Team Canada: Made in China
For the 2006 Winter Olympics the Canadian Olympic Committee decided to switch from Roots as the official apparel supplier to HBC. Unfortunately fashion, quality, patrionism and the environment had nothing to do with the switch.
The new look is not quite The Bay. It’s more Zellers. But, that’s just my opinion. And his. And hers:
I don’t think the HBC line is quite as stylish and translatable to basic streetwear as the Roots collection for the U.S team is. I’m not really sure why the committee decided to switch outfitters (what’s that saying, if it ain’t broke?) though I don’t think it’s necessarily ill-considered. It is nice from a historical perspective to have Canada’s oldest company outfitting our Olympic team like they have in the past (from 1938-1968). It’s too bad they didn’t incorporate all that retro-cred into the current designs!
Via Leah Rumack on the CBC Roundtable: Canadians on the Olympic catwalk.
But, let’s not be so harsh. They are Canada’s largest retailer (that is soon-to-be American owned).
My complaint on quality is admittedly based on a minimum of evidence. But, if you look at the photo you will see my 12-month old sons HBC Team Canada long sleeve t-shirt. Unfortunately, it is now Team Canad, as the last rubber letter-A fell off after 2 washes. Luckily, I grabbed the offending A before my son put it in his mouth. (It’s not quite visible in the photo, but the letter-C is also at its end.)
How could Canadian workers make such poor quality? Oh, I know how. This Team Canada shirt was not actually made in Canada. Why would you do that when you can get it made overseas in China? (Hopefully the sarcasm wasn’t lost on you.)
Well, that’s exactly what HBC has done for its consumer wear. Apparently, the stuff the athletes are wearing was made in Canada. Note that Roots gear is all made in Canada, which seems to make sense. Especially when supporting Canada in the Olympics!
Greenthinkers isn’t a fashion blog, so this is where the environment comes in. As far as I understand things, it does not make a lot of sense, pollution-wise, to make millions of articles of clothing on the other side of the world, stamp the Canada brand on it and ship it to the 500+ HBC stores across Canada.
Carbon Neutral tells us that:
One single shorthaul flight produces roughly the same amount of the global warming gas as 3 months worth of driving a 1.4 litre car.
Just how much carbon dioxide was used to make your Olympic shirt? About as much as that imported fruit you’re eating!
The Canadian Olympic Committee says:
The clothing line is described as ‘Bringing Canada, the Olympics and Hbc heritage together in a modern way – legacy mixed with technology.’
To bad they forgot to make the items in Canada.