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How the Olympics impact on fashion

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, July 23, 2016  /  11:56 am
How the Olympics impact on fashion

An athlete holds the Olympic rings above a view of Two Brothers Mountain and the city skyline, reflected in Lagoa de Freitas Lagoon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (

The Olympics is one of the more noticeable opportunities for fashion labels to design team uniforms as well as opening and closing ceremony ensembles.

The event is a massive operation, worth several billion dollars through sponsorship and broadcasting rights.

“It’s a great platform to elevate your brand,” trend forecasting firm WGSN’s senior editor Veronica Hendry told Fast Company. “You’re on an international stage, one of the only times the international community is together and interacts for a celebratory cause.”

But representing one’s country is no easy feat, as esthetics, tradition and popular expectations have to be carefully balanced. For example, Stella McCartney’s work for the London 2012 Olympic uniforms garnered criticism for its fashion-forward look.

Another example is Speedo’s collaboration with Comme des Garçons for Team USA in 200, which received positive press for making something that Hendry called “technically quite beautiful”. Michael Phelps exclaimed that it felt like he was wearing a spacesuit.

(Read also: Olympic uniforms: Colorful in shades of red, yellow and blue)

An even harder task is making wearable, real-life products for consumers based on Olympic athleisure-wear inspirations. Because only official sponsors are permitted to feature the Olympic logo, those without it usually get partnerships with well-known Olympic athletes or become part of their countries’ national pride.

However, athleisure style is attracting more and more people, which is why even luxury brands have taken to the trend — as seen in the examples of Rihanna for Puma, Nike for Sacai, Yeezy for Adidas or even sweatshirts from luxe labels like Kenzo or Givenchy.

Olympic collections have not been historically popular among fashionistas, but fashion labels expect this year’s marriage of luxury design and athleisure to result in a sales bonanza. “More [fashion] brands are expanding into sport and athleisure-wear, and this is a great way to do it,” said Hendry. (tif/kes)

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