BAXTER — When people are watching the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia, they should pay close attention to what the ice skaters are wearing.
They just may be wearing costumes made right here in Baxter. Just For Kix (JFK), which made costumes for the Super Bowl two times in the past four years, has stepped up their work internationally.
JFK Executive Director Cindy Clough said they were asked to make the costumes for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. JFK made the costumes in early January and shipped 17 boxes on Jan. 17.
Clough said JFK was asked to make the costumes similar to the ones they made for the 2011 Super Bowl. The costumes were the lighted, silver hooded unitard worn by dancers who performed with the Black Eyed Peas.
Clough said they actually brought back the costumes they made after the Super Bowl in 2011 because nobody wanted them and they were just going to be thrown away. Clough said all they had to do for the Winter Olympics was modify the costumes and make a few additional costumes. JFK added more lights and velcro to the costumes before they were shipped. They also had to make matching roller blade/ice skating covers.
Clough said JFK submitted preliminary bids to do the costumes for the Super Bowl this year but decided to give it up because of the amount of time it would have needed to do the costumes.
Then the Olympic request for costumes came in. Clough thought it sounded like an exciting and easy job. Clough said David Profeta, who works in Los Angeles, contacted her. Profeta and Clough have a friend in common — Kristen Patterson Terry. Terry used to work in the JFK Brainerd office as an intern and summer camp dance teacher years ago. Terry, who is a Wayzata native, has done the choreography for the Super Bowl in the past. Terry is a free-lance producer and choreographer.
Terry is how JFK first got the job to the costumes in 2011 for the Super Bowl. JFK did costumes for the Super Bowl again in 2013, where they made basic black leotards with a double-breasted jacket.
Clough’s assistant, Amanda Clough, spent a great deal of time on the costumes for the Olympics. She had to find the old costumes and then get them ready for Olympic’s guidelines, plus make new ones. She had to count and check them multiple times to make sure they were right for the job. Cindy Clough’s daughter Alexandra Clough, a 2007 Brainerd High School graduate, designed and made the roller blade/ice skating covers.
There were a total of 324 costumes/covers that were shipped.
“This was a labor intensive project,” said Cindy Clough of making the costumes for the Olympics. “I had no idea. It’s been really hard working through all the international red tape. One of the worries with the shipping is the threat of terrorism, which is what added to the red tape.
“The hardest part with the entire job was shipping the costumes to Russia. They have such strict duties and custom laws that they actually had someone fly to get the costumes.”
Amanda Clough said each box had to have its own, specific invoice and a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. The box had to include exactly what was in it, the size and weight. If that information wasn’t on the box it would be shipped back to Baxter.
Clough said the sizing chart in Russia is different from what’s used in America, so that also was time consuming getting all the costumes sized right.
Clough said they are excited to have Olympic athletes wear their costumes.
“It’s be exciting to see the costumes we made worn across the world on TV,” said Clough. They’ll be moving fast, so it should be fun to see.”
Clough said there is a possibility that their costumes will not be used for the Olympic opening ceremony. Clough said Profeta told her: “The whole number is in danger of getting cut as it was not coming together as it should.”