Monday, March 8, 2010

Ode to Olympic Fashion

Originally posted here in 2008.

Growing up in the 1980’s, there were a few fashion mistakes to be made…OK, a lot. Fortunately, my fashion faux pas’ are kept far away from the public eye. Unfortunately for Olympians, their scores--in fashion are recorded for all to see for years to come.

In 1896, before Ralph Lauren began designing Olympic outfits, athletes had to work with what they had, which wasn’t much. Originally, contestants competed for the Gold, Silver and Bronze—for their respective countries, nude. And although it would make the games, a little more interesting to watch, clothing has now become mandatory.

The United States tend to stick to the basics: red, white and blue. But it was Hungary in this year’s Parade of Nations that took home the Gold for “Hideous.” Not all Olympic outfits look like Elmo vomited on them; some outfits have been more memorable than the competition for the Gold. Like Venus and Serena Williams, who won the Gold in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, looked adorable in their respective outfits, while Mia Hamm kept it sporty in 2004.

Besides Ralph Lauren having his sewing hands in the Olympic Games this year, Adidas happens to be the official sponsor, with Nike biting at their Campus ST’s.

As an official sponsor of the Beijing games, Adidas is outfitting staff, volunteers and officials. Always in competition, Nike is dressing the U.S. track, basketball, and softball and BMX teams and is also providing the U.S. winners with podium wear, while Adidas is doing the same for Chinese winners. Also on the podium, there will also be a nod to Olympic history. U.S. medal winners will don a hooded warm-up jacket Nike modeled after the one worn by athletes at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Ralph Lauren isn’t the only designer having all the fun, Ports 1961 is dressing several NBC commentators, while riding-boot maker Ariat is outfitting the equestrian team.

Although the Olympics have never been specifically about fashion, the competition is getting heated between the designers who are trying to make fashion at the 2008 Summer Olympics a Gold win.

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