We thought that the uniforms Stella McCartney designed for the British Olympic Team were pretty great, even if others didn’t. In an interview with the Financial Times, McCartney delves into her design process and explains her thoughts about the negative critiques.
While Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani are designing their respective country’s uniforms for the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony (check out the controversial US uniforms here and non-controversial Italian uniforms here), McCartney is the first fashion designer to create the actual competition gear. McCartney has been collaborating with Adidas for several years, so she presumably has a one-up on other designers when it comes to creating activewear.
When she was asked the design all the uniforms for the UK team, she didn’t go to into the archives for inspiration or something of that nature. Instead, McCartney went straight to the athletes for pointers. They told her what kind of uniforms they wanted, and she set out to make functional, practical, and fashionable uniforms. Emphasis on the functionality part, 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.”
McCartney says that the whole process of designing the uniforms took two and a half years to make, which is about 28 months longer than it takes to design a regular collection. The uniforms received mixed reviews when they were unveiled, but McCartney just cooly responds,“It’s not my usual audience.”
And as a refresher, here are the said uniforms:
this is some kind of spaceship or something.