Like all Olympics, the Beijing 2022 Winter Games are as much about fashion as it is about sports. The participating teams are dressed in some of the most technologically advanced and stylish outfits to make the best impression, whether during play or at ceremonies.
Around 2,880 athletes from 91 delegations will be present in Beijing from 4 to 20 February 2022 for the Winter Olympics. The mega sporting event will be followed by the Paralympics from 4 to 13 March 2022.
The 2022 Winter Games will have 15 disciplines and 109 events. The disciplines are part of seven sports — biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing.
Competitors will be participating in their respective events hosted at 13 venues in Beijing, Zhangjiakou and Yanqing.
Official team outfits
The official uniforms of all teams are connected to their respective nation’s flags, traditions and culture. However, they may also doff a hat to the host city — Beijing.
The outfits are designed to protect the athletes from cold weather, which might tilt towards the extreme at the 2022 Winter Olympics. At the same time, the top fashion labels creating these uniforms assure the clothes can be worn even when the temperature is not too cold.
So, who is wearing what at the spectacular event?
Sportscraft has designed the official Winter Olympics uniforms of the Australian team members. The Australian brand is also the supplier of the uniforms, which will be worn during and after the Games at the team and Olympic ceremonies.
The uniform features a dark-green wool-blend coat. On the inside lining of the coat are the names of all 265 Australian Winter Olympians, starting with Kenneth Kennedy, who was the first to represent the country when it debuted in the 1936 Games.
The buttons bear the Australian Olympic crest. Volley, an Australian footwear brand, is the official shoe designer for athletes.
Russian Olympic Committee
In 2019, Russia was barred by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from competing as a country because of the doping scandal that surfaced in 2016. The ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2020, though the term was reduced to two years from four.
As such, Russian players compete as members of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). This is why their official uniform does not bear the nation’s flag or logo. Thus, the Beijing Olympics outfits in 2022 for Russian athletes have ROC’s symbol of the three flames in red, white and blue over the Olympic rings.
Since 2017, Russian Olympians have been wearing clothes designed and created by Zasport. At the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, they’ll be seen donning a wide range of clothes and accessories, including T-shirts, hoodies, tracksuits, bum bags, jackets, and full-face ski masks. Though the main colours of the uniforms are red, white and blue, cyan and its shades are present in almost all styles.
The United States of America (USA)
Ralph Lauren is the principal official outfitter of the US Winter Olympics team. As such, Team USA athletes will be seen wearing hooded anoraks, beanies and gloves at the opening ceremony crafted by the fashion house, with boots in red and white colourways to complete the look.
For Team USA’s opening ceremony appearance, Ralph Lauren uniforms have navy blue as the dominant colour for the outfits for women and white for the men.
The US national flag and the words “USA” are emblazoned on the jackets. The US Olympic logo is present on the jackets, beanies, gloves, pants and leggings. All clothing items include polyester fibre made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles.
The most interesting feature of the jacket is its Intelligent Insulation technology, which is battery or wired tech that expands or contracts the fabric with temperature change. This allows the wearer to extend the use of the anorak.
For the closing ceremony, the athletes will wear Ralph Lauren lumberjack-style down jackets over turtleneck sweaters.
Individual US teams participating in the Winter Olympics also have other clothing brands as official outfit creators, adding more variety to the Team USA collection.
The US Alpine Ski Team will be dressed in clothing designed by Spyder — the official partner of the team since 1989. The new design, which is a work of Eric Haze, sports the star symbol on the hood of the team’s jacket. Gore-Tex fabrics, Primaloft ECO insulation and YKK zippers are part of the outwear.
The curling team will be dressed in Columbia Sportswear. The jersey of the athletes is made of stretch fabrics. Their jackets have Omni-Heat insulation technology and the design incorporates elements of curling, with four wide stripes, representing the four members who compete. It also features swoops that signify the movement of the stone on ice.
The US Snowboard Team’s outfit is made by Volcom and carries the brand’s famous collage print prominently on the jacket.
Nike is the official partner for podium outfits. American athletes who win medals will, therefore, be dressed in light-blue hooded jackets and darker blue shade tracksuit bottoms. The famous Nike Swoosh features on the right chest of the uniform and the “USA” logo, positioned vertically on the back, is stylised in a way that reads the same from any direction.
Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand SKIMS, the official undergarment outfitter for Team USA, has launched a range of loungewear, athletic apparel and sleepwear in the official team colours of red, white and blue.
The official outfit for Team GB is being made for the second time by Ben Sherman.
For the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, the British athletes will wear a quilted navy-blue peacoat over a deep roll-neck sweater in cream colour, which has a deconstructed Union Jack flag on it.
The back of the peacoat bears the words “Great Britain” in reflective lettering. The mini-dogtooth print trousers are in navy blue. Accessories include a set of a bobble hat and a scarf, and the athletes are geared with lug sole Chelsea boots.
For the closing ceremony, there is a blue crew-neck checked sweater with the mini-dogtooth print trouser returning alongside a bobble hat.
Except for the boots, the outfit has been in retail as the Ben Sherman x Team GB collection since December 2021.
The other outfit has been created by Adidas, including the “Podium” look. It comprises a hooded and mid-layer jacket with colours sky blue and navy blue on either side of the zip. It is made with Parley Ocean Plastic and PrimaLoft insulation.
When Chinese athletes go to the podium to receive their medals this time, they will be dressed in what has been dubbed the ‘Champion Dragon Clothes’.
Hong Kong fashion icon Timmy Yip is the Winter Olympics uniforms’ designer for China. According to Chinese state media CGTN, the design is inspired by the Chinese character “Zhong” and the culture of the country.
Mainly in red and white, the outfit for the Chinese athletes at the Winter Olympics features a knot button and stand collar. A red line running down the centre represents Beijing as the kernel of the world’s sporting scene as the host city.
“The stand collar and knot button are distinctive and simple. The red lines on the two sides, together with the line in the middle form the Chinese character ‘Zhong’, giving people a mobile sense of climbing up,” Yip was quoted as saying by CGTN.
China also unveiled a uniform with self-heating thermal underwear and non-slip boots for presentation parties. The uniforms are in three types, named “Lucky Snow and Cloud,” “Great Landscape” and “Flying Snow in Tang dynasty.” Each of the sets is completed with a hat and a pair of gloves.
According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), organisers described the uniforms’ design as having been inspired by “traditional Tang dynasty fabrics and other traditional Chinese cultural elements.”
Team Canada squad has two different outfits for the opening and closing ceremonies. While they will be dressed head-to-toe in red for the opening day on 4 February, all-cream attires will be donned on the last day 20 February.
The uniforms are designed by Vancouver-based athleisure company Lululemon. Fairly simple in style and sporty in appearance, they consist of vests, zip-ups, full parkas, down jackets, joggers, and trapper caps, among other clothing. The outfits can be modified, such as the down jacket can be carried like a backpack if the temperature rises.
The material is breathable, insulated, sweat-wicking, bacteria-inhibiting, and resistant to water and wind.
Lululemon has designed the kit in collaboration with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC).
“The look and the outfits, it’s honestly just Canada reimagined,” Frederique Turgeon, Canadian para-alpine skier, was quoted as saying by CBC.
Adidas unveiled Germany’s official uniforms for the Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics at Düsseldorf in November 2021.
Red, black and yellow — colours of the German national flag — have been reinterpreted to create a harmonious connection with the host city of Beijing. The black colour is specifically dubbed “timeless black”.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and the German Disabled Sports Association (DBS) also worked with Adidas to create the official German outfit.
According to Inside the Games, Adidas design director Melina Hartmann said that the uniform “represents courage and strength.”
Japan is the first Asian country to have participated in the Winter Olympics and also the first Asian country to host the Games.
At the Winter Olympics, the Japanese contingent will wear navy blazers when travelling to and from Beijing. This is besides the national flag-inspired red-coloured sports jackets. The bottoms are pale grey.
The Japan Olympic Association (JOC) also released the Team Japan emblem, which has the five Olympic rings and the national flag on it. The emblem will appear on all outfits and all sports that Japan takes part in.
The Czech Republic is sending its largest-ever contingent to the Winter Olympics with a squad of 113 athletes. At Pyeongchang, the Czech Republic won seven medals, including two golds.
Thus, hopes are high for the team at this year’s Winter Olympics, as it is also the first time that the country is participating in all the 15 disciplines at the Games.
So, what are they wearing?
The official kit for the Czech Republic has a white jacket with red and blue stripes forming geometric shapes. It is paired with a blue beanie with red and white stripes and matching gloves.
The Finnish Winter Olympic team’s outfit is created by Lahti-based sportswear Luhta Sportswear Company’s brand Icepeak.
The brand was also behind the team’s uniform for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.
For Beijing, the brand has created the collection, keeping in mind a layered clothing style. The outfits are weatherproof.
According to the Finnish Olympic Committee, the Icepeak x Suomen olympiajoukkue collection is inspired by variations of Arctic winter, permafrost and light.
Blue and white, the traditional colours of Finnish official Olympic dresses, are present with a much wider layer of grey. The jackets are trendy and come in three patterns — all-grey, white with grey, and navy blue with white.
Bobble hats and caps in traditional blue and navy blue, respectively, add a dash of style to the outfits. The designs of the outfits make them wearable on formal and informal occasions at the Games.
The collection comes with a bag made from renewable materials that have a lower carbon footprint and lower water consumption.
Albright, a brand of Ochsner Sport, is the creator of the official uniform of Switzerland’s delegation.
“We wanted Swissness and received Swissness,” Susanne Böhlen, head of Olympic team support at Swiss Olympic, was quoted as saying by Inside the Games.
Like many other countries, Switzerland’s outfits, too, have been designed using sustainable materials, and they come with heat retention properties.
The jackets are in two shades of red, one of which is in the traditional colour of the Swiss flag. While lowers are in all-red and all-black, accessories include red and white beanies and red gloves.
Ski bags and boot bags are also available. If it gets a little warm, athletes can switch to white T-shirts and red caps.
Uniqlo joined hands with the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) for the second time after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo to design the outfits for the delegation from Sweden at the Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games in 2022.
The Japanese brand worked with the athletes and tested the fabrics at various temperatures, keeping in mind the weather in Beijing. The result is a collection that is beautiful in design and useful for even harsh winters.
According to WWD, Masahiko Furuta, Uniqlo’s chief designer, said that they came up with a “smart layering system,” which lets athletes wear four distinct layers either together or on their own.
The base fabric has wicking properties, allows insulation and is a high stretch. Additionally, there is a stretch fleece and a woven Ultra Light Down variant of Uniqlo. The hybrid down jackets incorporate a new technology that keeps athletes warm in extreme temperatures and has innovative mesh technology and 3D knit for breathability.
Uniqlo has also designed the clothes for Sweden’s freestyle ski team, freestyle snowboarding, moguls and curling teams.
Recycled materials have been used in 70 percent of the collection. Certain creations, such as the light down jackets, have 100 percent recycled down and feathers. The ultra-stretch active dry innerwear has recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles.
The dark navy colour of the hybrid down jacket comes from a natural indigo dye.
Team Kazakhstan will wear one of the most vibrant designs at the Winter Olympics. Created by Russian designer Dmitry Shishkin with Kazakh company ZIBROO, the outfit reflects Kazakh traditions through the use of a special font for inscriptions.
While the blue and white colours of the outfit represent water, ice and snow, black symbolise good luck in Kazakh culture.
(Main and Featured images: Kazakhstan Olympic Team/@olympickz/Instagram; Team GB/@teamgb/Instagram)