South African Olympic and Paralympic athletes, will for the first time ever, be kitted out in locally designed athletic apparel at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The proudly South African kit was unveiled at a fashion show in collaboration with Mr Price Sport, The City of Durban and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) on Thursday.
Team South Africa’s kit will comprise the opening ceremony ensemble, which incorporates a proudly South African look paired with vellies – leather field shoes – provided by Durban-brand, VeldskoenTM, the official off-field shoe of the country’s athletes.
Four young Durban designers worked together with Mr Price Sport to develop the garments. The designers are a product of the Durban Fashion Fair development programme which provides skills development and mentorship to emerging designers.
SASCOC president, Barry Hendricksm said it was wonderful for Team SA to be able to showcase the young designers’ talents.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to put their work on the global map. Our Team SA athletes will wear the kit with pride,” he said.
SASCOC Acting CEO, Ravi Govender said of the Olympic collaboration: “The combination of home grown brand Mr Price Sport and Veldskoen with our young and upcoming designers dressing Team SA tells our story like it should be told.
The designers’ brief was to create a look that would be so memorable and outstanding, that all eyes would be on the country’s athletes and to create an authentic kit that competing countries would want to wear.
Durban Institute of Technology graduate and founder of clothing label, ZuluM, Mbali Zulu, shared her experience as one of the designers.
“I have always loved to watch the Olympics so getting this amazing opportunity to design the opening outfit was a dream come true,
Nompumelelo Mjadu earned her Fashion Diploma after graduating from the Lindiwe Fashion Skills Academy in 2019. She has been the director of her own label Jado Mjadu since 2015.
“I knew our combined skills would result in remarkable work. This has motivated me to work even harder – being part of such a big project shows I’m going in the right direction,” Mjadu said.
Multimedia Fine Arts graduate, Sandile Sikhakhane is a young Durban artist with his own brand, sAnd!Le_da_creActive.
“At school, I was constantly drawing. I’ve always been a creative person. My first thought when I found out, ‘It’s my time to showcase my creations.’ Knowing that I’ll be part of the Olympics in my own way.”
Sipho Lushaba graduated from the Lindiwe Fashion Skills Academy in 2019 with a fashion design diploma and is now the director his own label, SVL Designs.
“I thought that maybe it’s a prank, so I was in disbelief. When it was confirmed, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to work with the team, and to tick one item off my bucket dream list.”
eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda congratulated the designers on their Olympic designs.
“It is not every day that emerging designers get an opportunity to be featured in designing clothes that will enjoy international appeal,” Kaunda said.
This is the first-time that the South African Olympic and Paralympic team apparel is designed locally.
“This is a progressive stride for local fashion and the textile industry, and it is in line with our Buy and Invest Local campaign. It is encouraging to see our programme being recognised. This is proof that we are headed in the right direction in terms of Durban becoming Africa’s fashion capital.”
Mr Price Sport’s Head of Marketing, Dylan Cherry said: “We agreed with SASCOC that our team needed a strong graphic icon visible on camera. As our athletes are captured on various media platforms, our proudly South African protea will be recognised across the world.”
For the games – as the official technical apparel sponsor of Team South Africa – Mr Price Sport will supply both the technical apparel required for the multiple sporting events, as well as the tracksuits worn on the podium after each event.