National colors

With Japan’s own kimono as one notable exception, national dress is becoming rarer and rarer on the world stage, replaced instead with a generic global uniform filled with design elements of generally Western origin.

The imminent Olympic and Paralympic Games — one of the largest gatherings of shared global culture, but one where we stand separated by country — presents this tension well. It comes out vividly in the uniforms the athletes wear, each illustrating the values the country wishes to embody. So, as you watch the opening ceremony, do bear in mind that you are watching one of the largest runway shows the world has to offer.