The Summer Olympic Games in Rio are just a few months away, and several more countries, including the USA, UK, France and Sweden, have unveiled their Opening Ceremony and competition apparel. Each country’s Olympic Committee has selected one of their “own” to collaborate with to design their collection, and chose some of the most well-known names and brands in fashion.
USA: Ralph Lauren returns as a fashion coach for Team USA and “playing it safe” seems to be his latest game day motto. With white shorts, button-down shirts, striped belts and signature Polo logo the looks are true to the designer’s classic aesthetic including the large USA print on the back in the requisite red, white and blue. While firmly within the IOC dress code regulations, for some it’s missing an athletic factor. Beachside mixer ready casual kits appear a bit underwhelming, but on the other hand nothing says All-American as the iconic preppy style.
UK: Stella McCartney in collaboration with Adidas have proved to be a winning style strategy for the UK Olympic Committee. The fashion savvy kits make strong use of the new coat of arms and the traditional Union Jack colors: navy blue leggings, white sweaters, red accents throughout formal and discipline-specific uniforms. McCartney went full force on national branding by including a large GB (Great Britain) embroidered, printed and otherwise plastered all over. The design team solicited feedback and contributions from several athletes to enhance their performance and comfort. The result is not only predictably ergonomic but it’s also remarkably innovative as the new synthetic fabric is 10% lighten than the one used for 2012 London Olympics gear.
Sweden: These days, it seems you can open any wardrobe anywhere in the world and find at least one H&M garment. The Swedish fast fashion retailer outfitted the Olympic and Paralympic teams in bright gold yellow and sleek deep blue uniforms citing the iconic flag color scheme. The striking apparel is expected to draw fan consumers to flagship stores worldwide. Team Sweden will be proudly walking in uniforms largely created with sustainably-produced recyclable fabrics: leggings, windbreakers, sweaters and tees. While it does not say “Sweden” on them, the statement is assuredly patriotic and boldly beautiful.
France: French brand Lacoste was founded by the tennis legend Rene Lacoste which makes its impeccable sports pedigree a natural fit for the Olympics uniform design. The athletes will be wearing white rain resistant ponchos with hoods and zipped pockets on the front, deep blue trench coats and white pants with an ankle cut-off. The signature crocodile emblem stitched in red, white and blue is part of the subtle detailing.