The Olympic Games are an international multi-sport event designed to display athletic prowess and feats of strength. But the Olympic Opening Ceremony is where the over 200 nations represented really show out during the Parade of Nations as they make their way into the stadium decked out in sartorial splendor.
Some countries stay true to their roots — Bermuda wore Bermuda shorts. Others keep it a bit casual: see the glistening and shirtless flagbearers from Tonga and Vanuatu. But whether elaborate or stylishly simple, the fashions are always a talking point.
The Tokyo 2021 Olympic Opening Ceremony was a bit more subdued than usual this year without the large crowds usually in attendance, but the stylistic choices of the nations made a lot of noise. Among the head-turners were the representatives from the African nations, who set the internet ablaze with chatter as they sashayed across the Olympic Stadium. From high fashion designers to elaborate prints, here are some of the African countries who won the Olympic gold for national wear.
Angola’s flagbearer’s golden skirt commanded a lot of attention right out of the gate. But the rest of the team were no shrinking violets. The flag’s colors swirled over black mini dresses and patterned shirts.
Benin’s bold indigo and floral print was the perfect blend of quirky and stylish. The look made the French-speaking West African nation one of the night’s standouts.
Cameroon’s basic Black tunic and wrap skirt came to life with colorful and intricate embroidery, accompanied by flag-themed headdress.
4. Côte d'Ivoire
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Flag colors were naturally a pervasive theme throughout the night and Côte d’Ivoire kept on-trend with orange, green, and white patterned prints.
Ghana’s all-white ensemble popped off thanks to the multicolored strip down the front center.
Wanja Ngare described her designs for Kenya’s Olympic entrance as “a global print on a global platform with a global winner.” The Masai-inspired outfit depicts being battle-ready which is definitely the energy needed at sports’ premiere event.
Telfar Clemens, creator of the über-popular Bushwick Birkin, paid homage to his Liberian heritage by designing a seventy-piece wardrobe for the team. A capsule athleisure collection will be available online during the Games.
Senegal’s team looked positively regal in a long royal blue tunic and pants combo.
Uganda’s vibrant maxi, square-necked dresses, and color block shirts were a play on the yellow, red, black hues of their national flag.
Zambia topped off black pants with a green tunic featuring a mélange of flag-colored trimmings.