Des Plaines mayor: Hartmarx can make Olympic uniforms
Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan has a solution to the controversy over the U.S. Olympic Team's Opening Ceremony uniforms being manufactured in China -- have presidential suitmaker Hart Schaffner & Marx make the next set of uniforms at its Des Plaines factory.
Hart Schaffner & Marx was thrust into the national limelight in 2008 when then-President-elect Barack Obama revealed it was his preferred brand and wore a Hartmarx suit to his inauguration.
Moylan this week sent a letter to U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Lawrence F. Probst III -- with copies sent to President Obama, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky -- urging Probst to consider the proposal.
"I would like you and the United States Olympic Committee to consider Hartmarx for the manufacturing of future Olympic attire," Moylan wrote.
Moylan said the Des Plaines factory, formerly run by Chicago-based Hartmarx Corp. and in danger of being shuttered after the 125-year-old company filed for bankruptcy in 2009, has made a comeback and is now looking to add roughly 100 jobs.
When it was nearly closed, federal, state and local leaders, including Moylan, rallied around the Des Plaines factory's roughly 600 workers. The company was later acquired for $128.4 million by India-based textile giant SKNL and London-based Emerisque Brands.
A company spokesman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Team USA will be sporting navy blazers, white bottoms and berets made by fashion designer Ralph Lauren, the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Lauren recently committed to producing the Opening and Closing ceremony Team USA uniforms in the United States for the 2014 Olympic Games.
"We are urging him to make a commitment now," Moylan said. "We want to jump on it right now so we are in line for the next Olympians, not only the Winter Olympics but the Summer Games."
Moylan said there is no reason why Hart Schaffner & Marx could not do the job since the manufacturer already produces a line of sport coats, jackets and pants that would be ideal for Olympic athletes.
"It's a no-brainer," Moylan said. "We have a plant that makes not only suits for the president of the United States, we are more than willing and able to make (Olympic) uniforms right here in Des Plaines. I think it's ridiculous that they went to China to get this type of clothing manufactured there when it's a USA team."