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Laura gets her skates on

Creative self expression & nostalgic inspiration
6 mins


Laura Taylor, Senior Designer

April 2024

As part of our nostalgia series, we asked Laura Taylor, Senior Designer based in our UK HQ studio to share her passion for roller skating and how this vibrant creative community is influencing her way beyond the skate park.

It’s a Vibe 

Roller skating isn’t just a fun activity – it’s a whole vibe, a way for people to let their inner self shine. Folks I skate with show off their personality and creativity, and it’s seriously cool to see. When you’re on skates, you’re not just moving – you’re dancing, grooving to your favourite tunes, pimping out your skates with custom designs or putting together a killer outfit and rocking your own style. It becomes a part of your soul, you eat, sleep, breathe and live the lifestyle.

Roller skating allows individuals to express themselves through movement, music, and fashion. I love how it lets me express myself in my own unique way.

Roller Resurgence

Slick Willie’s is London’s original skate store set up back in 1970, but still going strong, making them the oldest skate store in the UK. A revival of the Roller Disco craze began in London back in 2003, with Thursday night “Roller Disco night” at Bagley’s, the biggest night club in London at the time. It continues today at London’s Roller Nation, who saw the number of customers owning their own skates skyrocket from 10% in 2020 to 70% in 2022, suggesting serious growth.

In the US, Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, a skating ring founded in LA is steeped in history and was originally a hotspot open between 1979-1981 in Los Angeles.

Today, Gen Z’s are in on the act too. On Tik Tok #rollerskating has over 1.3m posts and on Instagram there are many a roller influencer with the likes of Estro Jen, Peachy Skater and DirtyDeborrahHarry among my favourites.

Recent collaborations have gained attention, with Adidas Originals in New York at a NYFW (New York Flippers World) party, where the skate community rolled up in custom tracksuits and Flipper’s Superstar Originals skates. Co-founder Liberty Ross said on her Instagram “Welcome back to Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, a pleasure palace where there are no barriers, no taboos, no inhibition, where you are not defined by your race, faith, sexuality or gender, where you can be who you want to be on a floor designed to float.”

My enthusiasm is rubbing off on my Sun team mates too,  Matt Fish, my fellow senior designer, holidayed in New York and explored Flippers World! He was pretty impressed (I will get him in skates eventually). Matt traced the footsteps of roller skating legends, solidifying my comments about the sport’s influence on design and culture.

Roller Influenced Design

Roller skating’s retro charm and appeal most definitely influences my creative design work, when my boots are off and I’m back in the Sun creative studio. The resurgence of roller skating and its vibrant, fun culture and inclusivity taps into the current trend of nostalgic appeal. Where brands are infusing products with retro-inspired graphics, illustrations and vibrant colour schemes with a warm nod to yester-year. This directly links to my roller skating experience of energy, fun and sense of community today. These influences are evident in current brand and packaging designs, captivating consumers by fostering a deeper emotional connection through nostalgia.

Finding my passion

I first got the bug when Christmas shopping with Caroline (Creative Director) and Emma (Adaptive Creative) from Sun. We found a shop in December 2020 called Roller Girl Gang in the Corn Exchange, Leeds, I knew then I just had to have a pair and went back a week later and took my very own mint green roller skates home.

One week later I turned up on my own to LS-Ten, a charity based in Leeds that makes skating accessible to everyone, and felt very welcomed and encouraged. At this point I had been practicing on my skates every day since the 1st of January, building up my skills and confidence, so much so that a few weeks in to 2021 I decided to set myself a roller-challenge and skate 365 days consecutively to support the Alzheimer’s Society, raising a whopping £2,500 in the process!

My passion hasn’t gone unnoticed, and my 15 minutes of fame (so far) was my appearance on prime-time UK shows; the One Show and BBC Look North (see below). There is growing interest in the roller world and I’m happy to encourage it.

A global community

It’s an inclusive global community that I personally experienced when I attended ‘Skate love Barcelona’ last year. I was embraced by everyone and inspired by the skate community who revealed amazing outfits, creativity and high-energy self-expression! I met my skate idols and was able to watch them skate in person not just on Instagram – and even learned a trick or two!

My passion for skating comes from this inclusive, creative community – it’s a place where everyone can be themselves, no matter who they are. Many skaters have shared inspiring stories with me about how roller skating has allowed them to embrace their personal identity and overcome societal pressures to conform to traditional gender roles or beauty standards. Roller skating has become a safe haven, where people can break free from stereotypes and just be who they truly are.

I feel a sense of community and connection that inspires me creatively. Sharing tips, cheering each other on, or simply enjoying the thrill of skating together, the roller skating community cultivates a supportive environment where creativity flourishes.

What’s next?

I plan to go to LS-Ten’s Northern Roll event in Leeds in May and Skate Love Barcelona in September. I’ve got my eye on a pair of Wifa boots too.

It’s amazing to see how roller skating has become this awesome outlet for self-expression and empowerment. A powerful tool for creative expression, personal identity, and positive change. I want more and more people to jump on the roller skating train, I want to get more of the Sun team into the sport too, I think the whole culture serves as a source of inspiration and creativity for designers.

So, if you get a chance, lace up those skates and let your creativity roll!

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