COMMONWEALTH GAMES – BEHIND THE DESIGN
This July, R.M.Williams will proudly dress Australia’s sporting stars as they travel to the UK to participate in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. To celebrate our partnership and introduce the Australian Commonwealth Games Team formal uniforms, we spoke to our Head Of Product Development, Scott Faulder, about the design process, the iconic green and gold palette, and how he plans to showcase a uniquely Australian spirit on the world stage.
R.M.Williams is no stranger to the challenge of crafting uniforms for the nation’s sporting elite, having previously provided kits for the Australian Team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and before that, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Both projects were received exceptionally well, both domestically and abroad. “We had overwhelming success with the 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games team uniform, which put us in a great place for this year’s 2022 uniforms. The positive response to that kit highlighted our reach as a global brand, without losing sight of our roots in outback Australia. We were able to showcase our trademark commitment to quality, cementing us as the right fit for these next games.”
Quality remained a central consideration in the design and development process for this year’s uniforms, with the brief calling for apparel that was breathable, supportive, and easy to wear. The resulting collection is a contemporary capsule wardrobe of mix-and-match styles, crafted primarily from natural fibres. Alongside functional polos and puffer vests, Scott has introduced “classic silhouettes, inspired by our rich heritage” in the form of tailored chinos and blazers. The range also makes a notable step forward in the brand’s mission to support and preserve homegrown manufacturing, with a majority of pieces proudly Made In Australia.
In a nod to the enduring R.M.Williams directive to ‘dress from the ground up’, Scott identifies the “pinnacle pieces” of the collection as the handcrafted Comfort Craftsman and Erica boots, constructed by a team of highly skilled artisans in our Adelaide workshop. Each boot is finished with custom tugs in tribute to the Games, “in green and gold with the Australian Commonwealth Games dual branding – a first for our iconic tugs.” When paired with the matching leather belt, the look is one that speaks to our great legacy of craftsmanship, now 90 years in the making.
As for Australia’s signature green and gold palette, Scott has approached this year’s uniforms through a new lens. “For the 2018 Commonwealth Games, we created a bright and bold uniform, something that felt very appropriate for the Gold Coast setting, but for the 2022 uniforms we wanted to incorporate some subtler tones, inspired by the Australian landscape. You’ll see that in the green marle mixed tones in blazers and vests, and the rich browns in the leather of the boots and belt.”
Another key element of the kits in the inclusion of a symbolic artwork, entitled ‘Unity’. “The artwork is part of series of works created for the GOLDOC Reconciliation Action Plan by Brisbane-based agency Gilimbaa, where Jenna Lee, who is a proud Larrakia woman, was formerly a senior designer and lead artist. Her creative practice is strongly influenced by her heritage and she specialises in Aboriginal artwork and design, in particular investigating new methods and technologies to celebrate her ancient culture in the modern day.” Previously incorporated into the 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games kits, it is seen in this year’s assortment on polos, ties, scarves and the lining of the vest. The artwork’s central theme of ‘Together with Unity’ is also a fitting match for the Australian Team’s motto ‘Greater Together.’
Now, Scott and his team are looking forward to seeing the uniforms take centre stage at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as numerous official events throughout the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“This project has been two years in the making for myself and for the brand. It’s such a proud moment.”
“Our founder Reginald Murray Williams always wanted to showcase Australia to the world, and really that is what this partnership is about, helping our Australian athletes represent this country and put their best boots forward.”
We invite you all to tune in to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games from 28th July to 8th August 2022. On behalf of everyone at R.M.Williams, we’d like to wish Team Australia the very best of luck – we’ll be supporting you every step of the way.