Take a stunning, picture-postcard setting, throw in an infectious soundtrack that will thrill millions all over the world, and add a group of models and volunteers that reflect the beauty, grace and warmth of the Brazilian people. Together these ingredients helped create a unique atmosphere for a very special event: a fashion show held at the Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to launch the official volunteer uniforms for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
In a moment they will never forget, 14 World Cup volunteers shared the Fashion Rio catwalk with the presenter Fernanda Lima, top model Lais Ribeiro, 2002 World Cup winners Cafu and Juliano Belletti, and synchronized swimming twins Bia and Branca Feres. Together they unveiled the outfits, which have been especially designed and produced by adidas for the 14,000 volunteers.
The uniforms will be distributed in backpacks provided by Johnson & Johnson, the contents of which will vary depending on the climate in each Host City during the World Cup. The basic kit includes a baseball cap, T-shirt, zip-off convertible trousers, trainers and socks.
Volunteers in Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Sao Paulo will receive a woolly hat, gloves and winter coat, while those in other cities will receive a lighter, waterproof jacket.
“We wanted to make nature an integral part of the uniforms and bring in things like the sun, waves, trees, palm trees and leaves,” said Rodrigo Messias, the Director of adidas’ 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Project. “Linking everything together is carnaval, the great Brazilian festival, while the colours reflect the happiness, enthusiasm and passion that the Brazilian people have for the World Cup. In terms of sustainability, all the items are made from recyclable material.”
This uniform is fantastic and with its colours and designs, it expresses a little bit of the joy that the people of Brazil are known for.
Any nerves the volunteers-cum-models may have felt at making their fashion show debuts were soothed by the sound of We Are One (Ole Ola), the official song of Brazil 2014, performed by Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte and released by Sony Music on Tuesday, 8 April. Taking to the catwalk like naturals, they strutted their stuff with no little style.
“This is the first time I’ve done any modelling and I think I did OK,” commented Carlos Alberto de Lima, 66, who will be working in accreditation at the Maracana. “I’m a guy who likes to joke around, but when it comes to work I take things very seriously. I even went and asked the girls who model for a living how they do that little turn for the photographers at the end of the runway.”
Veterans of the biggest fashion events in the world, Lima and Ribeiro were suitably impressed by the performance of their amateur colleagues, and had nothing but praise for the uniforms.
“I think the uniforms are very nice, comfortable and representative of Brazil,” said Lima. “The volunteers feel comfortable wearing these clothes and they’re going to be able to do their job properly. We are extremely hospitable people here in Brazil and I am sure the volunteers will be good hosts and will help fans out during the World Cup matches.”
For her part, Ribeiro, who was recently voted the 15th sexiest model in the world, said she was delighted to be taking part in an event that is an important part of the preparations for the World Cup: “I feel privileged to be here, taking part in this show. This uniform is very colourful and reflects what Brazil is all about. They got it just right.”
After many years of “parading” with the ball on the biggest football stages in the world, Cafu and Belletti emphasised the importance of wearing comfortable, high-quality uniforms.
“Everyone wants to be wearing comfortable gear when they’re working, and this volunteer uniform is outstanding,” said Belletti. “The clothes are good quality and they feel good too. It’s just another of the pleasant surprises created by the World Cup in Brazil.”
Twice a world champion with Brazil, in 1994 and 2002, Cafu echoed his colleague’s sentiments: “All you want when you’re an athlete is comfortable kit. The same goes for any professional, and it’s no different for the World Cup volunteers. When you’ve got a uniform that’s well made, you’re happier in your work. This uniform is fantastic and with its colours and designs, it expresses a little bit of the joy that the people of Brazil are known for.”
Having taken part in many big sporting events across the world, the Feres twins know just how important uniforms are in helping fans identify volunteers when in need of assistance.
“Whenever an athlete or a fan needs help they go straight to a volunteer,” said Branca. “This uniform is definitely going to catch people’s eye during the World Cup. It’s colourful and pretty too.”
Bia shared her sister’s view: “As an athlete I’m always wearing clothes like these. It’s everyday gear for me. The uniform is really pretty.”
Guests at the launch of the Brazil 2014 volunteer uniforms were each given a copy of the Ola Brasil CD. Released by Sony Music, it features a selection of massive worldwide hits that are sure to get the fans dancing at the tournament.
FIFA’s commercial partners are playing a vital role in giving the World Cup volunteers all the support they need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. Aside from the backpacks, Johnson & Johnson are also offering medical support at the volunteer centres set up at each of the 12 competition venues, whole McDonald’s are offering training to help volunteers fulfil their duties and be ready for the World Cup.