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The GB Olympic Kit


In a bid not to sound overly patriotic, or to turn this blog into a fashion digest – I really do like the GB Olympic kit.
Designed by Stella McCartney, working with the technology and manufacturing capabilities of Adidas – we've managed to create a red, white an blue kit, with the Union Jack detail as the most striking and interesting part.

And it has been none more evident than on the female members of the team. 

Why is it good, you ask?
Well, for starters, we're instantly recognisable. Isn't that one of the holy grails of design across the board, to create a product/logo/packaging that your consumer can easily identify. 
And its, not only the GB spectators who can appreciate it, it also translates well across world. Everyone knows GB's Union Jack. And there are many other nations who can lay claim to the combination of red, white and blue (France, USA, amongst others).

The USA in my mind, has got it wrong this time around. All red, presumably to emphasise 'power' both Olympic and otherwise – is easily confused with the Caribbean nation strips (Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, St Kitts and Nevis), China even. Don’t forget, that when viewing it on screen, when the athletes are hairing round the track at average speeds of 20 miles per hour – you can't see their faces. You have to be able to follow the strip. They do have 'USA' written on their breast plate – yes, but when their bibs are tied on for the races, that is lost. And they also get lost in the mass of red around the stadium, including the running track.

The Russian Kit – I'm not quite sure what the idea was behind that one.

Secondly, there has to be something said about pride in what you're wearing. Everybody knows that you walk a bit taller when you're wearing something that you feel good in. Our athletes have, of course, always been proud to represent our country, but to have the Union Jack beautifully emblazoned across their chest, surely fills them with a deeper sense of pride, which enhances their performance. Could this be why we've had so many medals this time around? We've never seen Andy Murray play so well – his usual attire of white doesn't do it for him, but playing in the Union Jack does.

It's surely enough to inspire our younger generations to want to be the proud owners of another Olympic kit like it too. More of the same please Stella!
Interestingly, the USA haven't exerted a fraction of their usual dominance over these Games. Yes, they're still up their in the medal table, but they are a big country. In past kits, they have made much more of their stars spangled banners. Perhaps, they're lacking a certain motivation.

Thirdly, this is the first time, that the kit has been designed specifically for both it's female and male counterparts. In Olympics gone by – there was a standard kit, made up of basic male elements, and the women chose S/M/L of these – with the emphasis being on comfortability and not suitability. Take a look at the 2008 Olympic kit for example, ill-fitting baggy crop-tops and shorts - which can't be good for aerodynamics, if nothing else. This is not a fashion show after all, right? Wrong – Stella McCartney's 2012 Olympic kit has turned that idea on it's head. And I think from now on, every country will up it's Olympic attire ante.

2012's Olympic kit has been designed with the female athlete contingent in mind, and you can tell. Stella and Adidas have also added pieces to the collection to suit all of the disciplines – also a first. What suits the runners, doesn't necessarily suit the swimmers, and they've finally taken note. Athletes can now choose from a larger range of kit to suit their needs – long or short leggings for warm-up, high-waisted or long pants for runners. And the piece de resistance for the girls - a waterproof jacket with a sinched in waist. Amen. A subtle touch of femininity to set them apart from the boys. Looking at Jessica Ennis on the podium (see image) on Saturday night (apart from the obvious fact that she was on the gold medal spot), her costume played the part also.

(Now, no talk of the white and gold tracksuits that the GB team came out in during the Opening Ceremony. Stella wasn't responsible for it, and I've, frankly, blanked it out of my memory – I'd encourage you to do the same!)

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