Issue 47 Sporting
ON THE RARE OCCASIONS my mind turns to organized sport I think of a Victoria Wood sketch about a keep fit class. As I recall the instructor suggests Victoria “wears loose clothing” to which she retorts “If I had loose clothing I wouldn’t be coming to this class!”
I may be a little defeatist when it comes to exercise but after reading Ian Wilson’s memories of PE class, I know I am not alone in my dread. The indignities of the changing room are some people’s earliest clothing related memory. Still, we cannot deny that this is the time to celebrate the fittest and the fastest, and they deserve their moment in the sun. Olympians represent the pinnacle of physical fitness but ever since Coco Chanel popularized jersey in the 1920s, the fashion for sport inspired clothing has taken hold. This summer as we marvel at the flexibility of the gymnasts in their team GB leotards, Dr Katharine Ings helps us take a broader look at the career of British designer Stella McCartney, who is responsible for the official kit.
Four years after the Olympics was hosted by China Tom Bird revisits and takes us on a tour of Suzhou, the textile centre of the country and the site of research and investigation into new fabrics. If Marie O'Mahony’s comment, that the medals awarded this summer will go to the athletes with the most technologically advanced equipment shocks and disappoints you a little, it’s worth remembering innovation is nothing new. The skill and determination that has resulted in today’s high tech equipment evolved over hundreds of years. Sport has come a long way since Carl Jantzen knit his first swimsuit in 1920. Catherine Calvery explores the evolution of the iconic brand and its distinctive ‘Diving Girl’ logo. Converse is another sporting brand with an iconic representative and the fact that he was a real man makes Chuck Taylor, a rarity in the world of marketing.
Sometimes elements of sportswear become symbols of much more than an activity or exercise. Alasdair Peeble’s has been collecting children’s sportswear for decades. His collection spans clothing from 1700 to 1950. The straw hats he has accumulated are particular gems and in Grasping at straws, he explains how they encapsulate a bygone era.
Emma Fremantle, is someone who would be perfectly comfortable in a world gone by. In her floating home she takes life at a slower pace, pausing to appreciate life in detail. She may not be striving for medals but finds her rewards in smaller things. Enjoy the games in London...
Polly Leonard, Founder