Jacqui Palumbo, CNN
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing are not yet upon us, but Team USA and Team Canada are already facing off for style points.
Hot off the heels of Team Canada’s six-year Lululemon partnership announcement on Tuesday — which also included the unveiling of the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremony uniforms — Ralph Lauren has released what the American athletes will wear for their closing looks.
Ralph Lauren has reigned over US Olympic styles as the official outfitter since 2008, but athleisure favorite Lululemon is a newcomer to the scene. That dynamic is evident in the outfits, as the American label has taken a classic approach while the Canadian brand has focused on a modular set of styles with Transformer-like features — including a vest that turns into a pillow or scarf.
Team USA will sport red white and blue buffalo plaid puffer jackets, American flag turtlenecks emblematic of Ralph Lauren, and fleece leggings or pants. The big focus is on sustainability, with recycled polyester, recycled down and Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) wool. (A press statement explains that the brand is committed to using 100% RWS-certified or recycled wool by 2025.)
Meanwhile, Team Canada’s all-red and all-cream kits are tech-driven, with textiles that are insulated, sweat-wicking, bacteria-inhibiting, breathable, resistant to water and wind, and light on seams. Hidden pockets abound, and the maple leaf appears as a simple icon as well as an abstracted print. The athletes will wear parkas, down jackets, joggers, trapper caps, bucket hats and zip ups, with plenty of opportunities to modify: the parka can be zipped off into three different lengths, and the down jacket can be worn like a backpack if it gets too hot.
Lululemon’s partnership marks the end of the tenure of Hudson’s Bay, who has designed Canada’s kits since the 2006 Turin Winter Games. The last kit, for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, was a collaboration with Levi’s and played upon the double-denim “Canadian Tuxedo” — to which many internet commenters gave a resounding “no.”
In a press statement, Canadian para-alpine skier Frédérique Turgeon said she believes the world will be ‘obsessed’ with the 2022 kit. “It’s truly so unique, and I think the world is going to be jealous of what we have.”
Top image: Team Canada opening ceremony styles.
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