Ben Sherman X Team GB: Olympic Ceremony kits for Tokyo 2020 & Beijing 2022 designed by the iconic British brand
Think back to summer 2021 – the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games finally got the green light, and Team GB stepped out in what would be the first of two Olympic collaborations in the same year for Ben Sherman.
The iconic British brand was honoured to partner with Team GB as an official supporter, and design the opening and closing Ceremony kits for both Games completely in-house at Baird’s Leeds HQ.
Ahead of Team GB’s eagerly awaited ceremony-wear, Ben Sherman released limited edition capsule retail collectionswhich shoppers eagerly snapped up; securing a piece of sporting and fashion heritage for their own wardrobes.
The Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on 23rd July marked the first of four Olympic outings for Ben Sherman X Team GB last year. With all eyes on Ben Sherman at the ceremony, it was a huge honour to support the nation’s finest competitors during the world’s greatest sporting event.
Launched at London Fashion Week 2021, the collection harked back to the last time Tokyo had hosted the Olympics: 1964. “We sought style inspiration away from the starting blocks and winner’s podiums, looking at what athletes retrospectively wore during the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Ben Sherman creative director Mark Williams, “[then,] looks were Ivy League-inspired chinos, Harrington jackets, button-down Oxford shirts – which was a perfect fit to our brand DNA.”
For the opening ceremony, Ben Sherman designed a navy Harrington jacket with red, white and blue pinstripes across the arms and lining, paired with a white Oxford button-down shirt and chinos. The closing ceremony saw the athletes dressed in navy chino shorts and white polo shirts featuring a lion motif to the shoulder. Oxford shirts and chinos were made from GOTS certified organic cotton, and socks incorporated bamboo viscose. The uniforms were designed to capture iconic Ben Sherman styling combined with Team GB storytelling, and messages of encouragement woven into every item encouraged the ‘feel-good factor’.
The accompanying Team GB x Ben Sherman retail collection launched on May 12th, 2021, and featured sustainable organic cotton polo shirts and t-shirts, a striped casual shirt, zip-through bomber jacket and a Harrington jacket for men and women, as well as a selection of kids’ wear at select retailers. All proceeds from the sales of the retail collection went to Team GB and the British Olympic Association.
For the historic partnership, Ben Sherman turned to fellow British icon, fashion photographer RANKIN, who captured the campaign featuring Team GB Olympic medal hopefuls and rising stars including track and field athlete Morgan Lake, taekwondo athlete Lutalo Muhammad, diver Jack Laugher and rugby player Philip Burgess.
No sooner had the Tokyo Games come to a close, Ben Sherman was gearing up for its next big Olympic collaboration with Team GB, designing the opening and closing ceremony kits for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
The official delegation of Team GB athletes stepped out at the opening ceremony on the 4th February in deep roll-neck sweaters featuring a bold deconstructed union flag, worn with navy mini-dogtooth print trousers and a classic quilted navy peacoat. Finished with matching Great Britain bobble hat and scarf and lug sole Chelsea boots, Team GB’s Winter athletes became an instant sensation on Weibo – the most widely used social media platform in China. Reaction to the British team reached no. 8 on the Weibo Hot Topic section, and such was the response that some followers in China asked the British Embassy for a competition to win the kit!
The campaign featured Olympic medal hopefuls Joel Fearon of the four-person bobsled team, and freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes, photographed in the Winter opening and closing ceremony looks.
British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Anson said: “We are very excited to partner with Ben Sherman once again on the launch of the Beijing 2022 ceremony wear, following the delivery of the hugely successful Tokyo designs. The clothes embody the key symbols that form Team GB’s identity, most notably the British flag, alongside the proud history and heritage of Ben Sherman.”
Again, the kits were designed completely in-house, and the limited-edition retail collection saw overwhelming demand online across the Ben Sherman and Team GB websites. After Team GB walked in the opening Ceremony, the collection sold out in just a few hours.