With just 100 days to go until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Beijing 2022) unveiled its official uniforms for staff, technical officials and volunteers.
The design was selected from more than 600 entries submitted by designers after going through eight rounds of optimisation. The outfits have many cultural and technological details, including snow-covered slopes, which are elements of the core graphics of the Beijing 2022 Games, presented in traditional Chinese landscape painting techniques. The outfits combine functionality, nationality and artistry. Staff, technical officials and volunteers of Beijing 2022 can freely combine different items according to temperature and occasion.
Traditional Chinese Painting Techniques for Expressing the Harmony between Humanity and Nature
Designed for staff, technical officials and Games volunteers, the uniforms consist of clothing, shoes and accessories.
The design of the core graphics of the Games combines the shape of mountains and the Great Wall in the Beijing and Zhangjiakou competition zones, as well as the landscape in the picture “A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains”, advocating the harmony between humanity and nature.
The uniform design, finalised by Beijing 2022, applies the core graphics of the Games to the three-dimensional outfits. The use of the expression technique of Chinese ink painting brings together traditional Chinese aesthetics and winter sports.
The black and glowing red theme reflects the down-to-earth attitude and enthusiasm of the staff. The neutral, Great Wall grey shows the objectivity and fairness of technical officials. Sky blue represents the youthful vigour of volunteers. As a harmonising colour, snow white symbolises good luck as Chinese people often say “A timely snow promises a good harvest”.
Glowing red, Great Wall grey, sky blue and snow white, which are the main colours in the colour system for the Olympic Winter Games, are used to bring to mind the magnificent scenes and artistic expressions of the Games, as well as the atmosphere of winter sports.
Yan Cheng, director general of the Human Resources Department of Beijing 2022, said: “We tried to achieve these goals through creative combinations of patterns and colours. We studied the principles of the IOC and drew inspiration from previous Winter Games. We designed the different categories of uniforms taking into consideration many factors, such as climatic conditions in Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou during Games time and the needs of different positions on different occasions. Different pieces of clothing can be combined freely according to temperature and occasion. When designing, we also take into consideration functionality, nationality, and artistry .”
Design Selection and Continuity between the 2008 and 2022 Games
Beijing 2022 established a uniform expert committee in 2019 to oversee the fabrics selection, visual appearance design, and functional improvement of the uniforms. With the support of Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and ANTA Sports, Beijing 2022 set up the Uniform R&D Laboratory to study and develop materials, pattern structures, craft technologies and production processes, and to conduct sample tests.
Beijing 2022 received a total of 602 designs, including more than 10,000 sketches from around the world during the process of public solicitation.
Entrusted by Beijing 2022, the China Fashion Designers Association organised three review meetings to select two design plans. With round after round of discussion and optimisation, a mature uniform design plan with distinctive features and a lot of connotations finally took shape.
Coincidentally, the designer of the final plan, He Yang from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, was also a uniform designer for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The 2008 uniforms, carrying auspicious cloud patterns and using a refreshing colour scheme, are still cherished memories for many Chinese people from the Summer Games.
“Uniform design must first convey the characteristics of the culture of the host country. It must be different from uniforms of previous Games. Second, we must consider fashion and function. How should visual elements be incorporated into the uniforms? Will everyone look good in the uniforms? Uniforms should be unique and eye-catching, so people who wear them will stand out in any backdrop,” He Yang said.
She gave examples of how the uniforms highlight the continuity between the 2008 and 2022 Games. For example, the Grey from Great Wall used in the uniform jackets is not only chosen from the colour system of the Beijing 2022 Games, but also a colour used in the 2008 Games, creating a connection between the two editions of the Games and offering a glimpse into the charm of the city to host both the Olympic Summer and Winter Games.
Technological Innovation and Attention to Detail
Uniforms for the Olympic Winter Games must be warm, attractive, and comfortable to wear. In order to achieve this, designers paid attention to innovations in clothing technology. Beijing 2022 got help from professional designers and institutions and used new materials, new processes, and new technologies to improve the functions of the uniforms.
The uniforms will be worn by about 30,000 people,who have different body shapes and preferences. Designers must take this fact into consideration when designing the structure of the uniforms and ensure the comfort of the inner and outer jackets while making them stylish.
Due to the special conditions of winter sports, uniforms require both precise functionality and high level performance. It is very difficult to make a piece of clothing windproof and breathable, warm and light at the same time. Therefore, Beijing 2022 put a lot of effort into choosing appropriate materials and utilize them as an optimum solution.
The uniforms include a lot of unique features. For example, the outdoor functional sports jacket uses reflective and high visibility safety materials. Cuffs, neckline, zippers, and shoulders are specially designed to ensure the jacket is applicable in variety of work scenarios. It also comes with a holster for radio, an emergency whistle, a stylus, a piece of eyeglass cloth, and hidden zippered pockets. The collar features a vent and adjustable buckles. The gloves are skidproof, writing and touch-screen friendly. Shoes and boots use the BOA lacing system which features stainless steel wires, connected to a turning knob. This knob is used to tighten and loosen laces and is very easy to use with a one gloved hand in outdoor settings.
Considerations of environmental protection and sustainability are integrated into design, production, and distribution of the uniforms. For example, the yarns used in equipment storage bags are environmentally friendly yarns made from recycled plastics. Packaging bags are made of biodegradable masterbatches, 90 per cent of which could be degraded in 180 days. A patented water-saving technology was used in leather processing for the boots.
The design of the uniforms also reflects Beijing 2022’s commitment to a frugal Games. It adopted a series of measures to cut costs. For example, the uniforms have both emblems of the Olympic and Paralympic winter Games Beijing 2022 so they can be used at both Games, thus increasing the sustainability of the uniforms and reducing the total number of uniforms to be distributed.