The new Ralph Lauren air-cool jackets aim to keep the Team USA cool at the Tokyo Olympics while fulfilling the company’s commitment to creating pioneering sustainability solutions. The ground-breaking innovation seeks to start a conversation about sustainability with hopes to make sustainable clothing mainstream.
As the Olympics unfold in Tokyo, athletes bear over 35°C/95°F heat in the stadium with over 80% humidity. Ralph Lauren, who has been outfitting team USA for the Olympics since 2008, decided to help athletes this summer with the Ralph Lauren air-cool jackets. It is not the first time the luxury giant has introduced something innovative. Back in 2018, the company designed heated jackets for the Olympics that are now available for everyday wear. And, recently, the company introduced the world’s first zero-waste cotton dyeing system that would use fewer chemicals and water, saving resources while reducing the environmental impact of harmful dyes.
Peter Zeytoonjian, Senior Vice President of Consumer Products at U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties (USOPP) said in an interview: “Ralph Lauren’s dedication to providing innovative, sustainable, and functional outfits for Team USA athletes helps elevate their Games-time experience. As our Olympic and Paralympic athletes step out on the global stage this summer, we’re proud to have the continued support of a brand whose thoughtful approach to how they can better serve our athletes uniquely benefits Team USA.”
The design and technology of Ralph Lauren air-cool jackets
The jackets feature a self-regulating cooling device located at the back of the neck supported by a lightweight battery controller that neatly sits inside the garment. Ralph Lauren air-cool jackets disperse body heat in the same manner as the computer’s cooling device. The device automatically detects the body’s heat and immediately activates a cooling sensation to keep the athletes cool.
The all-white jacket includes the company’s logo on the left and the Olympics insignia on the right. On the back, you can see the device near the neck and a slightly bigger insignia.
David Lauren, the vice-chairman of the company’s board, chief branding and innovation officer commented on the innovation saying: “The jacket is infused with a modern technology that’s ground-breaking and innovation that’s going to change the way we think about sustainability and think about our comfort. It works off of scientific technology and scientific theories that have been in existence for years. Putting it together and fusing it into a garment that was pretty cutting edge and that we’re very proud of what we’ve created.”
The jackets aren’t available to the public and during the Olympics will only be worn by the flag bearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez. The other team members will get the device that they can add to their blazers after the game.
While the air-cool jackets do spark a debate about sustainability, they are not the only items starting that conversation. The team USA’s horizontal blue-white striped t-shirts are dyed with the zero-waste dyeing system. Additionally, the team’s Navy blazers are a product of US-grown wool, while their striped belts have recycled plastic water bottles as the base material. You may also notice a patch on the back of their slim blue denim pants, designed out of plant-based agricultural by-products and materials with no synthetic plastics.
Ralph Lauren air-cool jackets are part of the company’s goal to create advanced personal thermal management that does not harm the environment. Since air-conditioned stadiums can create a stronger carbon footprint, these air-cool jackets or something similar can significantly reduce that harm.
Recently companies like Lululemon and Kering too launched sustainability initiatives that seek to reduce the carbon footprint resulting from fashion manufacturing. With more and more companies joining the sustainability cause, it seems that we are not too far from creating a circular economy.
What sustainable brands did you shop for this year? Let us know in the comment section below.