If you can't be inside the Olympic Games, then follow Seattle Times producers, reporters, videographers and Olympic fans as we take you to the streets of Vancouver, B.C., to show you what's happening on the ground and give you a taste of the scene swirling around the 2010 winter games.
A Canadian Olympic fashion trend everyone's in on
Posted by Tiffany Campbell
If you don't know what I'm talking about, you've clearly not seen a moment of the Olympic news coverage. In Vancouver, the mittens are everywhere. They're on fans:
On B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell as he ziplines across Robson Square:
On the statue of Harry Winston Jerome in Vancouver's Stanley Park:
And even on Stephen Colbert:
(Photos by Getty Images).
But, bad news, Olympic fans. If you don't already have a pair, you've probably missed your chance. As of Monday, the downtown Vancouver "Olympic Superstore" was out of all but children's smalls, and store director Dana Hall estimated that even those would be gone by today.
Hall said that that more than 3 million have been sold now and that's all there are. Hall commented on why the mittens were so popular as a souvenir: "It's a practical item at 10 dollars; everyone can afford it ... they are lightweight, packable, they don't break ... It was just the perfect item."
At the Olympic Superstore downtown, the line to enter is almost always stretching along the block. The waits vary from 20 minutes to more than an hour. Hall guesses that roughly 20 thousand people are moving through daily (they don't have official traffic counters in the store). Employees with bullhorns walk up and down the line advising customers of what they don't have in stock, namely the mittens and the other very popular item, the Canada hoodie for $50.00.
To keep up with demand, the store has been adjusting hours, even keeping the store open for 24 straight hours last Saturday. But they've canceled plans for that on the closing weekend. Hall says they are constantly evaluating the hours and will start opening earlier Wednesday. Inside, the store is crowded with people rifling through bins of plush stuffed mascots, yanking clothes over their heads to try them on in the aisle and there is an air of just-barely-controled pandemonium.
"It seems like every Canadian wants to be wearing this right now," Hall said. "Canadians are not really out there with the Canadian flags on a regular basis. We're a pretty quiet people, but ... people are loving wearing this stuff right now."
All designs of the Canada Olympic Gear are by Hudson Bay Company's fashion director Suzanne Timmins.
The only thing that seems to be more popular than the mittens is Quatchi, and when you put them together, it's like some sort of consumer nuclear explosion.
Quatchi, an official Olympic mascot, is also everywhere at the store. Big ones for $350.00:
Other items of note:
-Hudson's "international pavilion" is the first of its kind. A special area on the 5th floor (and generally out of the frenzy downstairs) was set up for other countries to sell the clothing their own Olympic athletes are wearing. 12 countries are represented, including Russia, Finland, New Zealand and the Ukraine.
Other popular items:
At Hudson's Bay, they stock items in a range of prices, including the cheapest at .59 cents, a postcard. Most expensive item: A canoe for $7500.00
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