February 2, 2010

A Gold Medal in Fashion

After a previous attempt in Beijing made team USA look like some kind of bizarre flight squad, Ralph Lauren has unveiled its its 2010 Winter Olympics collection. This time, they have succeeded in creating a dignified, stylish look.

The selection of an actual fashion designer, instead of an athletic clothing manufacturer like Reebok or Nike, has yielded a dashing result. The concept is rooted in actual fashion style, as opposed to slapping some glitzy, annoying graphic patterns on standard, run-of-the-mill athletic apparel. In true Ralph Lauren style, these uniforms are conservative and clean. Lauren's understated combo makes use of striping along the jackets as a subtle hint to the sports vernacular. Rather than try to do too much with the apparel, he has made use of solid colors of the US flag, accented with a detailed winter cap to top off each outfit. While they may come across as elitest, don't we want to project our athletes as nothing but the best on the world stage? Don't we want our athletes to feel like they are the best?

The one obvious criticism that everyone will make is the Polo logo on the front of the jackets, which seems to outsize even the USA Olympic emblem on the opposite breast. While it is unnecessary, it is excusable because the rest of the uniform is so impeccable.

The accompanying marketing campaign displays the uniforms in a style that immediately brings to mind art deco travel posters of the 30's. The athlete appears to be conquering all by planting the USA Olympics flag.

Perhaps the best thing about these outfits is that by doing less, they actually do more. The athletes will be able to keep the uniforms and wear them in future situations outside the actual games without looking like a clown. Also, the general public can buy the uniforms by the piece and incorporate them into their everyday fashion. If only we all had $425 to drop on a sweater to show our patriotic olympic spirit.

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