Q&A: Team Canada x lululemon present Beijing 2022 uniform kit
Team Canada athletes will proudly sport clothing from lululemon at the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
As a new partner of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, this marks the first time that lululemon has designed the uniform kit. The result is an innovative and transformative collection intended to represent a modern and diverse country.
Keep scrolling for a closer look at the Team Canada Collection and to learn more details about the design process from the team at lululemon.
Q: With the words “Feel Canada”, what does lululemon hope that Canadian athletes and fans will feel when they see and wear the Beijing 2022 Team Canada Collection?
This product represents a modern Canada of diversity, innovation and transformation; a fresh, human portrait of a country that embodies courage, resilience and connection. We want fans and athletes to be proud of who they are and where they come from.
Q: How did lululemon involve athletes in the design process and what feedback did they provide that was most helpful?
We worked with Canadian Olympians and Paralympians from a number of sports over an 18-month period so that we could design an unbelievable athlete kit that would solve their unmet needs.
“I’ve been working with lululemon since 2016 and I’ve been really excited to watch them grow and dive into their design side of things […] I was part of the process of figuring out where you’re producing the most heat and how to hold the most heat without sweating too much.”– Cassie Sharpe, Freestyle Skiing, 2018 Olympic Champion (halfpipe)
We wanted to understand how they wanted to feel in each of the pinnacle Games moments, such as walking into the Opening Ceremony or standing on the podium. We held focus groups to understand the design and technical elements that were most important, such as ensuring the Paralympic kits don’t look or feel different than the Olympic kits. We listened to the athletes through fit and feedback sessions. We tested and validated for thermal performance, during which we learned such things as layering jackets adds warmth but optimizing space for airflow inside the layers increased measured and perceived warmth.
Human-led design means we take athlete insights and create innovative solves so Team Canada Olympic and Paralympic athletes can feel their best to perform their best.
Q: What has been integrated into the Beijing 2022 kit that is distinctly Canadian?
We were inspired by the symbolic maple leaf and its natural uniqueness and ever-changing state. We looked at the maple leaf as it shifts through the season. Team Canada’s athlete kit features a microscopic view of the maple leaf in various areas of the pieces: the interior of the Opening Ceremony jackets, the exterior of the Closing Ceremony jackets in a beautiful ivory, the exterior of the Media jackets in red. The print is covert for the Opening Ceremony and overt for the Closing Ceremony.
Q: What are some of the overarching design aspects we’ll see across different pieces of the kit?
We were inspired by the notion of transformation – considering the journey an athlete takes in their road to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and while at the Games – and we wanted to modernize the way iconic symbols of our country are shown.
“What I love most is the depth of the design, the colour — it’s not our typical red. It’s a profound deep red that makes me feel confident.”– Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Freestyle Skiing, 2014 Olympic Champion (moguls)
Our spectrum of five beautiful reds is used as a powerful design element. There’s no better colour to feel your most confident in and so red shows up in some of Team Canada’s most powerful moments – the Opening Ceremony, in front of media, and of course, on the podium.
Q: What are some of the overarching performance aspects and textile technologies incorporated across different pieces of the kit?
In our consultation with athletes, we learned that some run hot while others run cold. Some athletes’ disabilities impact their ability to thermoregulate throughout their entire body. We tested measured and perceived warmth with athletes in our research and development lab to provide evidence-based recommendations on appropriate layering and outfitting.
We also had to consider the environment in which the kit will be worn. Temperatures could go as low as -10 degrees Celsius and athletes can spend up to four hours waiting for their turn to walk into the Opening Ceremony.
These insights led us to design a dynamic dressing system with pieces engineered to layer together. Modular and adjustable pieces give athletes the option to optimize for warmth and thermal preference as well as personalize for style. Body-mapped insulation ensures athletes feel warmth or coolness where they need to.
“We were both so excited to see a kit that I think encompasses all aspects of the Olympic experience […] the grandeur of the ceremonies but also the day-to-day wear and the active wear we need to just be athletes and be comfortable in the Village. I think it strikes the perfect balance between style and providing everything we need from a technical perspective.– Paul Poirier, Figure Skating, 2010 and 2018 Olympian
The Transformable Parka can be worn up to four different ways. Removeable sections at the hem can be converted into accessories like a scarf or travel pillow. The Down Jacket has an insulated collar with cinchable hem to keep warmth in but also straps on the inside to allow athletes to wear the jacket like a backpack if they overheat.
An engineered knit creates a 3D texture for added warmth on the End State Jacket to be worn on the podium. In the Navigation Stretch Down Jacket for media appearances, our proprietary DiamondStretchTM fabric has two-way stretch and is windproof and water-resistant. Lightweight warmth comes from 700-fill-power goose down in ThermoChannelTM construction to creates channels of insulation that lock in warmth. Our bold print Cropped Jacket features waterproof GlydeTM fabric that is seam-sealed to ensure athletes are protected against the elements.
Want to dress like an Olympian? Pieces from the Team Canada Collection will be available for purchase at lululemon, both online at shop.lululemon.com and in stores.