Given fashion’s long-standing love affair with insouciant skater style, it’s probably not surprising that one of the best uniforms from the Olympics came courtesy of skateboarder Lizzie Armanto. The American-Finnish athlete’s blue-on-blue kit, with swirling abstract lines resembling topography, was actually designed by Armanto herself, in collaboration with Vans and designer Rachael Finley.
“I saw a lot of the other team uniforms and that’s exactly how they felt to me: like major league sports uniforms,” Armanto told Vogue in an email. “I wanted to keep the authenticity of skate and ensure I still looked like I was wearing something I would wear with or without the Olympics.” She designed 12 pieces in total, including gear for the coaches. Everything is meant to be interchangeable as well as functional. Armanto competed in a short-sleeve jumpsuit yesterday and white socks emblazoned with the Vans logo. The colour scheme continued with her teal and cobalt shoes and turquoise hair.
Those distinctive squiggles were actually an homage to Finland, the country Armanto was competing for. Specifically, she was inspired by architect and designer Alvar Aalto. “In 1939, he designed a kidney-shaped swimming pool which became synonymous with pool skateboarding much later in the ’70s,” Armanto says. “The various patterns on the jumpsuits are modelled after empty swimming pools around the world.”
This is far from the first time fashion and skateboarding has collided. Perhaps the most high-profile example was when Louis Vuitton collaborated with Supreme in 2017, a game-changing partnership between two of the world’s most recognisable streetwear and luxury labels. In 2015, Vetements sent its souped-up Thrasher sweatshirts, complete with shoulder pads, down the runway. Gucci’s cruise 2020 campaign starred artist and skateboarder Orlando Miani, and classic skater brands like Stüssy and Carhartt have become household names with as much clout in certain circles as Saint Laurent. Even Chanel has a skateboard (though it’ll cost you $20,000 on the resale market)!
More than that, this Olympics has produced its fair share of noteworthy fashion choices. Telfar Clemens outfitted Team Liberia in agenda-setting uniforms with cold-shoulder detailing and asymmetrical necklines. Kim Kardashian’s Skims line also provided Team USA with a slew of minimalist (of course!) loungewear. Even so, Armanto’s personalised uniform is in a class of its own. For creativity and style, we give her a 10.
This article was originally published on Vogue.