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The UK has gone Olympic crazy. Companies and their rather un-Olympic products are plastered all over television adverts, with babies in nappies recreating the triathlon and menstruating women hurdling over mother nature. Unsurprisingly, the fashion world has already jumped on the bandwagon.
Of course, the Team GB Olympic kit was designed by Stella McCartney and created by Adidas. Sportswear, when doing sports, makes sense. The McCartney kit serves a purpose: it’s designed for the athletes that will be representing the country. But what can be said about the many other designers who have also turned their creative eye to the biggest event of 2012, creating an Olympic theme for their summer collections, most of which won’t be seen anywhere near the stadium? For example, there is the latest line by Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld, Team Karl, which was launched at Selfridges on 24 July. You can’t really blame the fashion power houses for profiting from the Olympics—think of the fast food companies cashing in as official sponsors—but can sportswear ever be a trend suitable for the non-athlete?
Personally, the idea of “sportswear chic” bestows on me only fear and slight nausea. The last time I wore lycra was eleven years ago at a swimming lesson, and I can only assume that a khaki lycra suit (honestly, look at the new Adidas Originals X Opening Ceremony collection) would be less than flattering, a bit like wearing one of those dreadful mud in cling film-type body wraps in public. Yes, we’re all very excited about the Olympics, but are spandex playsuits really necessary? Of course, you could always don the official clothing for London 2012: a nice fleece, a t-shirt, or a cap, all branded with the Olympic logo; however, it’s nearly as expensive as the designer attempts, though lacking their status. It may be perfect for sweeping the kitchen (curling), running for the bus (the 100 metres) and Boris biking (track cycling).