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When the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ralph Lauren had already finished his training, completing the U.S. team's uniforms for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
"Our uniforms and collection for Team USA were done and ready to ship out for the Tokyo Games when they were postponed last year," David Lauren, chief branding and innovation officer and vice chairman of the board of Ralph Lauren Corporation, tells E! News. "We've been holding them for a year and are ready to finally cheer on Team USA in their quest for gold!"
Now, they won't have to wait much longer. The Olympic Games officially begin their 16-day run Friday, July 23, with the Closing Ceremony set for Sunday, August 8. The Paralympic Games then start August 24 and end September 5.
Ralph Lauren has been an official outfitter for the U.S. team ever since 2008. And just like the athletes, the brand's teams dedicate a lot of time to preparing for the big moment.
So, what goes into the design process and how long does it take?
We're so glad you asked.
Ralph LaurenLet the Games Begin
When it comes to designing the U.S. team's uniforms for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the process is more of a marathon than a sprint.
"The design process takes about 18 months, from the creative concepting stages and innovation development to delivering the finished product to Team USA," David Lauren, chief branding and innovation officer and vice chairman of the board of Ralph Lauren Corporation, tells E! News. "Every Olympics, our goal is to create a look for Team USA that is both cutting-edge and classic and represents the best of America—and that make the athletes look their best on the world's stage."
Ralph LaurenWorking as a Team
For the team at Ralph Lauren, going for the gold means delivering uniforms that are both innovative and functional, as well as fashionable. And to ensure they stick the landing, designers seeks insights from both the athletes and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
"We want our athletes to be comfortable, represent our country and honor the incredible tradition and spectacle that is the Olympics," Lauren continues. "We work closely with the USOPC and get detailed feedback and input from Team USA athletes to really understand what they want and need, and what they're comfortable in—whether that be a heated jacket, RL COOLING technology or developing apparel that is sustainability and consciously created."
Ralph Lauren2 Ceremonies, 2 Different Uniforms
Just as how no two events are the same, the team at Ralph Lauren takes different aspects into consideration when designing the U.S. team's uniforms for the Opening Ceremonies versus the Closing Ceremonies.
"The Opening Ceremony Parade is the pinnacle and most iconic moment of the Olympic Games and is when each athlete truly becomes an ‘Olympian' for the first time. We take that notion very seriously, and the uniforms for the Opening Ceremony are a bit more formal and classic to honor the gravity of that moment," Lauren explains. "The spirit of Closing Ceremony uniform is always a bit sportier and more informal, in keeping with the celebratory and festive atmosphere of the Closing Ceremony itself."