The social history focus of the Sage Collection means that our storage facilities hold much more than pretty designer dresses—though we have plenty of those! While the 2012 Summer Olympics take place in that most fashionable of cities, London, we celebrate our own bit of Olympics and Indiana University history here at Sage.
This wool and silk uniform was worn by gold medal winner Ivan Fuqua in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Fuqua, a 1935 graduate of Indiana University, was a member of the winning 4x400 meter relay team. Fuqua, who earned I.U.'s first Olympic gold medal, went to to coach track at Brown University from 1947 to 1973.
The embroidered shield patch on the upper left chest features the Olympic rings. The rings, designed in 1912, debuted at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. The five colors: blue, black, red, yellow, and green, on a white background, represent colors in the flags of participating nations. The wool knit tank top and loose-fitting silk shorts have a similar silhouette to the Nike uniforms worn by U.S. track athletes today. This 1932 uniform was made in the U.S. by Spalding, the well-known athletic gear manufacturer. Athletes in the 1936 Olympics wore similar uniforms, also made by Spalding, visible in this Olympic uniform slide show from The New York Times.
Sports apparel manufacturers continually make innovations in textile technology and design to facilitate faster times and better athletic performances. The Nike track-and-field uniforms worn by American athletes in the 2012 London games incorporate dimpled fabric (similar to the surface of a golf ball) in the shorts and tiny holes in the tight-fitting tops for increased aerodynamic efficiency. While the impact of this new technology remains to be seen (Track & Field trials start today, Friday, August 3), Nike's commitment to "considered design" may soften the company's impact on the Earth. On average, uniforms from the Nike Pro TurboSpeed collection incorporate 82% recycled polyester fabric from plastic bottles.
No word on where the Pro TurboSpeed collection is made, however. The Ralph Lauren-designed blazer-and-beret ensembles for the Olympic opening ceremonies drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans alike for being manufactured in China.