How Nike has supported the LGBTQ+ scene before it was fashionable to do so.
We here at Goldsmith Vintage have always loved sportswear pioneers, Nike and pride ourselves on our extensive, cool AF range (check out the website and scroll down to the end of this article to see our staff's most favourite picks!). As well as always being ahead of the pack in terms of style, for some years now, Nike have made bold stands against racial injustice and homophobia and to support the LGBTQ+ scene, encouraging diversity generally. Here are just some of the ways...
In 2012, BETRUE was born, a grassroots effort initiated by Nike employees in the PRIDE Network aspiring to build a community diverse in identity, orientation, and expression, concentrated on efforts of the community to promote equality in sport. The collection, which is created and managed by the Nike’s PRIDE Network and Nike designers in the LGBTQ+ community, releases annually in June to celebrate National Pride month and supports all individuals regardless of gender identity.
In 2019, Nike unveiled the latest BETRUE collection, honouring the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, with its new Air Max 720 trainers. The range included, for the first time the original eight-colour Pride Flag (designed by Gilbert Baker) as a rainbow gradient along with the brand’s signature Swooshes in black on either side and translucent midsoles that have Baker’s signature printed on the outer edge. The 2019 BETRUE campaign supported 20 LGBTQ+ charities.
For the 2020 (gender neutral) lineup, the brand gave three sets of trainers fresh, new looks that recognised the “pursuit of equality for all athletes.” The Nike Air Force 1 which was “created as a reflection of performance art” and features designs that are a celebration of underground ballroom culture.
Specifically featured on the Air Force 1 is a 10-color rainbow mark on the heel that the brand said is inspired by the More Colour, More Pride flag. According to Nike, it adds a black and a brown stripe to the traditional colours of the flag to recognize people of colour in the LGBTQ+ community. the Nike Air Max 2090, whose colours to celebrate unity and finally the Nike Air Deschutz, illustrating that sport means something different to everyone.
Nike have continued to choose LGBTQ+ athletes to lead their campaigns, release films focused on promoting diversity and unity as have recently employed John Waters as the new face of Nike, supporting both the LGBTQ+ cause and the fight against ageism. Additionally they support 20 organizations worldlwide to advance the LGBTQ+ community through the administration of grants by the Charities Aid Foundation of America, and has donated $3.6 million since 2012.