NC Fast Facts: High Point employer Ralph Lauren goes basic blue for Team USA

Daryl Homer, a U.S. Olympic athlete in fencing, models the Team USA Paris Olympics opening ceremony uniform at Ralph Lauren headquarters on Monday in New York. (Charles Sykes / Invision via AP)

NEW YORK — When Team USA walks with the world’s athletes at the Paris Olympics’ opening ceremony, they’ll do so in snappy, tailored navy blazers from Ralph Lauren — and blue jeans.

Ralph Lauren Corp. is High Point’s largest employer, employing more than 2,600 full-time employees. The company on Tuesday unveiled its ninth turn creating Olympic parade looks for the Americans. Ralph Lauren is billing the pairing as “unexpected” yet classic.


David Lauren, the company’s chief branding and innovation officer and its founder’s son, was unbothered by the casualness of blue denim.

“We work very closely with Team USA to make the athletes feel at once dressed up, feel like a team, but at the same time comfortable and very distinctively American,” he told The Associated Press on Monday during a media preview at the company’s posh New York headquarters.

“Nothing says America like blue jeans, especially when we’re in Paris,” Lauren added. “And it gives the athletes a chance to feel a sense of a culture but also feel like themselves and what is natural.”

The single-breasted wool blazers have red-and-white tipping and are worn with a blue-and-white striped Oxford shirt and cream suede buck lace-up shoes. Oh, and there are blue neckties.

For the closing ceremony, the team will wear sharp white, moto-style denim jeans with matching jackets designed in, yes, patriotic red, white and blue.

The company gathered a few Paris-bound athletes to show off the parade uniforms for the Summer Games that begin next month.

Daniela Moroz, 23, is competing in sailing at her first Olympics. She loved the racing details of the closing look she modeled, down to the shoes. The zip jackets have “USA” splashed across the front in huge letters, with “Team USA” in blue high on the outside seam of one pant leg. Team caps are duck bill: The visor is in white, with red and blue details.

“I’m a racer on the water, so that speaks to me,” said Moroz, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, of the moto touches. “It’s super comfortable.”

The company also designed Team USA gear, which will be available for sale starting Tuesday at, and company stores in the U.S. and France. Among the wares on offer are 100% recycled cotton polo shirts. David Lauren said it’s the first time Ralph Lauren has achieved that level of sustainability in Olympic gear.

Some retail sales proceeds support U.S. athletes training for their Olympic moments.

The opening and closing ceremony uniforms, the same for the Olympics and subsequent Paralympics, were made in the U.S., and the gear on sale to the public was made in the U.S. and other countries.

Jamal Hill, a Paralympic swimmer who earned a bronze medal in Tokyo, is returning to compete in Paris at age 29. He thinks the uniforms will resonate with millennials and Gen Z. “They have a nice unique modern flair,” said Hill, who grew up in Los Angeles.