Commonwealth Games Wales has teamed up with the University of South Wales to design elements of the kit for Team Wales athletes travelling to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast. Wales will send a team of around 200 athletes to the games, kitted out in leggings that have been designed by winning student Meghan Bentley, and produced in Wales.
A fashion design competition was launched offering USW students a chance to represent the nation and stand in the global spotlight by designing Team Wales’ leggings. On choosing to join forces with the University of South Wales, Cathy Williams, Games Manager said: “Team Wales is aware of the high calibre of students the University has to offer. I was keen to engage a wider audience in support of Team Wales, not just sports fans, and this was the perfect opportunity. The fact we are also producing the leggings in Wales is perfect, as Team Wales is all about the passion we have representing Wales, and this project highlights the breadth of talent we have on our doorstep.”
On the collaboration, Principal Lecturer at USW Patricia Brien said: “It’s great for our students to be involved in a live brief and to gain first-hand experience of producing work for an external client. It is particularly exciting that Meghan will get to see her leggings being produced locally in Penarth and then see them being worn by Welsh athletes on an international platform.”
A panel of experts gave three finalists the task of creating a design which would encompass the values of Team Wales - pride, passion, togetherness and belief. The judging panel comprised: Patricia Brien, Fashion and 3D Design Principal Lecturer USW, Steve Wright, Fashion Design Course Leader USW; Cathy Williams, Games Manager for Commonwealth Games Wales; Kath Grimmitt, owner of the Power of Greyskull, Welsh manufacturer of funky leggings; and Bethan Dyke, Wales Netball International and member of Team Wales’ Athletes Commission.
Meghan Bentley created the winning design, and said: “The design was inspired by the pride and passion of Wales merged together with the colours and vibrancy of the Gold Coast. I always lean more towards colourful designs as with sportswear I feel like you can get away with wearing the boldest colours and prints on clothing that gets you noticed.” Meghan, who lives in Maidenhead, is in her third year at USW. Winning the competition really fits her ambition to enter the sportswear design industry on completion of her studies.
Meghan’s passion for sportswear design has continued in her final University collection, creating sportswear for people with disabilities. Models used for this collection include Paralympian and World Champion athletes Tony Mills and Kyron Duke, members of Disability Sport Wales.
In addition to featuring on the international stage, Meghan’s design also landed her a two-week internship with a top fashion designer.
The leggings have been produced in The Power of Greyskull athleisurewear, Penarth. The Power of Greyskull design and make all their sportswear in house and offer a made to measure service. It was a perfect fit for the project as they are based in Wales and produce great quality sports apparel. Owner Kath Grimmittsaid: "It's been an absolute pleasure working with USW and Commonwealth Games Wales. Meghan’s design is perfect for representing the country and we're thrilled that as a Welsh maker we were able to make them come to life."
Bethan Dyke is a member of the Team Wales Athletes Commission, directly connecting the athletes representing us on Gold Coast with Commonwealth Games Wales, the national body responsible for selecting and sending elite athletes to compete for Wales at the Games. Bethan said: “The leggings will be a perfect addition to the leisure clothing, ideal for travelling and casual wear. The leggings will set Wales apart from all the other countries due to Meghan's unique design. If I’m lucky enough to be selected for the Games, I can’t wait to wear the leggings in the Gold Coast”.