According to South Africaâ€™s fulltime Minister of Razzmatazz and sometimes Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, the SA Olympic team tracksuit is lacking in swag.
As one who hobnobs in Las Vegas, Mbalula knows a thing, or two, about swag.
And, well, our Olympians may be slaying in Rio, but they certainly donâ€™t look the part.
— Chanel (@Chanel_Ponto) August 13, 2016
I know it doesn't matter, but all our Olympic tracksuits are ugly as heck.
How do we have an SA fashion week every month & let this happen?
— Keenan Kyle Harduth (@KeenyKeenz) August 13, 2016
We have to ask, why wasnâ€™t the South African Olympic uniform designed by our own designers? South Africa has no shortage of world-class fashion designers. Surely we could have had Thula Sindi or David Tlale work some of their magic?
Instead, the South African teamâ€™s tracksuits have been designed by world-renowned (really?) 361 clothing, a Chinese company that specialises in â€œcustomised fashion clothing for consumersâ€.
Whoever was hired to design the SA Olympics team tracksuits is walking with a lot of unearned money in they pockets..
— Sarkastik Observer (@Sindelo_) August 13, 2016
As of 2014, 361 clothing was named the official sponsor of uniforms for technical staff and volunteers at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. So basically, oversized and uninspired replicas of the Olympic staff designs – #MadeInChina.
someone in my mentions said those Team SA tracksuits are so big, they'll wear them to the 2020 Olympics. I wouldn't put that past Fikile ???
— HRH the Duchess of Success (@TheGirlintheAvi) August 13, 2016
— Yolande (@yolandes_sa) August 13, 2016
Now, does this matter?
Sure it does – the Olympics is a world stage. Team SA has been nothing short of spectacular at these Olympics, winning seven medals so far. When we South Africans are displayed on the highest and arguably most prestigious sporting platform in the world, we expect fair representation. Our team have swag AND are winners. They deserve to be kitted out as such.
And the FOMO game is strong.
Take a look at the French tracksuit designed by Lacoste, Mbalula commented: “I just feel like jumping into Franceâ€™s tracksuit right now. It makes those athletes look exquisite and super.” And admittedly, the tracksuit the French team are sporting looks marginally better than South Africaâ€™s. For one, it fits properly.
Curiously, Cubaâ€™s tracksuit has been designed by Christian Louboutin, the French footwear designer of red-soled fame and glory. Why the shoe mogul has branched out into athleisure is a mystery. And admittedly the design looks a bit like an aircraft crew going on a safari, but at least it has some imagination.
For the Cuban team’s bespoke Celebratory Outfits, Henri Tai, former professional athlete and founder of @sportyhenri, took inspiration from Cuban style of the 1950’s including Guayabera patch pockets and sharply tailored jackets. Red jackets for men and beige for women proudly carry the nationâ€™s flag and are paired with contrasting interchangeable trousers, shorts or skirts that infuse Cuban elegance without compromising comfort and fit. #CLxSportyHenri
A photo posted by Christian Louboutin (@louboutinworld) on
And as for other countries, the Italian team had its uniform designed by world-renowned fashion house, Giorgio Armani and it would not look out of place in any sporting fashion catalogue. Britain had its uniform designed by Stella McCartney and the USA by Ralph Lauren.
What do you think? Is the South African Olympic uniform a fair representation of our level of swag or not? Comment below or tweet us @thedailyvox.