This summer’s must-have fashion accessory

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/ Accessories

It might resemble a tea towel and perhaps it would take Johnny Depp to make it look cool, but the BOA’s scarf could help fund our athletes to the tune of £5m.

British Olympic chiefs last night revealed the item of merchandise they believe will be a soaraway commercial success to help fund the £13 million cost of sending Team GB to the London Games.

At first glance, the 90cm² cotton scarf, costing £10, resembles a tea towel. The smaller £5 version could be something my grandmother would have used to cover her hair. The red and blue GB lion set against a white background containing thousands of hieroglyphics – an English rose, a London cab and a sign for the M1 to name a few – gives it a confused look. (The Paralympics version of a lion face-on, minus the messy backdrop, is more visually striking.)

But the scarf, made by Next in Turkish and Portuguese factories, comes into its own as a fashion accessory when you scrunch it up, wrap it around your head or use it as a belt. Admittedly, beautiful models on a catwalk can make a bin liner look wearable, but it does possess a vintage look that goes rather well with denim.

A group of scarily confident, and acrobatic, eight-year-olds who appeared to have stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch advert showed how the idea just might work by becoming the must-have accessory of the summer. Think black rubber bands and A-ha’s Morten Harket and bandanas wrapped around the wrist of Johnny Depp in 21 Jump St and you’ve got the general 80s throwback idea.

Whether it manages to emulate the red mittens produced by the Canadian Olympic Committee for the Vancouver 2010 winter Games (they sold 4.3 million pairs) depends on a popular factor outside the control of the British Olympic Association. All BOA chiefs can do is ensure hip celebrities wear the scarf and give it some street cred.

Louis Smith does make it look cool as a bandana but for most of us it might end up fashioned as a hanky on our heads (bring on the sunshine).

There are apparently 47 ways to wear it – they’re aiming for 100. The initial production run is 500,000 but could extend to 1 million or more, which would raise up to £5 million for Team GB.

At least it demonstrates a bit of creativity from the BOA, often accused of being out of touch, and will stand out from the shelves of mundane corporate mugs and caps in the official 2012 merchandise stores.

Let’s hope Locog allow for it to be sold near Olympic venues and don’t block it for commercial reasons. After all, the profits go towards funding our athletes. And that’s something we should support.

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