TELFAR Creator Designs Collection for Liberia at Olympics Opening Ceremony
Text: Greg Marku
Founder Telfar Clemens presented TELFAR’s first runway collection in over a year at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The collection was modeled with the Liberian National Team as the Olympics Opening Ceremony where Clemens himself walked as Liberia’s flag bearer.
After arriving in LeFrak City in Queens in 1990 after Liberia’s Civil War broke out, Clemens brought his family back for the first time in 30 years. In the midst of his emotional arrival, TELFAR received the call from the Liberian Olympic Committee.
The independent, black-owned, non-gendered label sketched the collection while in Africa with 28 pieces created for the opening ceremony collection. The collection consists of dripping silhouettes that are both regal and casual as well as navy and red floor-length jerseys with mesh side panels that give view to maxi basketball shorts and trousers. Basketball and soccer tops are spliced into three-headed tunics displaying the shoulders in a striped rib-knit frame and the traditional African lappa, which TELFAR has procured in 2009 without knowing its origins, is revamped in navy jersey.
The eight performance pieces, which are Clemens’ first creations in performance wear, bring his signature shapes to genderless competition wear in navy and white. The half-tank vers from head to shoulder in a long sleeve compression top and a sleeveless singlet and the same diagonal ellipse cuts through the center of leggings and bike shorts, and cuts the arm across the chest of a one sleeve compression T, along with a unisex halter and short shorts.
The 28 casual pieces consist of tracksuits in navy and sand, featuring printed jersey panels and bottoms which feature pockets hidden in their side stripes and unzip from ankle to thigh.
TELFAR brings back the tall T-shirt and tank tops fashioning them with pockets, cropped hoodies and sweatshirts, and cuts his T-shirts into a single panel with two ties at the waist and tunnels a drawstring at the waists of mesh T’s. The styles feature the lone-star of Liberia as well as the new Pan-African-Performance symbol shedding light on TELFAR’s upcoming September show at New York Fashion Week,
In a campaign directed by Terrence Nance and shot by Jason Nocito, TELFAR’s debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was also a chance for Telfar and the Liberian National Team to gather to dress, eat, and conduct their own ceremony ahead of the Olympics.