Cameras flashed and fans were thrown into a tizzy as team after team of world-class athletes entered the arena during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Not only was this elite bunch there to represent the finest that the world of sport had to offer but they were also among some of the best-dressed and most expensively dressed athletes ever seen. With A-list designers providing everything from swim trunks and body suits to equestrian and sailing gear, Olympic style was at the forefront of the ceremony and not to be overlooked.
For an athletic wear designer, the most prestigious opportunity comes every four years with the return of the Olympic games. With an international stage and a group of the world’s top athletes upon whom they can parade their work, the Olympics is the most coveted of all forums for high end fashion designers. Creating an Olympic worthy look for a team of elite athletes is not only an honor but also a marketing and PR dream. It’s like the Oscars, but for athletes. High profile people not only populate the floor, but the stands as well.
This year the Olympics saw designers like Ralph Lauren take the fashion stage. And though there was a hullabaloo early on with regard to the fact that Lauren used Chinese manufacturers to produce team USA’s uniforms, the fact remains that the quintessentially preppy designer provided a classic look and feel worth talking about. Stella McCartney worked signed on with Adidas to provide looks both on and off the floor with athletic gear and casual wear for team Britain. And worth the mention of course are the Italians who donned Prada and Armani.
And outside the arena in London, in an effort to allow non-ticket holders and the less athletically inclined folk in on the action, themed stores galore popped up in the name of Olympic spirit. H&M opened two sporting-inspired stores in the Westfield Center, Stratford and in Covenant Garden while Karl Lagerfeld debuted his Olympic inspired collection at Selfridges. Other participants included Opening Ceremony, Channel and Victoria’s Secret.
It seems that gone are the days when athletic gear was just about functional, sturdy sweats and a track jacket. Now, branding is just as important as functionality. Designer workout clothing is a big deal in the fashion industry and plenty of people are game to hop on board the train and pay top dollar for a high-end logo. But, if you’re serious about your athletic gear, but can’t afford Armani or Prada, don’t fret. It is possible to look good in your work out clothes while not draining the bank account. There are many other clothing companies out there that can provide quality goods at an affordable price. For example, American apparel is a tried and true brand that offers an affordable and socially conscious way to outfit any team. And British designer Clifton Clothing offers made-to-order, high-quality athletic gear, leisurewear and bespoke accessories. Clifton custom hoodies, track jackets, jumpers, tee-shirts and shorts are made what ever way you want from design concept to front-door delivery.