The Pinnacle of Olympic Fashion

Sochi gear

The Russian storefront in Whistler. (SI)

WHISTLER, British Columbia — It’s possible that I’m not attuned to Russian style. Possible that my sense of what makes a fashionable Olympic souvenir is completely different from the average Russian’s. But every time I walk by the t-shirt store in Whistler Village that’s been convered into the temporary headquarters of Bosco Sport, the Russian company that’s making all the gear for the Sochi 2014 Games (as well as Russia and Ukraine’s current Olympic teams), I cannot help but laugh. It’s the most heinous collection of merchandise I’ve ever seen at a sporting event.

Most of it is also heinously expensive. The cowboy-ish coat gone wrong in the photo below (on the right) has a price tag of $1,199. I see absurd prices on clothing in New York all the time, but my jaw dropped when I examined that tag. The Australian girl helping me in the shop said the Russians, for the most part, had been undaunted. “People are coming in and spending, like, thousands on this stuff,” she said.

Sochi gear

(Luke Winn/SI)

She made the point that, for the Sochi stuff at least, you could get four years of use leading up to 2014. No sales pitch could overcome the fact that the Sochi hat above has one of the all-time worst brim designs.

They repeated the Sochi hat-brim design on winter coats, which could be paired with shoes that say “RUSSIA” on the side for maximum ridiculousness:

Sochi gear

(Luke Winn/SI)

The blue velour Ukraine jacket in the photo below (at left) is off-the-charts tacky. The shopgirl didn’t agree — she said it might be a nice thing to wear to the gym. Only if I had a home gym. And that gym had no windows. I considered buying Ukraine fanny packs (at right) as souvenirs for my family, but I’m not that cruel.

Sochi gear

(Luke Winn/SI)

The yellow-and-blue jacket above (center) only has a price tag of $599. Very reasonable. The underside of the clothing tags reveals something amusing: None of it is made in Russia. All from China. Hooray for the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation — paving the way for high fashion since 2001!

Sochi gear

(Luke Winn/SI)

  • Published On Feb. 23, 2010 by lukewinn
  • 2 Comments


    1. AC
      2/26/10

      Awesome stuff – this is the perspective on the Olympics that is truly interesting. You’re not alone on the Russian style…


    2. Jones in CO
      2/26/10

      Is being very tacky seeming, da?

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