Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fashion Labels to Design Olympic Outfits

As many of us already realized, the worlds of fashion and sports are not as far removed as we might have once believed. In fact, in recent years we have witnessed a definite tendency for collaboration and mutual endorsement between various athletes and labels other than Nike or Adidas, which have long been active players in the race to sponsor, design or license competitive uniforms for a large number of national teams that have competed in recent Olympic events. However, in an age when the endorsement game has reached never-before-seen heights, many fashion brands have shown themselves ready, willing and able to create collections for athletes to wear at events and various other high-profile ceremonies.

An excellent example is the recent announcement that came from the chief operating officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee, who proudly announced that none other than Ralph Lauren will design the official uniforms of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. "Ralph Lauren was a perfect fit for us, as, not only do they present a timeless and quintessentially American look, but they also have a great understanding of the importance of this moment in presenting these American ambassadors on a world stage in a manner that is appropriately dignified," said Norman Bellingham. Ralph Lauren is also the official outfitter of the Wimbledon tennis tournament – which means that the brand's trademark preppy style will soon take the sports world by storm.

Of course, allowing sports stars to look their best goes hand in hand with pocketing a lot of money for it and it is an excellent opportunity for a company to extend its market and go global. Take American sportswear giant Nike: it has secured contracts with 22 of China's 28 sports federations to create outfits for the Chinese athletes competing in this year's Olympic Games. Not only is this a wonderful opportunity to gain massive global exposure, but Nike will also have the chance to boost its sales on the ever-expanding Chinese market, which is already the company’s second largest market after the United States. So, ready or not, we'll soon be welcoming a lot more fashionable athletes into our lives – and the question becomes, is the rest of the world ready for this fashion sports revolution?

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