Local designer Nikola Conradie, who designed Team Namibia’s attire for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, says the athletes’ bravery to put their lives “on the line” for Namibia in a time of a pandemic inspired her to pour her heart and soul into the team’s look.
“With all the Covid-19 losses, they are doing something good. That’s why making the clothes meant so much to me. I am proud of them all, and the whole Namibia should be proud of them too,” she told VIBEZ!
It is the second time Conradie designed and produced the garments for Team Namibia, having also done so for the 2016 Rio Games.
“It’s a huge privilege to have made the outfits for the team that will represent Namibia at the Games,” she said.
“These outfits are more special to me than anything I have made for anyone else, because it is what the whole world will see when our athletes walk in the opening ceremony.”
The opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games will take place in Tokyo, Japan today.
Her brief from the NNOC National National Olympic Commitee was to design clothes that will handle the heat in Tokyo. “It should be summary, youthful and not over the top” – a requirement, Conradie said, that was easy for her to comply with as she is not an over-the-top type person and/or designer. Another specification was for her to incorporate Namibian and Japanese elements.
She thus came up with a design of unisex Kimonos and shorts, with the Kimonos representing the Japanese culture and the shorts representing a Namibian Safari.
The entire process – from sketching to final products – took three weeks.
The fabric used is linen, which Conradie described as light and cool, in nude/khaki colours.
Conradie stated that it was important for her to use linen as it fits right into her design aesthetic and “going green”.
The colours of the Namibian flag are represented through tassels on the left front of the Kimono.
“What is significant is the tassels are hanging close to the hearts of each wearer, which means they are wearing the Namibian flag close to their hearts. The belts also have the colours of the flag.”
She also subtly displayed the flag on the inside of the pockets.
The athletes will be pairing the outfits with white All Star sneakers.
Conradie noted that the clothes are not too “uniformy”, are versatile, and can afterwards be worn separately with other clothing items.
The only complications she experienced during the process was the little time available, taking accurate measurements and do final fittings because the athletes were training, while some were in other countries.
She is, however, confident it will fit well.