Russian designs for Spanish Olympic outfits raise anger and laughter

The outfits have been slammed for their "lumpiness" and "over-fussy" embellishments Press officer for the Olympic Committee says the designs are "just a starting point"

Russian firm BoscoSport's proposed designs for the Spanish Olympic team uniforms.
Russian firm BoscoSport's proposed designs for the Spanish Olympic team uniforms.

BoscoSport, the Russian fashion house whose proposed uniforms for the Spanish Olympic team at this year's London Games have prompted howls of protest, has said the models shown in the media earlier this month were merely preliminary efforts and that it would release its definitive designs at the end of May.

"We have been involved in designing for the Olympic Games for 10 years, and during that time our objective has always been to capture the spirit of the country we are designing for," said BoscoSport's director, Mikhail Kusnirovich via email. "We have studied Spanish folklore in detail, and we are sure that when we present the uniforms for the Olympic and Paralympic teams, everybody will agree that this is a representative, attractive, and authentic design, and above all, very Spanish."

Spanish designers were quick to lambast the designs for the outfits to be worn by Spanish athletes. The new designs were criticized for their "lumpiness," their "over-fussy" embellishments and trim, garish colors and worst of all, for having been designed by a Russian company, a move the Spanish rag trade sees as an unforgiveable insult.

The Association of Spanish Designers (ACME) said: "In a country like Spain with great designers, a competent textile industry, and a powerful distribution capacity, it doesn't seem right to use a Russian company."

Modesto Lamba, ACME's president, said it expected Spanish companies to be given a fair chance to submit their designs. "Instead Spanish designers have been sidelined and disallowed the opportunity to represent Spain and promote a national industry, especially in the current difficult economic climate."

Patricia López, a member of Spanish designers association ADEEM, said she was "saddened" that a task so important had been "taken out of the hands of national talent."

Chema Bellón, the press officer for the Spanish Olympic Committee, said the uniforms shown in the Spanish media were "simply a starting point."

He said he was "satisfied" with the choice of uniform and pointed out that the designs have been available for comment for some months, but had not attracted such criticism until now. He concluded by pointing out that Bosco was one of the team's sponsors. BoscoSport has produced the kit free of charge, saving the Spanish team 1.5 million euros. It is also sponsoring the Spanish team, paying 250,000 euros for the privilege.

BoscoSport, which is also producing the Russian and Ukrainian teams' uniforms, reported profits of 600 million euros last year. "The Olympic Games are not just an opportunity for great sporting achievements, but also to display outstanding creativity, to celebrate diversity, and to showcase a country's culture. We are aware of our responsibility, and we will show that we have come up with a modern and unique design," says the firm's director.

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