Faint praise as HBC unveils Canadian Olympic team uniforms for 2012 London Games

Steve Mertl
Daily BrewNovember 2, 2011

Olympic uniforms have become a kind of fashion flashpoint in recent years, so people will be watching closely the reaction to what Canadian Olympians will be wearing to London next summer.

The Hudson's Bay Co. unveiled the 2012 London Games clothing line on Wednesday, not coincidentally the day the Olympic merchandise goes on sale at The Bay and Zellers.

"We wanted to create uniforms that showed what Canadians really looked like," Bay fashion director Suzanne Timmins told CTV News.

The items revealed included a windbreaker, "fashion-forward" jean jacket festooned with Canadian patches, a crew-neck sweat shirt and a track jacket, also with lots of Canadian patches.

The mandatory maple leaf received a design update, adding the word Canada within the leaf.

Designers also created a patch collection depicting the provinces, Canadian animals, sports and other cultural themes.

The Bay also designed the controversial uniforms for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. The eye-jangling fusion of Canadian and Chinese symbols left some people cold, as did the not-surprising news that most of the clothing was being made in China.

Initial reaction to the London collection in the comments section of the CTV story has been tepid.

"Diane" commented that they look like the dress-down scruffy stuff kids wear every day, except with a maple leaf tacked on.

"It used to be uniforms were something you could be proud of," she said.

"DL" in Ontario called the uniform "not as bad as the last Summer Olympics uniforms but still very uninspiring."

"The Bay is obviously focusing on store sales. It looks like great lounging wear."

"B.J." regretted Roots, whose poor-boy caps and jackets were popular items in past Olympics, is no longer handling the Canadian uniforms.

"Why does the Canadian Olympic committee re clothing have to change when we had a great thing with Roots?"

You can see the more of the 2012 London Games clothing line here.

(Photo by The Hudson's Bay Company)