Thursday, September 28, 2023

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    This Really Is the Fashion Olympics

    There’s a nice sartorial symbiosis playing out at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Fashion has never been more techwear-centric, and the Olympics have never been more capital-F Fashion-minded.

    True to form, Team USA’s brand roster is stacked. There’s Ralph Lauren, the American magnate who’s been officially outfitting the team since 2008, and decked them out during the opening ceremony in patriotic parkas and lace-up boots. There’s the requisite sportswear giant Nike, maker of the coolest Olympic footwear not on the mass market. As with last summer’s games, there’s also official loungewear and undergarments by way of Kim Kardashian’s Skims. Outside of America, Beijing-born designer Feng Chen Wang designed Team China’s icy blue parkas at the opening ceremony, which wouldn’t look out of place on the SSENSE webstore, while their furry red bucket hats were pure TikTok-core. Team Mexico wore Kappa-branded parkas fronted with Día de Muertos skulls; Team Nigeria wore custom looks by Actively Black, a sportswear brand founded by former pro basketball player Lanny Smith.

    Individual athletes are also arriving to the Games with their own fashion partnerships. American snowboarder Shaun White, back for his fifth and final Olympic run, debuted a Louis Vuitton snowboard and matching trunk he designed alongside the brand’s late creative director Virgil Abloh, in collaboration with White’s own Whitespace line. Eighteen-year-old Chinese skier Eileen Gu, competing at the Games for the first time, is also a Vuitton ambassador. And over the weekend, the American snowboarder Julia Marino landed a frontside double cork 1080 riding a Prada board, earning a silver medal while brandishing the brand’s signature cherry-red Linea Rossa logo in midair.

    A little background there: the red stripe logo dates back to Prada’s formerly dormant sportswear line—officially titled Prada Linea Rossa, colloquially known as Prada Sport—that first launched in 1997, petering out by the early 2000s. The brand revived the line in 2018 with a focus on techy performance wear. Makes sense, since Marino and the British-American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy starred in Prada Linea Rossa’s fall 2021 campaign in November and have both sported Prada during the Games so far.

    But Prada also has its sights set on some more… metaphysical slopes. On Tuesday, the brand announced a partnership with the video game company Ubisoft to feature Linea Rossa winter sportswear in its Riders Republic multiplayer game. Even if you personally didn’t make it to the Winter Games, you can still get a fit off.

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