The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may have been off to a rough start (we're still going with the 2020 tag despite it currently being held in 2021) but there's still plenty of historic moments to note. For starters, the latest edition sees the addition of five new sports—softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding.
Of the five, skateboarding is quite possibly the most contemporary, with the first skateboarding competition established only in 1963. Its presence and community remains relevant in today's context, apart from the athleticism alone. There's no denying that fashion has always been fascinated with skate culture. With streetwear becoming such an integral part of mainstream fashion, the skate community's influence in setting style trends has become indelible.
Which is why it was incredibly refreshing to see semblances of streetwear as part of this year's Olympics. The debut of skateboarding as an Olympic sport saw characteristically skater fits—oversized shirts, baggy trousers, and an array of skate shoe styles—joining the other more rigidly designed uniforms of the Games.
It certainly wouldn't be a sporting event without Nike. The sportswear (and streetwear) giant has specifically outfitted four federations—USA, Brazil, France, and Japan—for skateboarding under its Nike SB offshoot. And of course, the kits are arguably the most contemporarily stylish any of us have ever seen at the Olympics.
Here's all you need to know about the super fresh Nike SB kits for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Olympic kits are a collaboration
In a community-driven move, the kits were not designed solely by Nike. The brand enlisted the assist of Dutch artist and former pro skateboarder Piet Parra to design the Nike SB Federation Kits. Parra sought to create a sense of uniformity for the sport, even though there's technically no one defined uniform for skateboarding.
Each kit features a host of options ranging from jerseys, polos, tanks and cargo trousers, to suit the style of each individual skater. Team USA's Nyjah Huston, for example, opted for shorter shorts.
Same aesthetic, different design elements
"I ended up choosing an abstract landscape idea that features some recognisable elements, shapes, and colours of the different countries," Parra says of the overall design. "I wanted it to look special but not trying too hard. The last thing I wanted was for the riders to wear a crazy all-over print kit that might distract them from actually skating."
The result was colour-blocked graphics set against a fresh white base. Each federation was represented by a recognisable landscape peppered with distinct landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower for France, and Mount Fiji for Japan. The kits were also topped off with the image of a bird that best represented each federation, positioned right at the bottom left.
A conscious sustainability driven effort
Nike's 'Move to Zero' philosophy was also taken into consideration. The Nike SB Federation Kits are made from 100 percent recycled polyester while still retaining the moisture-wicking and quick-drying capabilities that are essential for the athletes. They were also cut using Nike's pattern efficiency principles to help reduce unnecessary waste during the manufacturing process.
In other words: fresh, stylish kits that are responsibly produced—perfect for the Olympic stage.