The return of sports opens up a realm of opportunities for fashion brands. And as the king of all sports, this summer’s Olympic games, set to begin on July 23 in Tokyo, present an even greater chance for companies to showcase their know-how on a global stage.
In a competition of best-dressed, however, the U.S. BMX Freestyle National Team may have an advantage with two in-demand brands designing its uniform. U.S. heritage brands Levi’s and Champion worked with USA Cycling to become the official apparel provider for the team. It’s a crucial year for the sport, as it marks its Olympic debut.
The partnership allows both brands the chance to display their innovations in performance wear, with Levi’s designing an official jean packed with durability in addition to stretch and recovery properties.
The Levi’s U.S. BMX Freestyle Team jean features a dark indigo wash, special trims, a “USA” logo in white above the front left pocket and a reflective ghost “USA” logo on the back right leg above the hem. The jeans also feature a unique American flag back patch with the words “Summer 2021” displayed on the bottom corner.
According to Karyn Hillman, chief product officer at Levi Strauss & Co., the brand fuses influences from the ’80s and ’90s, when BMX riding was in its early days.
“We are so honored to partner with the USA Cycling BMX Freestyle Team to design these competition jeans for the athletes,” Hillman said. “It’s such a historic moment for the U.S. team as they make their debut in Tokyo this summer, and we’re thrilled that Levi’s can be a part of it.”
Athletic wear brand Champion is also using this opportunity to apply its top innovations, including a tri-blend fabric consisting of cotton, recycled polyester and spandex, which it will feature in the team’s jerseys. Material is treated with wicking, Fresh-IQ and X-temp elements to keep athletes comfortable during the competition. Like the jeans, the jerseys were heavily influenced by ’80s and ’90s fashion, with bold fonts and digitally printed graphics.
The final Olympic qualification event will be held in France on June 4-8 at the UCI Urban World Championships in Montpellier, followed by the Olympic Games at Tokyo’s Ariake Urban Sports Park.
This underscores a greater collaboration between sports and fashion brands, with recent pairings like MLB x Ralph Lauren, in which the brand launched three limited collections in partnership with three of baseball’s most well-loved teams; NBA x Hugo Boss, which showcased two NBA-themed apparel collections; and NBA x Louis Vuitton, Take Two, which was a continuation of a previous partnership.