Style crimes – Great Britain’s Olympic kit

The Olympics is about many things valuing respect, frindship and excellence. They are also an exercise in shameless flag-waving nationalism. As part of the coundown, today’s marketing hype concerns the launch of the Great Britain team Olympic kit designed by Stella McCartney.

Chris Hoy wearing Stella McCartney designed GB team kit

There’s one word to describe the design: disappointing. Brad Wiggins tweeted “oh dear” which is my feeling too. It’s such a shame since the current red and blue GB cycling strip is a classic piece of design. It’s asymetric design echos the red and blue sprinting and stayers lines on the track and conveniently happen to be two of the Union Flag’s colours. It’s one of the few strips that looks better when the cyclist is on the bike than off it.

Design classic - the GB cycling strip image from

Apparently, Stella spoke to track legend Sir Chris Hoy about his requirements. Aside from having to squeeze a pair of thighs the diameter of oil drums into his his shorts, his only other request was “I just want to look cool”. Judging by the picture, at least his kit fits him.

The athletes look for any advantage over their competitors. “Marginal gains” is how Dave Brailsford, Performance Director of the GB Cycling team describes this approach. I’m sure that the construction and material of the clothing will be to the highest standards. Unlike the design. The navy blue with its “dismantled” flag is hardly likely to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. I bet the US team aren’t going to miss out the stars and just have red and white stripes. Or will the Canadians forget the maple leaf “‘cos it’s been so over used at previous Olympics”.

Like Stella said, she wanted to “go out of the comfort zone”, perhaps she’d been talking to the London 2012 logo designers? But wait, perhaps Stella’s not so daft. Perhaps this is a cunning plan to make our athletes with their “dismantled”, “softened” and reconstructed flag feel like underdogs? And we do love an underdog.


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