Ralph Lauren's U.S. Olympic Team Jackets Feature Built-In Cooling Technology
Temperatures in Tokyo are expected to reach 95 degrees with humidity as high as 80% during the Olympic Games, and not every athlete has the luxury of competing in a swimming pool.
To keep athletes on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams comfortable in the heat, uniform designer Ralph Lauren has integrated some cooling technology into the Opening Ceremony Parade uniform. The new RL Cooling technology was developed specifically for the athletes, and monitors skin temperatures the same way a computer’s cooling device detects heat.
When the wearer gets warm, the garment will “emit a cooling sensation that athletes can feel immediately,” according to WWD.
The technology is so new that only flag bearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez will get the RL Cooling jackets for the Opening Ceremonies, but everyone will receive a device to add into their blazers after the Games are over.
— Haylie McCleney (@hayliemac8) July 15, 2021
The idea of “personal thermal management” came from the desire for more environmentally-friendly action. Ralph Lauren chief branding/innovation officer and vice chairman David Lauren said that the technology should “start a conversation” about sustainability, and that air conditioning large stadiums is harmful to the planet.
These self-cooling jackets aren’t available to the public yet, but Lauren thinks the RL Cooling technology can see applications in workwear and sportswear in the future.
“The idea of being cool and feeling cool is not so far in the future,” Lauren told WWD. “It will get simpler, but it’s coming.”
For the 2018 Olympics, Ralph Lauren designed a heated jacket that is now available to the public. So, once the Olympics are over, athletes get a jacket that they can keep as a memento of one of the greatest sports achievements on Earth, and the rest of us can hope that the cooling technology makes its way to shops.