Paralympian uniform for London is unveiled
Swimmers Matthew Cowdrey & Annabelle Williams model the Opening Ceremony outfit that will be worn by the Australian Paralympic team.
The moment the words "inspirational package" were uttered at the launch of the Paralympic 2012 kit yesterday, I knew I was a goner. There's simply nothing more emotive than atheletes striving for glory against all adversity and a power ballad that lifts you up to a place that you never thought that you'd reach. So, after a ladylike weep and a general sense of inspiration, 15 of the some 4000 atheletes competing in this year's games modelled the new Olympic kits. Designed by RM Williams and 2XU there was a selection of performance, casual and ceremonial wear. Similar to the Olympic kit, it's gone heavy on the green and gold. More interesting are the opening and closing ceremony outfits designed by RM Williams and replete with check shirts, blazers and jaunty scarves. It's got a very Australian feel, without being too much. Kind of like fancying a boy who wears blundstones.
We asked Jonathon Ward to explain what it feels like to design a uniform to be worn by elite atheletes.
How did RM Williams come on board to design the uniforms?
R.M.Williams were invited to design the Paralympic uniforms after working with the Paralympic Team previously for the Winter Games with much success. The Paralympics recognise that R.M.Williams have the technical expertise in design and production to be able to manufacture uniforms for a very diverse group of athletes with various disabilities. We’re very excited to be working with them again for the 2012 Paralympics.
Was it a collaborative design process?
It was highly collaborative. R.M.Williams worked closely with the Paralympics Board and in consultation with the athletes to ensure the uniforms were not only comfortable and practical, but that they also suited the occasions for which they will be worn; both the opening and closing ceremonies. We wanted to create uniforms that incorporated the green and gold but in a contemporary way. For the opening ceremony uniform there are two different coloured ties for the men – one green and one gold – and the scarf for the women features a modern blue check with a green and gold trim. Both the men and women have a tailored navy jacket and jeans, with the men in the classic R.M.Williams Craftsman boot and the women in a smart leather loafer. The athletes needed to feel proud to wear the uniforms and by all accounts, early feedback indicates that they are very happy with what we’ve created.
How does designing uniforms for Paralympians differ from your regular work? What are the key things that you needed to consider?
The main difference is designing a uniform that suits a range of different athletes with varying disabilities. The uniforms needed various components that all work together, that encompass the green and gold in a contemporary way and that the athletes feel proud to wear.
There must be a sense of pride in designing the uniforms?
Seeing the launch today made me feel proud to be Australian. The athletes looked fabulous ... and it’s going to be incredible to see the whole team at the opening ceremony in August. 2012 is R.M.Williams 80th anniversary year, so it’s fitting for the company to be working with the Paralympics, an inspirational Australian sporting team.