CITY OF COMMERCE (CBSLA.com) — The makers of cardigan sweaters designed for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics discussed the time and effort that went into production.
Eddy and Elizabeth Park told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Bobby Kaple they appreciate that the sweaters, designed by Ralph Lauren, were commissioned to be made in the United States.
“Finally we did ‘Made in the USA.’ I’m really proud of what I did. And all my employees really appreciate that Ralph Lauren gave us the opportunity to make a USA Olympic sweater,” Eddie said.
The Parks, who are Korean immigrants and became U.S. citizens decades ago, own Ball of Cotton knitting factory in Commerce. They were among the more than 40 vendors who helped Ralph Lauren ensure Team USA would only be outfitted in clothing made right here in the States.
It took 50 Ball of Cotton employees about 12 hours to assemble each cardigan, which features colorful stitching representations of the Olympic rings, the American flag, and the year ‘2014’ emblazoned across the midsection.
“It’s not an easy job,” Eddy said. “I want them to look at their sweaters, at what we did, and I think [the public is] going to change their minds.”
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports that the sweaters will fetch nearly $600 at retail stores, but there are those that have criticized the Ralph Lauren design.
“What they have to understand is this is American treasure, American spirit, American culture, very Americana,” Elizabeth said.
The sweaters are among an estimated 65,000 clothing items designed for 650 Team USA athletes expected to attend the Sochi Olympics.
“When I see them on the TV I think I’m going to scream, ‘USA!'” Eddy said, with a smile.