Meet the designer who made Chinese athletes shine at opening ceremony of Beijing 2022

(People's Daily Online) 13:22, March 17, 2022

Photo shows outfits worn by Chinese athletes during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 4, 2022. (Photo/People’s Daily Overseas Edition)

Photo shows You Jia and a colleague working on details of a clothing design. (Photo/People’s Daily Overseas Edition)

In late September, 2021, You Jia, an associate professor at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT) in Beijing, was assigned the task of designing uniforms for Chinese athletes to wear for the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. You was required to submit the first draft design before Oct.7.

“The opening ceremony was going to be the first occasion on which Chinese athletes would make an official appearance at Beijing 2022. The outfits the athletes wore would definitely draw worldwide attention. Therefore, we must make sure the clothes suit the athletes’ body shapes and be full of vigor,” You said.

You and her colleagues eventually came up with a design in which red was the main color used; the desgin of the uniforms were simple, and included both elements of Chinese-style and western-style clothing, showing the charm of Chinese culture and the beauty of the design.

Red, which had always been the first choice when it came to planning color schemes for outfits for athletes at opening ceremonies of previous Olympic Games, symbolizes vigor and the fighting spirit of the Chinese athletes, You explained, adding that to create a feeling of depth, she chose off-white to match red for a better visual effect while designing coats for male athletes.

To implement the design scheme, You tailored a red overcoat and white high boots for female athletes and an off-white overcoat, white suit pants, and white ankle boots for male athletes. She also designed a red scarf, a hat and a pair of gloves for the athletes, with the design of the scarf being inspired by traditional Chinese culture and the Chinese characters “zhong guo,” the name of China in Chinese.

You said she and her team members had repeatedly revised the design draft so that the outfits would match the background environment and lighting effects at the National Stadium in Beijing, where the opening ceremony would be held. Aside from this, they also took the temperature outside the venue, and the way the athletes would enter the venue, into consideration. You added that the outfits are all of a classic style so the athletes can wear them even after the conclusion of the Games.

At the opening ceremony on Feb. 4, when the melody of the well-known Chinese song “Ode to the Motherland” started, the Chinese athletes marched into the stadium wearing distinctive winter outfits. As all eyes were on what the Chinese athletes were wearing at that moment, You, who watched the opening ceremony on TV, felt both excited and nervous.

As a matter of fact, Beijing 2022 was not the first Olympic Games for which You had designed uniforms. The outfit worn by award presentation staff members at 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, inspired by the blue and white porcelain art, was also designed by You.

In 1999, You was awarded a scholarship by the Italian government to study at the Koefia International Academy of Haute Couture and Art of the Costume. When she returned home, You became a member of the faculty at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT).

“When I was in Italy, I would never imagine that Chinese designers could hold their own press conferences abroad. Nowadays, things are different. Competitive cultural brands are not built in one single day, but are established through consistent learning and accumulation of experience. I believe that more and more Chinese designers will spring up in the global fashion arena and that more and more international friends can know more about China through works of the Chinese designers,” You said.   

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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