Indigenous culture to be woven into Australia’s 2016 Paralympic uniform

It is hoped the textile design will give Australian athletes a sense of pride as they make history at Rio 2016. 28 Sep 2015
Balarinji’s textile design for Australian Paralympic uniform

Balarinji’s textile design for uniform of the Rio 2016 Australian Paralympic Team.

ⒸAustralian Paralympic Committee
By Australian Paralympic Committee

The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has announced a partnership with Indigenous design studio Balarinji, to intertwine Indigenous artwork into the competition wear of the Rio 2016 Australian Paralympic Team.

Chef de Mission of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team Kate McLoughlin said that while wearing Green and Gold will be an honour for all of Australia’s 2016 Paralympic athletes, the incorporation of Balarinji’s textile design will further connect each athlete to the Team and give them a stronger sense of Australian identity as they strive for a common goal.

“After consulting a number of Paralympians from the London 2012 Team, the APC decided that including an Indigenous element to the uniform would not only celebrate Australia’s rich culture and heritage, it would give Australia’s athletes a sense of pride as they too become part of Australia’s history,” McLoughlin said.

“We feel that these design elements of the 2016 Paralympic uniform help capture the spirit and history of our country and we’re very excited to see our Team wear it in Rio next year, in front of what is expected to be the largest global audience the Paralympic movement has ever reached.”

Balarinji’s textile design for the Rio 2016 Australian Paralympic Team uniform carries the meaning of ‘landmark, presence on country.’ It is about identity and purpose. Connected circles express the strength of shared intent, and the strings of dots depict dynamic energy. The design also differentiates Australia from other nations, and reflects the diversity and values that Paralympians embody.

Balarinji Design Studio has previously had artwork featured on uniforms including that of APC sponsor Qantas.

“It has been a privilege for our studio to be commissioned by the Australian Paralympic Committee for this iconic project,” Balarinji’s Managing Director Ros Moriarty said.

“We are delighted Australia’s brilliant Paralympians will celebrate our nation’s Aboriginal and Torres Straight cultural heritage on the world stage.”

The competition wear will be the most visual of the Australian Paralympic Team’s uniform, and Balarinji’s design will be critical to best identify Australia’s athletes, McLoughlin said.

“When Australia’s Paralympians stand on top of the dias wearing their medal ceremony jackets, there will be a point of difference to countries such as host nation Brazil and South Africa, both of which share a similar national colour palette.

“There will be no confusion as to who our athletes are, and we are proud that the Indigenous culture and artwork will become a part of our victories at next year’s Games,” she said.

The full design of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team’s competition, casual and ceremony wear will be unveiled early next year in conjunction with sponsors 2XU and R.M Williams.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will take place between 7-18 September 2016