Nike Celebrates Gilbert Baker’s Iconic Pride Flag With 2019 “BETRUE” Pack
For Pride month 2019, Nike is continuing its longtime support for the LGBT+ community by partnering with the Gilbert Baker estate to celebrate the political activist and designer’s impact and legacy for this year’s “BETRUE” campaign.
At the request of Harvey Milk, Baker hand-dyed and sewed an eight-color rainbow flag in 1978 as a symbol for gay joy, positivity, and unity. Forty years later, that flag has become a worldwide banner for the LGBT+ community. For the first time, Nike will include Baker’s original eight-color flag on each product in its “BETRUE” collection, alongside Baker’s signature.
“BETRUE” was started in 2012 by Nike employees in The Pride Network who were seeking to build a community diverse in orientation, identity, and expression. A new “BETRUE” collection comes out every year in June to celebrate national Pride month and support all individuals regardless of gender identity.
As well as partnering with the Baker estate, Nike is also providing financial support to 20 LGBT+ organizations, including the GLBT Historical Society, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the National Gay Basketball Association, and You Can Play. Since the “BETRUE” campaign’s beginning, the sportswear giant has provided $3.6 million in financial support for the LGBT+ community.
To pay homage to Baker’s handmade flag, Nike designers gave each shoe a handcrafted aesthetic by embroidering the eight-layer Swoosh on the Air Max 90 and the rainbow flag on the Air Tailwind 79. Additionally, the sneaker features a light blue and pink deconstructed mesh upper to resemble a crop top.
The Zoom Pegasus Turbo includes a dark navy upper accented with glitter-like material and a rainbow stripe that splits the shoe right down the middle from top of the tongue to the toe box.
Alongside the eight-layer Swoosh, the Air Max 90 gets a multicolor design. From the panels to the insole to the heel counter, every element of the sneaker features a shade from Baker’s flag.
The Air Max 720 ($190) and Air Tailwind 79 ($100) will be available from June 8 via Nike’s SNKRS app, while the Air Max 90 ($130) will arrive on June 15 and the Zoom Pegasus Turbo follows on July 14. Take a closer look at the collection in the gallery above.