Olympics A Chance For Designers To Show Off Functional Yet Patriotic Designs
The Olympics are a "16-day fashion show," as companies "vie for the right to design and manufacture clothes, both functional and aspirational, then spend months promoting their creations through choreographed unveilings, hoping to outdo their sartorial rivals," according to John Branch of the N.Y. TIMES. The "biggest fashion runway" during the Sochi Games will be Friday’s Opening Ceremony, where Team USA "will march in heavy cardigans festooned in bold patchwork and iconography, which one fashion pundit compared to wearing Times Square." Why would companies "devote untold hours, effort and money to imagining, creating and making mostly small batches of high-tech uniforms with tiny logos that will not be sold to the public?" Columbia Sportswear Senior Global Brand Dir Jeff Timmins said, "It’s definitely a more broad brand play than it is a moneymaking play." USOC Managing Dir of Consumer Products & Events Peter Zeytoonjian: "It builds buzz, it’s marketing, it creates fan engagement." Branch notes the "design of the uniforms and the deals struck with the manufacturers are left to the national governing bodies for each sport." Uniform designs "must be different from one Winter Olympics to another ... but there are no hard rules about palettes." Countries are “encouraged” to use their national colors, but "even with Olympic uniforms, they want to surprise" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7). Meanwhile, in Denver, Suzanne Brown notes the U.S. snowboard team in Sochi will "wear another homage to America in Burton's patchwork quilt-inspired jacket." Less "overt than Ralph Lauren's take on the theme, the Burton coat has a kind of faded cool that ought to resonate with youth" (DENVER POST, 2/7).