The official Team USA opening and closing ceremony parade uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren may have been unveiled recently, but an unofficial Winter Games collection designed by American artists will be launched during fashion week in New York City.
The "Purple and Gold" collection track suits were individually designed by 15 American artists, including Los Angeles-based Lucas Michael, Ginger Brooks Takahashi and David Benjamin Sherry, in response to Russia's anti-gay legislation. A bill banning gay "propaganda" passed in June last year.
"We wanted to raise awareness of the gay situation in Russia by giving artists a platform that's interesting and different," said David Fierman, owner of Louis B. James Gallery in New York City, where the collection will be unveiled simultaneously with the televised opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia, on Friday.
Produced in collaboration with New York design studio Print All Over Me, the athletic wear features specially created imagery in a vast array of colors and styles, quite different from the official uniform assemblage of patriotic patchwork cardigans covered with festive red, white and navy stars and stripes and Olympic regalia.
There's a horizontal rainbow striped suit with the famous Soviet hammer and sickle front and center designed by Scott Hug; a retro psychedelic patterned top paired with orange and blue paint-dripped pants by Robert Melee; and a stormtrooper white set featuring a silver trophy shackled with gym equipment by Lucas Michael. Angeleno David Benjamin Sherry may have been inspired by a verse or two from "America the Beautiful," as a scene of amber waves of grain stretch across the jacket and majestic green mountain landscape adorn the pants of his creation. The artist's name is stitched on the inside collar.
Priced at $200 each, the cotton tracksuits will be available for sale on the website printallover.me beginning Friday.
All proceeds will benefit the Russian LGBT Network, which provides services for victims of hate crimes, social and legal advocacy and promotes equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
A fashion presentation in L.A. is scheduled for Feb. 23 during the Olympic closing ceremonies. (Location to be determined.) For more information visit printallover.me
[Updated 1:03 p.m. PST Feb. 4: The Los Angeles presentation, hosted by Dynasty Handbag, has been set for 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at Human Resources Gallery in Chinatown, 410 Cottage Home St., Los Angeles.]