For next month’s Olympics, Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens has been announced as the designer of the Liberian team’s uniforms, according to the New York Times. However, the Liberian team will not be the only ones with access to his gear. Other countries’ competitors and retailers near you will soon also be able to get their hands on his wares.
“It’s all things you can’t find,” Clemens told the periodical. “[The Liberian Olympic delegation] said, ‘Go crazy.’ So I did.”
Although this is Clemens’ first official foray into sportswear, he reportedly designed as much as 70 items for the Liberian Olympic team, including genderless unitards, sweat clothes, track spikes, and duffel bags. The collection has Clemens’ logo throughout as well as the strategically placed Liberian flag’s Lone Star, which sits slightly askew so as to give the image of the nation’s flag blowing in the wind during a run.
Clemens has no intention of the collection being turned into a one-off affair, though. In fact, he used the word “evergreen” to describe it. The full lineup is expected to be on display this summer, thanks to the athletes, with an even wider range of Olympic-inspired clothes making their way to the general public sometime in September. Clemens said, “These are clothes we want to sell for the rest of our lives.”
This venture marks quite a departure for Clemens and is a different experience for him since his success with last year’s “Bushwick Birkin.” Liberian sprinter Emmanuel Matadi, who represented his country in the 2016 Rio Olympics and will do so again this coming July, was initially unsure if Clemens could deliver. “I didn’t even know if he made clothes,” Matadi said. However, Matadi has now become the collection’s most prominent face.
The Liberian team is currently testing the clothes for any performance issues, with Telfar adjusting them accordingly in preparation for Tokyo. And when asked what feedback has been so far, the designer’s answer appeared to reveal he is scoring high marks with the team, too. “I haven’t heard a no,” Telfar said to the NYT. “Just excitement.”