Today Adidas revealed the Stella McCartney-designed Olympic kits for Team GB at the Tower of London. McCartney has been designing stylish athletic wear in collaboration with Adidas since 2004, but this is the first time she’s designed Olympic kits for athletes. After much hoopla this morning, the reviews of her designs have been decidedly mixed.
McCartney explained to the BBC how she incorporated the Union Jack into her designs:
“Something that was very important to me was to try and use that very iconic image but to dismantle it and try to soften it, break it down and make it more fashionable in a sense.
I think that it’s so recognisable that I was able to play around with it a little bit and take it out of its comfort zone. Dismantle it, break it up into different parts and different colour forms and then bring it all back together and bring it back into the flag.”
This dismantling of the flag is what has caused some backlash in the UK. For the design, McCartney took the red out of the traditional Union Jack flag and added turquoise. The red element of the flag was added as an accent on collars and shoes. According to the BBC, the athletes loved the kit and “not one person has complained about it.” But citizens took to Twitter to complain that the flag design was “too blue” and looked more Scottish. Commenters have come out in force on Team GB’s Facebook page to slam the design, too. Here’s one particularly snarky example:
Thanks for posting pictures of the prototypes. I look forward to seeing the actual designs which incorporate the red of our flag into the design. kthnxbai
One sports blogger at the Independent gave a scathing review of the designs. While he did criticize the “healthy dollop of teal” added to the flag, his issue had more to do with the tight-fitting nature of some of the garments, in particular the football shirts. Here’s the problem:
A good football kit is one that an overweight gentleman no longer in the prime of his life can wear in a pub without looking too absurd. The giant figure hugging Union Flag, in the wrong colours, is disconcertingly tight even as it wraps around the stomach of England international Jack Rodwell. Picture, if you dare, that thick navy central band wrapped around the midriff of your average football supporter. But be not afraid. It is a vision you are unlikely to see. They will have to buy it first. They won’t.
So basically he’s concerned that overweight non-athletes will look bad in the uniforms. Which is ridiculous, because the uniforms have to be about performance. McCartney told the BBC:
You have to make the athletes feel like they are in the height of their performance. That they are wearing technical gear that is absolutely going to shave off the tiniest part of a second. Talking to the athletes, something that came across early on was that they want to feel like that are a team and they want to look like that are a team and there is such power in that.
What are your thoughts on McCartney’s Olympic designs?