Yesterday, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) unveiled the Game Makers’ uniforms for London 2012. As I am the adidas Product and Project Manager for the uniforms, this was a very special day for me. It was the day the team and I have been working towards with LOCOG for the last two years.
My job is to coordinate and to oversee the entire product creation process from the first design sketches to the products’ delivery to the warehouses. LOCOG set the brief for what they would like the volunteer’s kit to look like and the functionality that they wanted from the product. I am responsible for driving the project, making everyone happy and bringing together the needs, ideas and visions of LOCOG, the IOC and adidas.
For the entire project we have worked against a timeline. There is no “we will do it a little bit different next season” and no “hmm, we are not ready to launch this product yet”. There is no way to postpone the Olympic Games! You have to meet your deadline, no matter what happens. These are some of the challenges. But there is so much more that keeps us motivated.
Knowing that 70,000 volunteers will be wearing the result our work is motivating enough, but knowing that it is all part of the biggest show on earth is amazing and something that we will all look back on years to come.
Finding inspiration in heritage
A key consideration from the LOCOG brief for the London 2012 Game Maker uniforms was the UK’s amazing heritage when it comes to sports in general and the Olympic Games in particular. We wanted the product to celebrate London, therefore choice of colour became highly relevant.
Deciding on a meaningful design always involves a lot of research. For me, being a German girl living and working in London, it was very exciting to learn more about the British Olympic heritage and to understand the specifics of British culture. We cooperated for example with different universities in order to get inspiration from British students and to learn how they would design uniforms which foster the volunteers pride and excitement.
One uniform, numerous styles
I am especially proud of the fact that we achieved our goal of enabling volunteers to express their individuality. Therefore, the uniform’s fit has been particularly important to us. I, for example, could wear all sizes from XS to L and it would always look nice and neat. If a volunteer’s style is sporty, he or she can wear a smaller size. The look would be more fitted in this case. Another volunteer might prefer to wear the uniform baggy…fine, this looks cool as well – just choose a bigger size. In addition to this opportunity of customization through fit there are a lot of other small features which enable individualisation, too.
Not only athletes deserve the best technologies
The uniforms, first and foremost, have to be practical and functional. This includes a perfect thermo regulation, light materials and the requirement that uniforms are practically adaptable for people with disabilities, too. Therefore we included just as many technologies in the uniforms as in the on-field kit of our athletes.
adidas’ commitment to supporting LOGOG’s sustainability goals
Talking about materials, another fact is really worth mentioning: adidas is committed to supporting LOCOG in achieving its sustainability goals (read another post about this topic on the adidas Group blog here and an article of The Guardian here). adidas has committed to providing products with sustainable content for the Games and the Game Maker uniforms are an important part of this commitment with 100% of the uniform containing sustainable content
But the adidas Group has also a general approach that ensures environmental considerations are always part of the product design and development process. This process has been crucial for the London 2012 Volunteer uniforms, too. We ask ourselves questions like:
- What impacts are due to the origin of the material?
- How can we use fewer resources?
- What about minimising emissions?
- Will the final product be safe and will it only contain non-hazardous materials?
Here is an example: the polo shirt is made of 100% recycled polyester, so too is the jacket shell while the outer and inner lining consists of partly recycled polyester, as are the trousers. All the uniforms have been produced in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and other local environmental impacts, while also taking full account of responsible sourcing throughout the supply chain.
I am very proud of the result which we delivered and the feedback has been very positive so far, too. Now onto the uniforms for the adidas staff at gamestime!!