Ralph Lauren is a globally iconic and sought after brand. Best known for its elegant and classic designs, the brand has quickly become synonymous with outfitting top athletes and sponsoring premiere sporting events. The premium lifestyle brand prides itself on creating high-quality garments rooted in Ralph Lauren’s Americana vision. From Wimbledon to the Sochi Olympics, Ralph Lauren is constantly reinforcing its brand as suppliers of superior athletic apparel.
Within the last 10 years, the brand has worked with the best competitions in tennis, golf, and has now partnered with the Olympics. The uniforms designed for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games marks the fourth collaboration between Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic Committee.
For the Sochi Olympics, the brand can proudly display a Made in America label on the designs. The Opening Ceremony uniforms at the 2013 London Olympic Games fell into controversy, having been largely produced in China. But this year, domestic production was key. The brand created a video explaining the story behind the production of the garments, showcasing the progression from raw wool to the design studio.
“We see a macro shift taking place in luxury consumption from ‘showing’ to ‘knowing,’ from more overt statements of accumulation to a more meaningful sense of self-expression and indeed self-discovery," says Rebecca Robins, Director EMEA LatAm for Interbrand and co-author of Meta-luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence. "As such, the threads of craftsmanship, history and provenance have never been more integral to brands and to brand storytelling. Authenticity has to come as standard.”
The Opening Ceremony outfit was revealed on The Today Show on January 23, 2014, displaying a patriotic palette of red, white and blue. David Lauren told The Today Show that he was “inspired by classic American patchwork quilts and sweaters, specifically the made-by-hand look.” The uniform includes a patchwork cardigan, cream cotton turtleneck sweater, fleece athletic pants, and black leather boots. Through the purchase of the limited edition cardigan, 100% of the profits from the piece will go to the US Olympic Committee.
Growing globally and having the opportunity to be seen worldwide is a testament to the Ralph Lauren brand. From its previous collaborations with the Olympics, the brand has become a natural fit as the official Team USA Olympic outfitter. Both the Olympics and Ralph Lauren work together to create a complementary story based on athletic excellence at the world’s most highly regarded sporting event.
The Olympic Games often bring out a sense of patriotism in all of us. There is no better way to align an American brand, than outfitting Team USA. When similar brand values align through partnerships it creates a stronger story. Brand partnerships become memorable and hopefully, mutually beneficial. Designing for the Olympics is not only an incredible opportunity for Ralph Lauren, but also a way to reinforce its position and purpose as a purveyor of American style and design.
Brittany Waterson is an Associate in Interbrand's Global Communications and Marketing team.