Exclusive: Nicky Diamonds on Puma Partnership and the State of Streetwear

Diamond Supply Co. is announcing a partnership with Puma and founder Nicky Diamonds talked to Complex about it as well as the state of streetwear.

Diamond x Puma

Image via Puma

Diamond x Puma

Nicky Diamonds has been running shit since 1998. Diamond Supply Co. has become one of the most successful skate and streetwear brands ever, and it’s spawned some of the most sought-after sneaker collaborations of all-time. They’re back with their second collaboration with Puma, this time on the Suede, Clyde, and an apparel collection.

We had the chance to talk to Nick not only about his upcoming collection and why the brand means so much to him. (Trust, it’s an authentic connection.) But also got him to open up about the state of streetwear, Supreme selling for a billion dollars, and what he thinks about skate culture getting picked up by the fashion industry.

How does it feel to have the collaboration with Puma?
I love it. The shoes I made, I wear them any more than any other shoes I’ve done stuff with. I love the Suedes, they’re super fresh.

You used to skate in Pumas in the '90s at EMB in San Francisco. Tell me about your connection with the brand.
We were first approached, I was immediately excited. I’ve been into sneakers forever. I’ve been collecting since the early ‘90s. Jordans and shit in the ‘80s. But in the ‘90s, the actual first shoe I started to collect was the Puma Clyde. I skated in the Clyde. A lot of my friends skated in the Clyde. It was the go-to shoe. I started to get special color ways from my friend Paul Shier in England. I would hit him up, and he would go to stores in England and buy me colors I couldn’t get in San Francisco. I had this crazy collection of Pumas. From there, I started collecting other stuff: Nikes, Jordans, and all that. But how I really got into sneakers was that shoe.

How does it feel to see the Diamond Blue on a sneaker that you have such a history with?
I love that color way. I feel like we’re the first ones to do that on a shoe, when we did a collaboration with Nike in 2005. We adopted that as our thing. There are other shoes in the line that aren’t that color, but we’re gonna continue to do that color and put hints of that color in the line. We’ll still have black shoes, white shoes.

Puma x Diamond 5

Do you ever get tired of doing things in that color?
I don’t think we’ll ever step away from that color. We make tons of things without that color. But we’ll always continue to use it in some things.

You had the big miniramp installation at ComplexCon. How was that?
I was hyped to do that. We weren’t even going to do ComplexCon at first. We were trying to figure out what would be cool to do and what would make an impact and bring all of our people together, skaters, and do something. Putting in a mini ramp — there was no other skate activation at ComplexCon. [Andre Ljustina] from Project Blitz sourced all the sneakers and put them in a plexiglass miniramp. It was the 15th anniversary of Nike SB. He has all the shoes, so we put them in there. People were stoked. It was amazing. It turned out really nice.

What’s next for Diamond?
Just a lot of skate stuff. We’re doing multiple collections this year with Puma. We have 12 new shoes coming. A lot of collaborations with other brands, but no other footwear brands. Just Puma. We’re making our own pro footwear.We’re doing a shoe with Jamie Foy, Nick Tucker, Brandon Biebel, Torey Pudwill. We just finished building our skatepark in our warehouse. Everyone in our office is skating.

At Puma, you have artists like Big Sean, The Weeknd, and Rihanna. What’s that like?
I think it’s awesome. I know Big Sean and The Weekend pretty well. When they came on, I was pretty excited. We already have a personal connection. I’ve known them for years and now we’re part of this shoe thing going on with Puma, I think it’s awesome.

Puma x Diamond 3

Supreme just sold for a billion dollars. How does a streetwear brand go mainstream without selling out?
I think it was really cool that Supreme has reached the level that they have. Completely insane. They’re more mainstream than any brand has ever been in our world. You can’t walk any street on any city in the world and not see someone wearing Supreme. It’s crazy, thinking they just started as a skate shop in New York. To think about how big they are now is unreal. I think it’s just product. A brand like Diamond or Supreme that goes beyond skate and streetwear and hit the regular mainstream is just making good product to keep people excited.

I saw you got a lot of the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection.
Yeah, I’ll always support them. When I first started Diamond 20 years ago, they were one of the very first supporters. They were always down, they were always carrying our product. Kids would line up at Supreme to buy Diamond shirts before we had any of our own retail stores. I’ve always been down with them and think it’s dope to see what they’ve become.

What’s the state of streetwear nowadays?
I don’t even know what streetwear is anymore. Being a skate brand that turned streetwear and never left skate, we just gained new fans. We gained fans from streetwear. Now, it’s interesting. I consider streetwear anyone who makes clothes, really. Kids are buying more expensive stuff like Prada. Those brands are exciting to kids now. The prices are higher than Supreme and streetwear brands of the past. I don’t really know the state of streetwear. It’s a trip. It’s just different. Even more than five years ago.

Puma x Diamond 4

What did you think about the madness that broke out over sneakers at ComplexCon?
With sneakers, that’s what people were tripping on at ComplexCon this year. I feel like the sneaker game has always been like that. When we were kids, we’d go buy Jordans in the early ‘90s, and it would be impossible. We’d go super early in the morning to get them and there was a line down the block. It was the same, but there are more kids into it now. So it makes it harder. The sneaker game has always been people who are fanatical about shoes.

What do you think of skate culture being in fashion magazines? Thrasher being in Vogue?
I never thought it would happen. Especially with Thrasher, I didn’t think that was going to be a thing. In fashion? Thrasher’s always been the core skate magazine. Super punk rock and grunge. It is what it is. Every skater grew up with that. It’s giving skateboarding more recognition to the mainstream. Skateboarding’s always been so small. People hated skaters. We’re trash. People didn’t like us. Now people see skaters and are like, “Wow, that’s fucking cool.”