Nike SB Orange Label PT5 by Leo Baker
Whether it’s their technical skate technique, personal style or vision to create safe spaces for non-traditional skateboarders, Leo Baker continues to challenge and improve the skate industry for the better. After chipping away at the industry for years and ongoing challenges with how personal identity isn’t always the most marketable choice for some sponsors, it seems now Baker is finally being heard in a time and in an era where self expression is recognised but the infrastructure is still being formed.
Ranked as the 5th top female skater in the world with a signature style that is appreciated by all, Baker first stepped on a skateboard aged 2 or 3 after watching their foster-brothers on a mini-ramp and declared aged 9 that they wanted to be a pro skateboarder, after seeing it was possible by playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
In 2016 a bid to develop to the next phase of life led Baker to move to NYC where a renewed focus on skateboarding returned, leading to the title of ‘Populist 2017’ a year later and followed by official sponsorship by Nike SB shortly afterwards. Since then, Leo continues to go from strength to strength with input on footwear styles such as a monochrome Nike SB Bruin Hi and appearances alongside fellow skaters Elisa Steamer, Sarah Meurle, Hayley Wilson and Nicole Hause in Nike SB’s feature length Gizmo in the spring of 2019, notably the first all-women’s skate video released by the iconic footwear brand.
A big moment not just for Leo but for the future of Nike SB, two footwear styles have been introduced for the Orange Label capsule. Crafted with super smooth premium night maroon coloured leather uppers the Nike SB Orange Label Bruin High 'L. Baker' Shoes have a slimmer ‘70s basketball design with an elongated lace up fastening and embroidered mesh insert around the back of the heel. Constructed with essential skate-ready features at its core, the all black Nike SB Orange Label Janoski Slip On Remastered 'L. Baker' Shoes present a modern look across one of Nike SB’s best loved designs through minimal detailing for a timeless look. Both shoes feature custom insole designs and tacky protective outsoles that stand up to repetitive abrasions.
Accompanying the Orange Label footwear models a range of unisex apparel has been designed with a focus on casual comfort and easy going style which perfectly captures Leo’s own taste, which dispite resistance throughout a build up to pro skater status, has continued to be a prolifant part of Leo Bakers story. Introduced in new Nike SB unisex sizing, Leo expressed the two requirements for the designs included a workwear inspired look and a high level of functionality. Highlighted in the Nike SB | Leo Baker | Orange Label campaign video which sees Leo hanging out with friends, such as Brian Anderson, around NYC, stand out pieces from the release include two Orange Label jackets constructed with a waxed cotton blend outer and a polyester spandex lining which work together to keep you covered from the elements while still allowing for movement when skating. Following a similar look the Nike SB Orange Label Pants feature reinforced knees and multiple pockets for practicality whilst the Fleece Long Sleeve T-Shirt and Utility Beanie act as essential mix and match styles.
As an official member of the USA skateboarding team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Baker expressed in a recent cover page interview with Dazed China how the event is “creating a lot of progress within women skateboarding and skateboarding as a whole”. In a recent Nike SB campaign entitled Against The Grain that coincides with a revamped edition of the Air Max 90 for the models 30th anniversary, Baker expresses the importance of creating an inviting space for people who don’t always feel safe in skate spaces. Working with likeminded individuals, Baker has setup NYCSP (New York City Skate Park) as an intentional space for non-conforming trans folks, non-binary folk and CIS women who skate to join together and feel inspired to be creative whilst also feeling comfortable within their surroundings. As a nod to the future being ‘whatever they want it to be’ this is notably and most importantly not a phase for Baker, who hopes to create a lasting effect as opposed to conforming to a social trend. This is surely just the start of an international movement for acceptance and celebration within skateboarding and beyond.
In true Orange Label spirit the Leo Baker collection is only available through selected skate stores from Saturday, March 7th 2020.
Shop Nike SB at Flatspot.
Shop Nike SB Orange Label at Flatspot.