Style Makes The World Go ‘Round: Fashion At the 2018 Winter Olympics

The 2018 Winter Olympics are almost upon us! This year they will be held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang. While the most impressive part of the Olympics is undoubtedly the impressive athletic talent, you can’t help but be dazzled by the out-of-this-world fashion exhibited at the contests. From high-end designers to popular athletic companies, this year’s Olympics will have it all. Here are all the amazing fashions of the Olympic uniforms from around the world.

One designer featured here was almost an Olympian herself.

An American Staple: Ralph Lauren

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Team USA enlisted the help of an American icon, designer Ralph Lauren. He went all out for the Olympic Opening Ceremony uniforms. One interesting feature of this year’s outfits is they are installed with heating components (inside the jackets and gloves) that can be controlled by the athlete’s smartphone. U.S. Olympic Committee chief marketing officer Lisa Baird said of the innovative designs, “Ralph Lauren has effortlessly woven style and functionality into the opening ceremony uniform for the 2018 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. The revolutionary design will keep American athletes warm as they proudly walk through the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.”

Simon Jersey’s Amazing Suits For Team GB

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For the 2018 Olympics, Simon Jersey was chosen to design the Team Great Britain contemporary formal wear. The first event these will be worn at is a reception when the athletes first arrive in PyeongChang, South Korea. One of the Freestyle coaches, Tom Wilburn, even tested out the suit while snowboarding as they are actually built to withstand athletics. The suits are water resistant and also have a “responsive” waistband. Simon Jersey managing director, James Saunders said, “It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of Team GB’s journey as they aim to continue their winning streak. Looking and feeling good is all part of creating a successful mindset and we’re thrilled to continue as the team’s formalwear supplier going into the Games.”

Nike’s Most Patriotic Designs

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Designers faced another battle for this year’s Olympics. All of the medal ceremonies will be held in open-air arenas and PyeongChang is expected to have below freezing temperatures. For Team USA Hockey, Nike was willing to tackle the problem. Nike’s designs specifically focus on making sure the athletes will remain comfortable in the elements while enjoying the time of their lives. First, the athletes will be decked out in Nike’s Summit Jacket System which is made with a lightweight GORE-TEX® waterproof shell that will serve to block any harsh elements. There are also attached hand warmers to provide a little bit more comfort. To finish it off is the Team USA flag and a toggle which is actually in the shape of a small eagle head.

Nike Went All Out For Team USA!

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The medal ceremony uniform includes pants made with DWR coating that aims to protect from any harsh weather. They also feature a waist cinch and ankle zip that allows athletes to get their perfect fit. To keep their feet warm, Team USA athletes will be outfitted in the NSW Gaiter Boot which is meant to withstand the cold. It also has a very interesting lace-free closure system. And lastly, when athletes take to the medal stand, they will be wearing Nike-designed gloves that use Nike AeroShield technology. The technology is waterproof and also has insulation for warmth. To top it all off, Nike also made the thumb and forefinger of the gloves to be touch-screen compatible, which is definitely an important feature in this day and age!

The French Classic

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Team France went with the classy designs of Lacoste for the Opening Ceremonies. The French athletes will wear a navy-blue tracksuit with a matching parka, complete with hints of white and red to match their flag. This is the third Olympics that Lacoste was chosen as the designer. Medal winners’ uniforms are white with hints of red and navy blue. Of course, Lacoste came up with a way to include their trademark crocodile, however, this time it is outfitted in red, white and blue. Needless to say, the French will look pretty snazzy at the Olympics.

Coming up: some truly out-of-this-world design inspiration.

One Famous Designer Is A Former Figure Skater

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High fashion designer Vera Wang has also gotten into the Olympic designing spirit. Apparently, Vera herself was a former figure skater! After she failed to make the United States Olympic team years ago, she went school in Paris to instead pursue a career in fashion. Since then, Vera has combined a love for both of her passions: figure skating and fashion. She has designed various skating costumes over the years. For instance, she designed Nancy Kerrigan’s 1994 costume. Nancy won the silver medal that year. This year, Vera designed the costume for Nathan Chen, an 18-year-old figure skater from Utah. Vera said of her newest muse, “It is both an honor and a privilege that I will be dressing the 2017 US Men’s Figure Skating Champion and Grand Prix winner for the 2018 Olympic season. Nathan embodies all the values we have come to respect: hard work, dedication, passion and accomplishment! We wish him all the very best.”

Canada’s Maple Leaf Style

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Canada also went the patriotic route for their Olympic ceremony designs with red, white, and black laden clothing. One Olympian, ski jumper Taylor Henrich, discussed the important symbolism of the uniform. “Everybody puts on that one jacket before the opening ceremonies, I think that’s when it all becomes real.” One item of clothing is the parka, which reaches to mid-thigh and also has “Canada” written across the chest in white. Adorning the back is Canada’s trademark Maple Leaf, also in white. For their designs, The Hudson Bay Company was responsible for the patriotic Canadian designs. The president of the company said, “We really looked to capture what we believe is the iconic Canadian winter style.” We think they certainly pulled it off!

Boarding Into Style

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For the U.S. snowboarding team’s design, Burton Snowboards took the helm. The company was inspired by both the retro and the futuristic, which seems like a contradiction. However, it turns out they were actually inspired by the space program of the 1960s and 1970s. Burton Snowboards is based in Burlington, Vermont, and revealed their out-of-this-world design in early November. The competition suits (pants and a jacket) have an iridescent silver sheen to them and are embroidered on the left sleeve with the American flag in the “Space Age,” which is reminiscent of the NASA logo. The rest of the uniform includes an underlayer of navy blue Polartec fleece jackets and pants. There’s also another lightweight quilted jacket and wool layer pieces that are orange in color, again reminiscent of astronaut gear. Some other snowboarder accessories include white leather mitts, gloves with USA patches and a long-sleeved T-shirt.

Italian Fashion Is Always On Point

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If Italy is known for anything, it’s that the beautiful country is the fashion capital of the world. For the 2018 Winter Olympics, both the Italian Olympic and Paralympic teams are wearing uniforms designed by none other than the high fashion line Emporio Armani. This is the fourth Olympics that the label will be designing for the country they call home. Armani has designed sportswear that the Olympians will be able to wear on both their own time and for official events while they are in South Korea. The uniforms are midnight blue and also feature details in the colors of the Italian flag. Some of the pieces include a tracksuit, a down coat, polos, T-shirts, sweaters, and accessories needed for warmth. These include gloves, hats, and scarves. Another interesting hidden detail is that inside the collars of the polo shirts is the first verse of the national anthem emblazoned in gold script.

Individuality Comes First In Freestyle

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The U.S. freeskiing team went with designs from the Northface, which is a popular company for Olympic athletes. This is the second winter Olympics they have created uniforms for the team. When the new outfits were unveiled, Northface had several Sochi medalist as well as X-Games champion Aaron Blunk on hand. Aaron said of skier fashion, “Skiers are more into [wearing] just one tone. So my input was just a more simple version of everything.” The uniform also includes lots of options for the athletes, including vests, hoodies, T-shirts, overalls, and of course the standard jacket and snow pant. Many of the athletes were pleased to have so many options as they felt it allowed them to showcase their individuality while still looking like members of a team.

Australia’s Dapper Duds

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The Australian Olympic Team’s formal and reception outfits are quite a sight to behold. The company responsible for the dapper duds is the Total Image Group and it is their first time designing for Team Australia. Total Image said that in order to craft the look they were going for they considered the team’s image as well as the climate they will be active in. The outfits are well-tailored and meant to “represent Australian culture.” The suits are a dark navy textured fabric made out of 100% Australian merino wool. They are accessorized with brass buttons which feature the Olympic logo. Another interesting detail, and apparently an Australian tradition, is that inside the suit jacket lining is printed all of the names of Olympians from years past. Other components of the outfits include a checkered shirt and a taupe chino pant to give the Australians a decidedly preppy look!

Russia’s Fashion Debate

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Russia has been a hot topic lately, from American politics to the doping scandal and subsequent banning in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Luckily for the athletes, the International Olympic Committee decided to allow individual athletes to compete on a case-by-case basis. Needless to say, Russia still went all out for their Olympian fashion. Their uniforms were designed by the company ZA Sport. They included colors of the flag including red, white, and blue with the addition of tan. Some of the pieces include knits, scarves and coats. In years past, a lot of fur was involved. But this year they seem to be taking a more subdued approach — perhaps in response to the constant scandal that has plagued the nation recently.

Belarus’ Superstitious Designs

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Belarus waited for a while to make a final selection on their 2018 Winter Olympic outfits, and the big decision was given to none other than President Alexander Lukashenko. In the end, designer Lyudmila Labkova won the bid with her delightful designs. As with most other countries’ designers, she stuck with an understated color palette. The major color is a light grey, detailed with the color red. Lyudmila described the meaning behind some of the design choices, saying, “Gray color is the closest to Belarusians, it’s the color of winter… I took an ornament that symbolizes the mother and added elements that symbolize luck, success and yield. Ornaments in Belarusian culture have a very clear meaning and in this case I would like to apply the amulets and ornaments that will bring luck to our Olympic team.”

South Korea’s Time To Shine

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South Korea is in the spotlight as their country is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The athletes will be wearing designs made by the company Northface. Inside the jacket linings, the national anthem is printed in small letters. The pants are black and the rest of the suit includes details of red and blue. Additionally, the uniform will include a thick goose down jacket to keep the athletes warm and comfortable as the opening and closing ceremonies will both be in an open-air stadium. Amazingly, North Korean athletes will also be allowed to compete in this year’s Winter Olympics although there is no news on what their outfits might look like.

Peak Performance For Brazil!

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It is a really big deal for every designer and clothing company chosen to design Olympians’ uniforms, sportswear, and even formal wear. Olympians are outfitted to represent their home country. Peak Sport designed this year’s uniforms for Team Brazil. The Brazilian uniforms are the colors of the country’s flag: green, yellow and blue. The clothes are also outfitted with something called PEAK-TEC-CONCEPT, which includes a variety of factors for improving comfort in trying climates. These features include thermal insulation, water protection, and wind protection. COB (Brazil Olympic Committee) executive sports director Agberto Guimarães spoke about the uniform design, saying “[w]ith Peak we will have an opportunity to develop more specific uniforms for [our] athletes. Production will be customized according to the needs of our athletes and each discipline.”

Poland’s Plans For The Cold

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Poland was all about withstanding the harsh weather conditions in South Korea. According to the Polish Olympic Committee’s Secretary General Adam Krzesiński, this was at the forefront of their minds when they chose the company 4F to design their uniforms. Adam said the clothing will be able to “fully protect our sportspeople from Korea’s weather conditions”. Designer Ranita Sobańska directed the designs, working for over two years to bring them to fruition. The outfits feature colors of the flag and the interesting addition of geometric shapes. 4F had this to say about their dressing of the country’s Olympians: “Polish sportspeople are our best ambassadors.”

Simidele Adeagbo Is Wearing Nike

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Simidele Adeagbo is a Nigerian athlete who also makes a home in Toronto, Canada. She competes in the sport of skeleton sledding. She previously competed in track and field in the sport of triple jump. She became inspired to participate in skeleton after hearing the story of the first Nigerian women’s bobsled team. Several months later, there was an opportunity to participate in the Winter Olympics. Soon Adeagbo participated in the tryouts and performed very well due to her extensive background in track. She reached out to Tobie Hatfield, the senior director of Nike, to help her with her clothing and, more importantly, her shoes. Simidele says, “Footwear is a really, really important component of the sport, because in skeleton you use your feet to steer the sled.” Hatfield ended up designing a shoe for her that not only is aerodynamic but will also keep her warm and dry in the South Korean cold.

Understated Lithuania

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Lithuanian Olympians will be wearing clothing by the company Audimas. According to the President of the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee, Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, the line “was intended to be unique, and the whole world would speak about clothing”. The company created its designs with Lithuanian history in mind and with the intent that the athletes will be able to participate in their respective events to the best of their abilities. The outfits include multiple shades of gray as well as small embellishments showcasing the color of the flag. Some of the pieces include parkas, beanies, sweaters, and grey gloves.

German Excellence With Adidas

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Many people were waiting to see which designer or company Germany would go with, and they did not disappoint. For the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, Germany decided to go with sportswear king Adidas. Adidas designed an array of clothing options including the Opening Ceremony uniforms, podium kit, and training gear. The motto of the line is “Our Team, The Look”. The uniforms include a badge with “Team Deutschland” made of leather on the front of the jacket. Adidas also sought to utilize an “urban street style”. The uniforms were made to ensure that the “athletes are equipped with the optimal clothing before, during and after the competition”. Athletes will also be outfitted in the Adidas Terrex shoe and the Supernova GTX trainers.

Finland Is Inspired By Nature

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The Finnish people might be used to the cold weather, but that doesn’t mean they go easy on the protective clothing. Finland depended on the Luhta Sportswear Company and their Icepeak brand to create their clothing collection for their Olympians. They purport that the collection has the qualities of positivity and self-confidence to help ensure their athletes’ success in PyeongChang. Icepeak is a Finnish brand and some of the pieces include uniforms, free-time outfits, training outfits, and performance-only clothing. The collection was inspired by the Northern Lights and the color of kelo wood, which is a silver grey, in order to represent Finnish heritage. In addition, the colors blue and white were also added to the mix. Brand director Panu Suominen said, “The strength of our collection lies in the fact that the products are internationally unique. The elements that inspired the collection are truly Finnish concepts that others don’t have…The clothes need to be easily adaptable to different weather conditions.” Not only is it functional but also quite eye-catching!