BURTON’S BIG AIR: With the start of the Winter Olympic Games now under the 100-day mark, Burton has unveiled its spacesuit-inspired uniforms for the U.S. snowboarding team.
The concept was an easy sell with athletes vying for the Olympics, according to Greg Dacyshyn, who handled the design and said, “They just look really cool. Everyone loves a spacesuit, but also spacesuits are built to function, right? There can be no failure. They are the ultimate in form follows function as far as the design of a garment goes.”
For a roundtable with prospective wearers, Dacyshyn brought along two highly technical fabrics — silver microfilament that is coated in aluminum for a “Terminator 2” effect and the “stronger than steel” Dyneema — and not just 2-D renderings and sketches. Hopefuls include Hailey Langland, Chloe Kim, Ben Ferguson, Kelly Clark, Danny Davis and Red Gerard, among others. “The fabric really took it over the edge. They loved the theme to start with. When I showed the fabric, it was sort of a next level of applause,” Dacyshyn said.
His advance work for the uniforms included touring the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “At the time, I was talking with the Smithsonian about doing another program, and then just got sort of wrapped up in looking at all the spacesuits. It’s very NASA-inspired, absolutely,” Dacyshyn said. “The athletes are the first ones to say, ‘If they think they look good, they ride better.”
The Pyeongchang Games will be the fourth consecutive Winter Olympics that Burton has suited up the U.S. snowboarding team by partnering with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association. Having always wanted to give a nod to the past and Americana, Dacyshyn said the brand’s previous uniforms were Yankees-inspired with pinstripes for Torino in 2006, workwear and denim-esque for Vancouver in 2010 and then a “hippie collide, quilt sort of pattern” for Sochi in 2014. Aside from the silver monofilament fabrics, which must be woven on a vintage machine in Italy, the 2018 snowboarders’ uniforms will be made in factories that Burton uses in Asia. “They’re trusted vendors we have worked with sort of for ever,” Dacyshyn said. “They are people we depend on who make great garments.” At the Olympics in South Korea, the brand will also provide a few hundred garments to suit up U.S. snowboarding staff.
Starting Thursday, shoppers at Burton stores and e-commerce site will be able to find some Olympic-themed items and a second group will be rolled out in December. The combined assortment will include hooded down jackets, zip-front fleece tops, pocket T-shirts and leather mittens, among other items.
Dacyshyn maintain his close ties to Burton through Camp High, the agency he set up in Burlington, Vt., earlier this year. Having first joined Burton in 1997, Dacyshyn has been engrained in snowboarding long enough to remember when Time magazine pegged it as “the worst new sport” in 1988. “Yes, it has been called that for sure. Hopefully, we have proved them very wrong. Nobody bats a 1,000, but thank God they were wrong on that one,” he said.