Sustainability: clothing

The clothing created for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has contributed to achieving three of London 2012’s sustainability themes: healthy living, waste, and celebration of diversity.

The Team GB clothing has been designed by Stella McCartney, renowned for her eco collections, and created by the German company, Adidas®.  It is the first time that a leading fashion designer has worked with a leading sports brand to provide competition wear. Altogether it amounts to some 175,000 different items of clothing. For the first time and as part the initiative to encourage people across the country to take up sport and lead an active lifestyle, the clothing for popular sports: swimming, football, basketball, cycling and tennis has been produced in replica kits. There are even kits for children as small as two years old.

Waste has been addressed by making recycled materials, something to which synthetic materials lend themselves, a feature of Team GB replica clothing. Both the men’s swimming trunks (1) and the women’s swimming suit (2) are made from 80% recycled nylon with only the stretch-giving elastane being made from virgin polymer. The Men’s basketball jersey (3) is made of 64% recycled polyester. Some clothing produced in the supporters range uses 100% recycled polymer as in the case of the polyester men’s T-shirt (4). Uniforms for volunteers, torchbearers and staff, even including the buttons, will be made from 100% recycled materials.

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Extensive use of synthetic materials has enabled many garments to benefit from Adidas®’s Climacool® technology. The T-shirt (4) and the kid’s Team GB home replica football jersey (5) are examples. Climacool® is a polyester fibre said to be softer than cotton and to resist piling better than other natural and synthetic fibres. The shape and placement of Climacool® help move moisture quickly from the surface where it evaporates away from the body.

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Multiculturalism is an aspect of London 2012’s celebration of diversity. The garments displayed in this case have been manufactured in five different countries: China, the Philippines, Portugal, Thailand and Vietnam. To ensure proper working conditions LOCOG adopted an international Code called the Ethical Trading Initiative which states that factories must pay workers a living wage.

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