Written by Staff Writer, CNN
Triathlon doesn’t really sound like a brand sport. When was the last time you thought of triathlon as a fashion sensation?
Well, it’s time to think again. The 2015 world championship race in Brazil has made sporting spectacles of Brazilian citizens, consumers and corporate sponsorship.
Everyone has an opinion about what happened at the race, from the top countries, to the most powerful brands in the world. But as someone who has witnessed events in two different countries, I find it odd that we are suddenly talking about the yellow jersey, the world’s iconic race, as a competitor’s fashion item.
What’s going on?
It’s a global competition, so how can your brand be the subject of “main event” fashion or cosmetic trends? It’s also a race you don’t want to be linked to, even if you are the fashion leader. On the other hand, if your brand is part of any competition, it can also decide to use this as part of its brand personality, making it part of the narrative and innovation of the event.
Does fashion play a part in sport now?
Not necessarily. Last year, Jeremy Scott, designer of the Vans sneakers, and his team dressed the athletes in a yellow, purple and blue pattern that is representative of the Team USA’s gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. It represented the word “U.S.”.
10 years of Rio 2016 by the numbers Why have Brazil’s buildings and infrastructure been built 10 years before the games started?
Does fashion do more than wear a region’s culture to sell your product?
I think it can, and I expect that there will be much more attention from the fashion and creative communities to events, especially sporting events, in the coming years. Great athletes have good looks. To be a successful, elite athlete you have to be fit, disciplined and confident. And being different with your look has nothing to do with that.
But the peak of fashion is in Japan?
Yes. The media has always paid a lot of attention to Japan and fashion there, especially since the 1960s and ’70s, and now the focus is no longer the consumer — as it used to be in the old days, but now it is more the culture of the country, the eye toward fashion.
Athletes, such as Brazilian weightlifter Augusto Arsenio Afonso, became a hot commodity after their victories, making them celebrities. Pictured: Afonso with his trophy after lifting the title of overall world champion
What about the performance designer?
There is a growing interest from the sporting disciplines in the role of fashion designer, who can add something different to the content of a competition or event. First of all, designers can design to benefit from the environment or events, which have an impact on the outcome of the competition. The Rio 2016 campaign was the first example of this. The Nike campaign involved some of the world’s best Olympic athletes. With this event, you can expect more such campaigns, not just in sport, but in everything.
How might the Brazil yellow jersey impact design, if it spreads to other events?