When the European Solheim Cup team won the Solheim Cup on American soil for the first time in August, they were wearing apparel by Swedish brand abacus. Alexandra Yllö, Event and Partner Manager at abacus Sportswear, speaks exclusively to GOLF RETAILING about a week to remember.
Europe’s Solheim Cup team had never won in the United States, and neither were they expected to this year, as a young team with six rookies travelled to Colorado to face a home team staffed by icons of women’s golf: Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie and Christie Kerr. Not only did Europe win though, they set a record winning margin in the Solheim Cup, 18-10, and Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall became the first Solheim Cup golfer to claim five points from five matches.
It was an historic achievement for the team captained by Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann, and it was all done in team uniforms made by abacus. All the work – the exhaustive design process, the fittings, the logistics of delivering nearly 3,000 items of clothing to Colorado – paid off.
“I will never forget the feeling I had watching the drama unfold at Colorado Golf Club,” starts Alexandra Yllö, Event and Partner Manager at abacus Sportswear. “Being there to witness such a momentous European win was absolutely fantastic. From the morning of the first day when Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall won the first point for Europe, the excitement just snowballed as the week progressed. You could not have predicted it.”
abacus has clothed the European team, caddies and officials since 2007, with 2013 being its fourth Solheim Cup, with head designer Chris Mattsson working closely with each captain to ensure the team uniforms reflect both the traits of abacus and the preferences of each team’s captain, and that they are suited to the expected weather conditions of the host region.
“Chris started looking at ideas for the 2013 Solheim Cup team kit at the beginning of 2012,” explains Yllö. “Drawing on experience of dressing three previous Solheim Cup teams, Chris understood the importance of technical fabrics and functionality, freedom of movement and, of course, comfort. For the 2013 Solheim Cup kit, she also had to consider Colorado’s variable climate conditions, which, although typically humid at that time of year, could include thunderstorms and rain showers.
“In May last year, Liselotte Neumann visited abacus Sportswear’s offices in Sweden to go over Chris’ suggestions and collection sketches, and her sense of style on and off the golf course was apparent from the beginning, complementing Chris’ flair and creativity. The two of them worked really well together.
“In order to remain comfortable in the hot, muggy Colorado climate, it was important the outfits be lightweight and breathable. We also knew Liselotte wanted the clothing to be light-coloured, as black or dark clothing traps the heat.”
Essential items of the 2013 Solheim Cup team kit included Forged polos made of Drycool fabric, which is designed for optimal wicking capabilities and added protection against the sun’s UV rays. Technical waterproof WindVent pieces – the reversible Trace vest and Waterville softshell vest – protected the players against the north-easterly winds Colorado GC was exposed to during the tournament, as well as the light rain showers the team experienced at the beginning of the week. Each player was presented with 41 items for the week’s golf, along with seven pairs of socks.
An unforgettable week for abacus saw the merchandise tent at Colorado GC virtually sell out of all abacus stock, and stock on sale through the Solheim Cup’s website has virtually sold through as well. Looking ahead, watch out for a commemorative jacket emblazoned with The 2013 Solheim Cup logo.
Measured approach: Seamstress Lisa Martell Mielson makes final adjustments in Colorado abacus & the 2013 Solheim Cup.