Stella McCartney Talks Designing Olympic Uniforms

With the opening ceremony for the 2012 summer Olympics just a few days away everyone is gearing up to cheer on their country’s athletes as they compete on the biggest stage  in the world. However in the world of fashion a number of designers

have been hearing nothing but boos when it comes to the uniforms they’ve supplied for their nations. Here at home Ralph Lauren is taking some heat for the fact that his uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team were made in China, but Ralph is getting off light compared to the criticism being leveled at British designer Stella McCartney. If you thought people get mad about changing brand names you should see what happens when you change the color scheme of your country’s flag!

At the heart of the criticism of McCartney’s designs is the fact that she choose to remove the red from the beloved Union Jack (Great Britain’s flag) and use it instead as an accent color on the uniforms. Though it should also be noted that Stella McCartney is the only designer who is responsible not only for designing the athletes ceremonial garb, but the actual gear they will be competing in. A fact that we hear at Promgirl News think should give her some added leeway, but then again we never pledged allegiance to the Union Jack in high school.

In what seems like a move intended to smooth some ruffled British feathers McCartney gave an interview to Financial Times in which she discussed the many challenges she encountered and the substantial effort she put into designing Great Britain’s athletic gear. According to the Times interview McCartney spent two and a half years working on the designs and when the time came for high performance gear the designer went right to the source. By working with the athletes themselves to develop uniforms McCartney was able to put functionality at the forefront of her designs, as she explains:

“Designing for athletes – enabling them to perform at their highest level – was a level of pressure I’ve never felt. You don’t ever want someone to say, ‘My clothes didn’t function perfectly.’ But at the same time, function has two meanings: they have to work at the performance level but they also have to work to make someone feel good psychologically. And then you have a whole country that has their own thoughts about what looks good.”

As far as how negative some of those thoughts were regarding the uniform design McCartney apparently took the negativity in stride saying “It’s not my usual audience.”

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