that showcase the talent of American designers, and also the capacity of American clothing manufacturers, but this apparently wasn’t so apparent to the USOC and Ralph Lauren. It was not until political backlash over US team uniforms and attire being produced in China that the decision was made for this year’s drab to be entirely American from concept to production.

The Ralph Lauren ensembles this year are pretty similar to what we saw in 2010, with the exception of this year’s much talked about vibrantly patriotic cardigans. The cardigan is boldly American with displays of large stars, red and white stripes, two American flags, the letters USA printed once on the chest and again much larger on the back. There was some immediate concern over perceived “flamboyance” of the sweaters as the Russian government has made clear its anti-homosexual views through rhetoric and policy. There was speculation that the sweaters were designed to make a political statement that was less so “pro-gay” and more so “Anti-Russia.” Regardless I find it hard to believe that there was any intention on the part of Ralph Lauren’s design team to make any statement other than, “Go USA!” mainly because these designs were probably in concept before the issue of Russia’s views towards the gay community were broadcast to the Olympic community.

OpeningCeremonies_RL_SweaterAs for the rest of the ensemble, which includes white knit pants, navy and red all-weather boots, a think turtle neck, and a patterned knit hat, I was less than impressed in terms of the creativity of the designs as it is something that we have already seen and they are less than fashionable. To Ralph Lauren’s credit, these outfits have to both gender-neutral and also functional in the Russian climate.

All-in-all the outfit is extremely patriotic and I am so happy to know that everything was made here in the USA.

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Olympic-Inspired Style

Not that an excuse is ever needed to be patriotic, but in the spirit of the upcoming Olympic games, it only seems right that we all start dressing the part of the freedom-loving, beer-drinking, firework-throwing Americans! Break out the bold blues and radiant reds, and show your support for Team USA!

usaoutfit1

This is a great casual-sophisticated look that is both patriotic and stylish.

Get the look: Red& White striped pullover from Scotch & Soda. Dark Denim Pant from Scotch & Soda. Railroad Stripe Chambray from Wolf Vs. Goat. Leather belt and Oxford shoe in a deep cognac brown from Bloomingdales.

usaoutfit2This sporty but stylish look is more subtle in its patriotic spirit. Makes a great weekend outfit!

Get the look: Dark denim from Scotch & Soda. Soft, hand-dyed t-shirt from Wolf Vs. Goat. Tailored blazer in Navy from Scotch & Soda. White leather slip-on with striped detailing by Gucci.

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It’s all in the bag…Campos Bags

campos

Normally my posts are about all things related to men’s fashion, but this spotlight post steps away from menswear and into the world of accessories, specifically leather handbags.  If you like simple, high-quality, American-made leather goods, Campos Bags is a brand you need to know.

Campos was founded by Roy Campos, a Peruvian and American leather master, in 2012 and is continuously growing its brand. Each of the Campos designs are produced and manufactured here in the United States, (Brooklyn to be exact), to ensure the highest quality of craftsmanship.

The Campos style of bags are designed to be both highly functional and stylish. Each of the styles are unique but share clean lines, limited embellishment, and stand-out stitching. The Satchel Tote and Zip Tote are the type of bag I wish I had in college- a great alternative to a Longchamp, Michael Kors, or sorority tote. The high-quality materials, secure handles, and zipper enclosures make these bags perfect for carrying around your laptop, books, wallet, etc. If you’re not a co-ed and/or you’re looking for something a little smaller, but equally as streamlined and functional, the Triple Zip Clutch and Double Pouch Crossbody are the way to go. Each of these smaller options has several pockets for storing and separating your favorite items, but neither of these designs is bulky or heavy.

Roy Campos, the founder and lead designer for the self-titled brand was nice enough to answer a few question about himself, the brand, and his products. Here is what he had to say…

1. The brand in 3 words: Simple, Sustainable, Fun
2. What’s to come: Backpacks & Small leather goods
3. Target customer: Stylish women and men who love clean, classic American design that is sustainably made in America.
4. The future: A storefront might be nice so people can come in to create their custom Campos bags and peruse our leather and zipper options in person. We like to connect directly with our customers.

This is just a sneak peak inside this amazing Made-In-America brand. To learn more about the company and shop the products, visit the Campos Bags site. Also, stay tuned for more from Roy in an upcoming blog post discussing the challenges and rewards of designing and producing in the United States.

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