• The Retail Olympics

    July 13th, 2012

    Olympic fever has well and truly gripped the world with fashion designers and high street chains keen to engage with the London 2012 Olympic Games this summer.

    In just two weeks, the Olympics begin, taking over Britain and captivating audiences around the globe.

    With a boost in sales recorded over the Diamond Jubilee period, retailers are set to benefit from a rise in tourism, souvenir sales and increased general public spending.

    Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre in East London has recently added 27 new brands in anticipation of Olympic-going crowds. This includes global high street giant H&M who are opening two sportswear-themed pop-up shops to celebrate the games.

    Other high street retailers have also embraced the Olympics, with River Island’s collaboration with official sportswear partner, Adidas, presenting a range of street-inspired clothing including metallic prints, lion motifs and patriotic colours. Marks and Spencer have also joined forces with Adidas to create a selection of Team GB branded sports clothing; while Next have designed suits and formalwear for athletes to wear at the ceremonies.


     Olympic ranges on the High Street- River Island, Next, Marks and Spencers

    From Left: River Island, Marks & Spencer, Next (Fencer Laurence Halsted)


    High fashion designers also seem to have caught the Olympic bug. Prada is to sponsor the Italian sailing team, supplying their uniforms and branding boats and equipment. The Italian team’s official kit has been designed by none other than iconic designer Giorgio Armani, featuring an understated palette of white and navy.


    Italian Olympic kits bu Giorgio Armani and Prada

    Left: Prada Sponsored Italian Sailing Team; Right: Athlete Andrea Cassara in Giorgio Armani’s official Italian kit


    Lest we forget our very own Stella McCartney, who was appointed Creative Director of Team GB’s official sports kit design team. Working with Olympic partner Adidas, Stella McCartney unveiled her designs in March; a streamlined collection of stylish pieces, cut in high-performance materials and adorned with a blue Union Jack design- which has been the subject of criticism for not being ‘patriotic’ enough


    Stella McCartney unveils Adidas Team GB Olympic sports kit.

    Stella McCartney unveils Team GB kit 


    The 2012 Olympics have clearly influenced designers’ Spring/Summer ’12 collections. The ‘Sports Luxe’ trend is often a popular reference for Spring, but was undoubtedly a key look for many designers this season.

    Designers opted for sleek, minimalist lines and strong silhouettes. Clean white and futuristic metallics emerged as prevailing tones. Cropped tank tops (not unlike the Team GB creations), exposed zips, mesh panels and neon piping were popular styles, as well as more controversial trends like scuba-like neoprene fabrics and the ubiquitous wedge trainer.

     Sports Luxe Trend SS12 Designer Runway

    Images by Style.com


    A far more accessible way to nod to the upcoming Olympic celebrations is to try Union Jack-inspired accessories and traditional colours of red, white and blue.

    At Continental, we’ve created a new range of patriotic accessories coming soon for Autumn/Winter.

    New in Union Jack accessories- scarf, gloves

    Left to right: 90200 Union Jack full-finger gloves, 90206 Union Jack turnover gloves, 91116 Union Jack scarf

    +Katie Fox