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 first basketball participant to signal with Puma in practically 20 years. At the time, her resolution was referred to as fearless, contemplating the model did not 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 carrying Adidas in school.

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

The model added costume designer and stylist June Ambrose as inventive director of Puma Women’s Basketball with the launch of the High Court Collection 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 courtroom .

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

As Diggins-Smith started creating the sequence with a workforce of Puma designers, she seemed on the nature of town she at the moment calls house.

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

While the hues are impressed by Phoenix’s landscapes, the orange and purple tones additionally tie on to her workforce’s colours. During a time when the WNBA and NBA now not have any shade guidelines for sneakers, that is 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 costume, even the way in which the marketing campaign imagery was photographed took on a brand new tone for Diggins-Smith and Puma.

“I beloved 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 house recreation tunnel entry shoot. She strode in carrying the No. 4 jersey costume, snakeskin pants, boots and darkish shades, and carried the “Desert Sky” TRC Blaze Court sneakers.

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

Kate Frese/NBAE through Getty Images

“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 individuals are paying consideration, as a result of there’s a number of storytelling that goes together with these outfits that we’re placing collectively. Details that inform lots about somebody’s private type.”

For instance, the jersey costume 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 sort of vibrant colours at the moment,” she mentioned.

The assortment 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 Sign Language, would give her earlier than her youth basketball video games.

“She would at all times sit manner up high, 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. No matter what, be your self and do not be like anybody else.”

Along 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 nonetheless spot her within the crowd 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 is the message that I need everybody to really feel. In this point in time, the place everyone seems to be attempting to mimic any individual or emulate any individual, simply do you.”

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

Gary Dineen/NBAE through Getty Images

When she appeared in her sixth WNBA All-Star Game final month in Chicago, Diggins-Smith donned her “Desert Sky” sneakers, revealing extra phrases on each of the heel strips. The left aspect reads “Beauty,” reverse of “Beast.”

“It’s actually about that duality,” she mentioned. “When you see me off the courtroom or exterior of this factor, I’m completely different. When I’m in that fight-or-flight second and the aggressive juices are turned on, it is 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’ ladies’s lineup has added Brenna Stewart, former No. 1 WNBA choose Jackie Young, sharpshooter Katie Lou Samuelson and extra lately in May, No. 2 choose NaLyssa Smith.

Diggins-Smith, Stewart and Young appeared on this yr’s All-Star Game.

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

With the debut of Stewart’s “Stewie 1” signature shoe — the first 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. “Showing that they are investing of their athletes, it is going past the courtroom 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 usually argue that How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days is definitely an underrated film, largely as a result of it is the one time his Sacramento Kings have made the NBA Finals.

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