When fashion interferes with the Olympics, what do you get? Bonkersness

Tom Peck
Jack Rodwell Football 225x300 When fashion interferes with the Olympics, what do you get? Bonkersness

Jack Rodwell models the TeamGB football shirt

The most consistent criticism of the fashion industry is its complete detachment from the rest of the universe. One only needs to type the word “fashion” into google images to bring forth a tsunami of bonkersness.

And so, amidst a PR explosion of truly Olympian proportion at the Tower of London, Stella McCartney has launched the eagerly anticipated TeamGB Olympic kits. From weightlifting to beach volleyball to canoe slalom, the thinking that unites them is a recasting of the Union Flag, in blue, blue and blue. White is occasionally whispered. Red is more or less right out.

“Something that was very important to me was to try and use that very iconic image, of the union flag, but to dismantle it,” she says, her voice beamed from a pod orbiting the earth that has never touched down, even to refuel.

What were the reactions on people’s faces one wonders, as Stella told them:  “I’m going to dismantle the Union Flag”?

A cursory glance through the government’s epetitions website reveals every imaginable oddity going. Yet peculiarly absent is a call on the government to recast the national banner with a healthy dollop of teal.

The TeamGB members parading around the Tower in their new gear, all breathlessly love it, however, if their Twitter feeds are to be believed.

But other TeamGBers not involved at the Tower today are more circumspect. Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, for example, who tweeted: “Oh Dear, The Olympic kit!!”.

The cycling outfits, like the basketball, have had just the top right quarter of the blue on blue Union Flag thrust upon them, to the presumed delight of Norwich based insurers Aviva, to whose logo it bears an uncanny resemblance.

The profits from sales of these kits are a small but significant part of the London 2012 budget. Undoubtedly the most eagerly anticipated of all was the Great Britain football kit. Our entry into the Olympic football tournament as a united nation is a one off, and so, therefore, is the shirt. As a former weekend leader of the football shirt section at First Sport, Lakeside, I speak with some expertise on this matter.

Since Nike bought Umbro, sales of the England kit have soared, as their simple classic shirts have made one truth abundantly clear. 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.

Enter McCartney. For the honour of worst kit in history, only the Athletic Bilbao away shirt of a few years ago runs it close.

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 (pictured). Picture, if you dare, that thick navy central band stretched across 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.

“When I talked to the athletes I asked them: ‘Do you feel different when you look good, do you think it enhances your performance?’” Ms McCartney elaborated. “And they all said ‘yes, when I feel like I look good then I perform better.’

Given the microscopic margins that will separate glory from inconsequence this summer, this is most unfortunate news.

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  • Kelvin David Curtis

    put my comment up from yesterday.

  • dreamerman

    I think that much of the Olympics is a bit depressing, especially in terms of aesthetics – but these designs are great! Not too gaudy but still powerful shapes and colours.  And as for the flag inspiration, well flags SHOULD be deconstructed!  It’s unhealthy to be too obsessed with them.  Nice to see someone doing something a bit creative with that without positively ejaculating patriotism all over them!  

  • Ron White

    Fit athletes in their prime, such as Jack Rodwell, will look great in more or less anything, including the McCartneynkit. Unfit men past their prime don’t look good in more or less anything. If her brief had been to design for the latter market, she wouldn’t have produced garments that are wearable only by athletes. Given the low level of design so far exhibited by Olympic stuff (cf the logo), McCartney’s contribution is entirely appropriate.

  • Luna Love

    wow he’s hot

  • ineluctable2u

    I think I must have seen them in an old Ealing comedy with John Mills? Anyway, I enjoyed your comment : that the funny midriff ‘patch-as-deconstructed-flag’ looks like a street trader’s money pouch.  Hee hee. They’re BAD. Thanks for your response! 

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