Team GB will not be the best dressed at Paris Olympics with this kit

Team GB's kit for the Paris Olympics is unveiled by Adidas
Adidas have delivered a no-thrills Team GB kit for the Paris Olympics - Team GB

Designing a sports kit in 2024 can feel as laced with danger as being a gladiator facing the lions in the Colosseum, which makes taking a safe approach understandable.

When Nike reimagined the St George’s Cross on the England football kit last month, the outcry was such that the Prime Minister felt obliged to comment. And earlier this week, the same sportswear behemoth was in trouble again after photos of the kit to be worn by US Olympic women’s track and field athletes looked like it would be both uncomfortable and incredibly revealing. “My hoo haa is gonna be out,” said long jumper Tara Davis-Woodhall, who later said she was persuaded the designs weren’t as bad as they looked in the photo.

You can almost sense Adidas dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s in creating Team GB’s Olympic kits which were unveiled on Thursday. The Union Jack is there in all its glory and athletes such as long jumper Jazmin Sawyers will be able to compete in a bra and shorts which look like they provide excellent coverage and flexibility – phew!

It can be a tall order to do anything exciting with sports kits, as Rishi Sunak crystallised when he commented on flag-gate; “Obviously I prefer the original”. There are only so many elements you can play around with and functionality should be first and foremost. Jacqueline King, design director of specialist sports at Adidas describes how the ‘pops of colour’ on the kit are designed to convey the ‘roaring passion’ of the athletes. But almost every British kit is bound to have bursts of colour because red sits alongside more neutral blue and white.

The Adidas designs might look straightforward at first glance – ‘Great Britain’ is plastered across each piece in graphic and unmissable font – which will be a relief for anxious executives concerned about what storm might erupt next. But in pure style terms there is a cool, understated retro feel to the kits which chimes with current trends.

Team GB's kit for the Paris Olympics is unveiled by Adidas
Adidas' kit sticks to the traditional red, white and blue colour scheme - Team GB

The athletes have been styled wearing white socks pulled up over their leggings, which is a style affectation you’ll currently see on any chi-chi high street on a Saturday morning and could make the socks a surprise best seller. The hoodies and jackets are relatable, too and will look as at home in a British park as they will in the Stade de France. And the traditional red accents are especially convenient right now, because the ‘red theory’ trend whereby any outfit is deemed instantly cool if there’s a red element continues to dominate.

Is this kit going to have team GB athletes declared the best dressed at Paris 2024? Probably not (an early contender for that honour is the surprisingly upbeat look streetwear designer Stéphane Ashpool has created for the French team). Does it have the fashion frisson which Stella McCartney gave the kit when she worked on the designs? Not really. But the athletes look fresh, relaxed, modern and poised for action.

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