2008 May 8


Canadian politicians are fuming – they’ve discovered that Canada’s Olympic uniforms are being made in China!  But Tu Ly, one of the designers who created them, is unapologetic about the situation.  In an interview he made a robust defence of the decision to manufacture in China, ‘I would like to challenge these politicians to give up their cell phones made in China or their TVs, then maybe they’d really be on an even plane,’ he said. Ly added that his company has a code of vendor conduct to ensure its suppliers operate under fair working law and respect the environment.

But New Democrat MP Paul Dewar isn’t happy. ‘This is our Olympic team. We should be ensuring that all of our Olympic athletes are … wearing Canadian-made textiles and all of their uniforms should be made in Canada.’ The decision has sparked such controversy because the Canadian clothing manufacture market is in something of a decline at present.

The Hudson Bay Company, for whom Ly works, said that Asia is the only readily-available source for the specialist fabrics featured in the eco-friendly designs, which are specifically mandated to help athletes cope with Beijing’s heat and humidity. These innovative fabrics include bamboo, cocona and organic cotton. But the line of Olympic Supporters apparel is being made in China too, and that may be a more difficult case to fight, as souvenir buyers probably won’t be travelling to China!

For the last summer Olympics, Roots Canada made the athletes’ uniforms at home and outfitted Canada’s Olympic teams for every Olympics from 1998 to 2004.

Canadian Olympic team modelling their uniforms courtesy of JP Moculski, The Canadian Press

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