Ben Sherman Unveils Its Latest Collection with Team GB Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Celebrating their third, consecutive partnership to date...

Venturing into its third partnership with the Olympic Games, Ben Sherman is celebrating tradition, heritage and a wealth of values alongside Team GB.

Founded in 1963, the British label is renowned for its range of shirts, maintaining a balance between classic styles and forward-thinking, smart casual designs. In turn, across generations of youth culture the brand has established a presence and identity that speaks to the talent of tomorrow, now dressing the country’s top athletes.

Showcased through the Opening and Closing Ceremonies’ lifestyle apparel, Ben Sherman has picked out four of the most inspiring individuals to sport its latest collection; BMX racer Kye Whyte, swimmer Jacob Peters, sprinter Desirèe Henry and skateboarder Lola Tambling. The campaign brings a vibrant and relaxed energy to this year’s Paris 2024 Olympic Games, including a bomber jacket, a knitted open-neck polo and a collaboration with Happy Socks. Across, the designs illustrate the unity and history between the nations, a floral motif of a rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock imagery. Elsewhere, geometric patterns are printed over organic cotton, sporting the iconic blue, white and red colourways.

CLASH made their way down to the launch of Ben Sherman’s latest partnership with Team GB, sharing conversations with Desirèe Henry, Jacob Peters and creative director, Mark Williams.

Desirèe Henry & Jacob Peters Interviewed:

What does Ben Sherman represent to you? Are there any stories or anecdotes that pinpoint why you admire the brand?

Desirèe: Ben Sherman to me just highlights what British fashion is all about. Even from the design, you look at it and you think, yeah, this is a British stylist behind it. It’s nice to wear what the brand is all about.

Jacob: For me, it’s a real unity behind Team GB, it represents the success we’ve had over the years.

And how did you first get into your different sports of choice, what was that experience like?

Desirèe: For me, I’m the youngest sister of four and I think naturally, being a younger sister, I wanted to do everything that my older sisters were doing and one of them just so happened to be doing athletics at the time. So I gave it a go myself and realised that I’m pretty good at it, more specifically the sprinting side because I tried so many other sports and it was terrible. I think from there, from winning those few early competitions, I was consistently chasing that feeling.

Jacob: I’ve always been a water baby, really, from day one. My mum used to take me to the swimming pool, then I took a break and I didn’t really start swimming properly until I was about eight. My science teacher at school told me to join the swim team, she happened to be the head of the county committee for swimming. So we did a swimming competition, a little gala within school, and then she said I should start swimming and join a club. My parents were like, oh no, we’re going to take him and he’s going to be really bad. But I went, I enjoyed it, and I’ve been there from then. So eight years old to 23, 15 years now. 

What was that turning point for each of you when you realised you wanted to compete professionally?

Desirèe: My turning point came early on, I was 15 which is a young age for me to think, okay, this is what I want to be when I’m older. That was just after winning the World Youth Championships. I was aware that it was around 2012, so the Olympic Games were going on, or were about to begin, but I knew that I would be too young. Because I knew I was going to be too young, I just thought by the next Olympics, if I put my head down, I really want to make the next team. 

Jacob: So for me, I was 15 when I got my first national gold. And then at 17, I got into my first junior team, World Juniors in 2017. Six months after that, I went and got my first senior team, the Commonwealth Games 2018. I kept hitting, kept checking off these milestones, and eventually obviously, Tokyo 2021. All of them helped secure me and realise hang on, this is what I was meant to do, this is what I enjoy doing.

How do you tackle training, what helps you stay motivated and consistent? 

Desirèe: I’m fully aware that between this Olympics and the next one, they will probably be my last ones. So I realise that post those two Olympics, there’s not going to be an opportunity for me to go back in time and give it everything that I’ve got. So that’s why these few years are just so important.

I take it a day at a time. Some days you’re gonna wake up and you’re not going to work out, and that’s where I simplify things like okay, let’s get up, let’s have breakfast, let’s have a shower and take those small steps. I think those small steps have allowed me to continue for this long. Those moments add up into weeks, months and years.

Jacob: Yeah, I completely agree it’s all about milestones and stepping stones, taking those baby steps. If you just have a look at the end goal, it can seem daunting but when you break it down into small, little steps, it makes it so much easier along the way. Also having a team around you is crucial, whether that’s friends, family, teammates, coaches, they all help in their own little ways. None of us athletes would be where we are without them,

Desirèe: Absolutely not.

In what ways does your chosen sport help you express yourself as individuals, but both as athletes as well?

Desirèe: I think my sport, especially the training allows me to express how strong I am not just in an emotional sense but in a physical sense. In order to be a sprinter, you have to be quite powerful. I think as the years have gone on, I’ve noticed that when it comes to being in the gym, that’s an area where I actually enjoy seeing a whole bunch of weights on the bar, looking at it, thinking it’s impossible, and then going and doing it. I think just knowing the power of the mentality, believing that I can do something and then it translating into the performance of me being able to lift these weights, it makes me feel good as an individual all around. I feel strong mentally.

Jacob: It gives us an opportunity to showcase what we’ve been working for. I think for a lot of non-athletes, they find it hard to comprehend what we do, why we do it and where it’s gonna get us. I think having that competition, the end goal where you can express yourself and showcase everything, paint the picture of why you did that because they’ll never understand it if you explain it to them.

How do you approach competition and how do you progress when things don’t go as planned?

Desirèe: I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enter every single competition thinking that I can win, because that is the way to approach an upcoming competition, having that level of confidence. Again, it’s just that self-belief and trusting in the training that I’ve done, trusting in the preparation towards getting to the start line. To answer the second half of the question, when it doesn’t work out it’s just also remembering that it’s not the end of the world. There are so many other things that make me happy as an individual which makes it so much easier to then go back to the drawing board, look at the things that I didn’t do and have an honest conversation with myself.

Jacob: Yeah, I’d agree with confidence, trusting the process and self-belief. I think I’d also add: just don’t change. Some people can go into a competition and completely change who they are, and then don’t get the result they thought because they haven’t been doing what they’ve been practising. So if you go in, be yourself, express yourself and do the best you can do. That’s how you’re going to get the best result. 

As for things not going in the right way, well, I’ve had a little bit of a learning curve recently when I didn’t make Paris. That was a big hit for me because I was the number one pick. I was in good form, I was in a good place but got the final slightly wrong, came third, and wasn’t picked. It’s one of those things where I’ve taken a couple of weeks out to assess, went down to Newquay, did abit of surfing, cleared my head a bit and came back. Now I’ve got three competitions, so I’m just gonna finish with what I think would be a good finish for me.

What have been the highlights in your career thus far?

Jacob: Well, for me, qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo was massive. I finished my race, did the interview, sat down, phoned my mom and was like, Oh my God I made it! That moment for me was just unbelievable. And then the 2018 Commonwealth Games, they were my first senior competition, I just had an absolute blast four weeks out on the Gold Coast. I absolutely loved it. Those two for me are the biggest highlights.

Desiree: When you mentioned your mom, it made me think of the 2016 Olympics. I think one of the best moments is having my niece actually come to one of my competitions and watch me run. When I’ve been away, if I’ve missed her birthday and all that kind of stuff, it’s just like, ‘oh Auntie Des is at a competition!’. Whereas now, it was just so nice for her to actually see what I do. Especially with her being a young girl, I want to be a role model for her especially in sport.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead? What challenges are you building up towards?

Desirèe: I think for me right now, I’ve still got my trials. It’s coming up next month so I’m just trying to literally give it everything that I’ve got. As we know, female British sprinting is very, very competitive but today isn’t trials, meaning that I have an opportunity to try and aim for it, to try and go for it. 

Jacob: I’ve got a couple of competitions coming up. I’ve had a fairly disappointing season but for me now, I’ve readjusted my expectations for the season. I’ve got two competitions next week coming up, they’re like testers and process meets where I get my race done and get my strategy planned out. I want to prove to myself that I’m still good enough. I want to take a little break over summer and then come back next season stronger than ever.

Mark Williams (Creative Director of Ben Sherman) Interviewed

As their Official Supplier, how are you approaching the Olympic Games this time round? What makes this year different to the rest?

The process this time round from a design point of view is completely different and fresh. We’ve looked into making sure that we combine our Ben Sherman British heritage and DNA with Team GB’s personal values like integrity, strength, and camaraderie. We wanted to build something that was really original and spoke to each of the nations, and then by tying in all those flowers together, that gave us a sense of unity. We also wanted to have a clean, smart casual feel for the athletes, it’s really important that they feel comfortable. It’s a unisex look so it transcends right across, anybody can feel comfortable in the look.

What elements of Ben Sherman did you want to bring out in the opening and closing ceremony’s lifestyle apparel?

I think the red, white and blue is a very on-brand colour palette. That’s a natural fit for us anyway. We’ve managed to bring in some nice tipping details that we use within our collections on the cuffs and some other design details on the jacket. We then looked into our archives as well. The geometric print that you see on the opening ceremony knitwear, that’s a mix between a heritage archive print that we really liked and then we took inspiration from the Union Jack flag and fused those two ideas together. For me, it’s really about collaboration, bringing Ben Sherman DNA in, fusing that with traditional values and Team GB’s handwriting as well.

How does it feel to work with Team GB, particularly considering the influence of British heritage over Ben Sherman?

Amazing. The design process has been super cool. They’ve given us tonnes of flexibility, they want to work with us and see what we have from Ben Sherman, what we bring to the table. Going back and forth to perfect designs and products, how we fit on athletes, we get the right size, we listen to athletes all the way down to footwear.  How are they going to feel on the actual day of the ceremony? It’s a full 360 thought process when you’re working with Team GB. You’re designing products to function as well as be fashionable.

Check out the retail capsule on bensherman.com and temgb.com.

Words by: Ana Lamond

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