Skylar Diggins-Smith launches first Puma assortment, ‘Desert Sky’ — Andscape

It’s been virtually 5 years since WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith grew to become the primary basketball participant to signal with Puma in almost 20 years. On the time, her resolution was known as fearless, contemplating the model didn’t even have basketball sneakers for her to play in but.

“I used to be listening to a imaginative and prescient and taking a leap of religion coming from different manufacturers,” mentioned Diggins-Smith, an All-Star guard with the Phoenix Mercury, after beginning her profession with Nike and sporting Adidas in school.

After rolling out of a handful of basketball silhouettes that drafted off of the model’s iconic “Clyde” sneaker — the primary signature sneaker made for an NBA participant, named after Seventies New York Knicks guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier — Puma’s imaginative and prescient for its feminine athletes started to take form a 12 months in the past.

The model added costume designer and stylist June Ambrose as inventive director of Puma Girls’s Basketball with the launch of the Excessive Court docket Assortment in late 2021. That served as a place to begin for the model highlighting a mixture of versatile silhouettes that would work on or off court docket.

Alongside the way in which, Diggins-Smith was working up her personal capsule sequence — sneakers, a jersey gown, shorts and a T-shirt — named the “Desert Sky” assortment.

As Diggins-Smith started creating the sequence with a crew of Puma designers, she regarded on the nature of the town she presently calls dwelling.

“It’s the illustration of duality for me,” she mentioned. “After I obtained out right here and noticed that there have been mountains and the way scenic it was, there was one thing in regards to the dawn and sunsets, and the colour simply caught my eye. After I take into consideration dawn, I take into consideration alternative and new chapters. After I take into consideration a sundown, I take into consideration reflection and that distinction.”

Whereas the hues are impressed by Phoenix’s landscapes, the orange and purple tones additionally tie on to her crew’s colours. Throughout a time when the WNBA and NBA not have any shade guidelines for sneakers, that’s turn into a bit uncommon for athletes’ collections.

Posing poolside with the sneakers, or styled in a contemporary mansion within the elongated snap-off jersey gown, even the way in which the marketing campaign imagery was photographed took on a brand new tone for Diggins-Smith and Puma.

“I cherished it and the flexibility of not simply standing within the gymnasium and bouncing a ball,” she mentioned. 

When she first debuted items from the gathering, the Mercury star took benefit of the photographers awaiting her arrival for one more dwelling sport tunnel entry shoot. She strode in sporting the No. 4 jersey gown, snakeskin pants, boots and darkish shades, and carried the “Desert Sky” TRC Blaze Court docket sneakers.

Skylar Diggins-Smith arrives on the Footprint Heart in Phoenix on July 29 in a jersey gown from her Puma assortment.

Kate Frese/NBAE through Getty Photographs

“You see an increasing number of gamers being very intentional about what they’re placing on these days,” she mentioned. “I find it irresistible that persons are paying consideration, as a result of there may be loads of storytelling that goes together with these outfits that we’re placing collectively. Particulars that inform lots about somebody’s private fashion.”

For instance, the jersey gown within the assortment represents the late ’90s and early 2000s for Diggins-Smith. 

“That was the nostalgia of after I first began loving basketball and first began hooping, and people type of vibrant colours at the moment,” she mentioned. 

The gathering additionally features a graphic T- shirt that ties again to Diggins-Smith’s household, her journey within the sport, and her start line with Puma.

Skylar Diggins-Smith wears a “You Do You” T-shirt from her new Puma assortment.

Puma

The tee has a growling Puma cat throughout the entrance, and reads “You Do You” under it. It’s a nod to the message of encouragement her mother Renee, who is aware of American Signal Language, would give her earlier than her youth basketball video games.

“She would at all times sit method up prime, so she might simply be in her zone,” recalled Diggins-Smith. “What she did, is she’d signal to me, ‘You Do You.’ Like, you do your factor. It doesn’t matter what, be your self and don’t be like anybody else.”

Alongside the tongue of the sneakers and the left sleeve of the shirt are a sequence of signal language gestures that spell out the phrase. 

“Even taking part in in entrance of hundreds and hundreds of individuals, I spot her within the crowd nonetheless and she or he’ll say the identical factor to me when she involves video games now. That was the symbolism there,” she continued. “My mother was at all times encouraging me to be myself, and that’s the message that I need everybody to really feel. This present day, the place everyone seems to be attempting to mimic someone or emulate someone, simply do you.”

Skylar Diggins-Smith wears the “Desert Sky” TRC Blaze Court docket sneakers, which have “Magnificence” and “Beast” on the again.

Gary Dineen/NBAE through Getty Photographs

When she appeared in her sixth WNBA All-Star Sport final month in Chicago, Diggins-Smith donned her “Desert Sky” sneakers, revealing further phrases on each of the heel strips. The left facet learn “Magnificence,” reverse of “Beast.” 

“It’s actually about that duality,” she mentioned. “Once you see me off the court docket or exterior of this aspect, I’m totally different. After I’m in that fight-or-flight second and the aggressive juices are turned on, it’s like I by no means know what I’m going to do the subsequent minute.”

Since Diggins-Smith signed on in 2017, the Puma Hoops’ girls’s lineup has added Brenna Stewart, former No. 1 WNBA choose Jackie Younger, sharpshooter Katie Lou Samuelson and extra just lately in Might, No. 2 choose NaLyssa Smith.

Diggins-Smith, Stewart and Younger appeared on this 12 months’s All-Star Sport.

“We have been very properly represented there for our model, contemplating that’s 60% of our [Puma] roster,” she joked. 

With the debut of Stewart’s “Stewie 1” signature shoe — the primary WNBA signature shoe in a decade — and Diggins-Smith’s upcoming “Desert Sky” assortment, Puma plans to proceed highlighting its 5 WNBA headliners.

“That’s dope that the model simply continues to set the bar for manufacturers with what we do,” mentioned Diggins-Smith. “Displaying that they’re investing of their athletes, it’s going past the court docket and rising the sport.”

Nick DePaula is a footwear business and life-style author at Andscape. The Sacramento, California, native has been primarily based in Portland, Oregon, for the final decade, a predominant hub of sneaker firm headquarters. He’ll typically argue that How To Lose a Man in 10 Days is definitely an underrated film, largely as a result of it’s the one time his Sacramento Kings have made the NBA Finals.

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