Yesterday, I had a surreal kind of a parallel, non-future Meta Olympia experience.
My wife, Frances, had to be at the unveiling of the Team Canada Winter Olympic and Paralympic collection for work. It sounded right up my alley from a sporting, design, and media perspective, so I tagged along.
When we arrived, people were just starting to gather. We were on the level above, so Frances noticed the lead designer of the collection among the crowd. Her name is Jules Power and she has been responsible for designing the Team Canada Olympic Kits for this and previous years, including Rio, London, and Sochi.
It seemed a shame not introduce myself, so Idid.
Even though she was in the sidelines, it was her day. She said it was different than designing high-fashion because of the audience size. Someone walked by wearing a shirt from the London collection and she remarked how it brought back memories. It must be special to work on a project of this nature. I could feel an energy that was of that 'sport' variety. There was genuine anticipation as we waited for the clock to count down.
Jules described the challenges to putting together the collection. Not only the technical and functional elements like keeping the athletes warm, but working with a limited colour palette. Yes, in Canada we just have red and white. She described having to get creative and using lots of heathered greys.
I can imagine the responsibility that one must feel when having to dress the team representing your country She mentioned how it was all done with local vendors, so everything Team Canada wears is appropriately made in Canada.
The designs aren't exclusive for the athletes either, so there must be immense pressure to create a collection that resonates with the patriotic consumers-at-large. Being an Official Outfitter isn't charity work, so appeal to the mass audience is a must.
The collection was revealed with pageantry.
Participating athletes included Marie-Michèle Gagnon, Brendan Green, Marielle Thompson, Taylor Henrich, Gilmore Junio, Kelsey Serwa, Max Parrot, John Morris, Rachel Homan, Dustin Cook, Chris Klebl, John Leslie, Brian McKeever, Graham Nishikawa, and Michelle Salt.
It included Village Wear, Opening Ceremony Wear, Podium Wear, and Closing Ceremony Wear. Even though I am familiar with this from having watched so many Olympics in the past, seeing it presented this way lets you appreciate how deliberate it is - designed and orchestrated.
I got a few good shots, but it was more about checking out these meta humans. They are representing a lot up there, out there, and you can feel it, like layers on an onion.
It is funny asking an alpine skier "could I get a twirl, please?".
I'm sure it must have had a little zoo-animal vibe for these Olympians, but they were all great about it. Especially Max Parrot and Rachel Homan sweating in their full winter-lined Opening Ceremony gear. It was hot, I was hot, so they were moreso.
Would I have guessed 6 months ago that I would voluntarily attend the Team Canada Olympic Kit launch? Nope, but it just goes to show how things work out in their own amazing way.
Not only was this immersive research, it lived out a mini media experience of a slice of cultural phenomenon directly related to, but not in itself, a sport... which is, in many ways, the cool part about Meta Olympia.
Congratulations to Jules, her team, and HBC on rolling out an excellent collection.