By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
For as long as we can remember skateboarding has been called a “niche” which by definition is referred to as products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population. It might have been so at some point but we need to realize now that it is not! We need to come to terms with the fact that there are just different approaches to the same culture that we know and love, but it has gone mainstream, and it has for a while.
Back in the day, the style of a skateboarder was not something that could be defined or pinpointed, people just wore whatever they felt comfortable skating with, but the industry has always been there and we can clearly not compare the stuff people were wearing back in the 60’s to what they wore in the 90’s but there IS a clear influence from those times to what we see now in terms of skateboarding, it has not actually changed much, but it has evolved!
Photo: SHIT® Magazine
Most skaters use and wear what they feel comfortable with when they are skateboarding, back in the 70’s that was not a big deal, long hair and stoner vibes was as much as you can get from “the style of a skateboarder” and then the 90’s came, the big manufacturing machine along with the internet made all things accessible globally by a click! Brands like Supreme (2004) started to pop up in the industry, it was mostly focused on skateboarding gear, shoes and logo T shirts, and now they sell bricks (they really do) with the Supreme logo and became what we know now as one of the biggest “Hypebeast” brands out there.
Supreme begun by opening skateboarding focused stores that even featured the perfect ground to roll on or even bowls and ramps inside the store, something that is pretty common to see now, but back then was HUGE since skateboarders were sometimes not even allowed in stores or malls if they were carrying a skateboard.
With over 10 stores worldwide from NY to Japan, Supreme has become one of the most recognized brands out there, currently even selling products from companies like Vans and Thrasher to name a few and doing “collabs” with many others. Some old school and new school skateboarders even consider the brand a “sell out” since it is now focused on producing products not only for skateboarders and that it's “all about the money”, but honestly, you can now see a grandpa in the grocery line at walmart wearing a fake supreme logo shirt. So sell out or not, they are definitely mainstream!
Social Media Influence
Photo: Ian Dooley (Unsplash)
Similar things have happened to other skateboarding brands, social media has become a huge part in the globalization of trends which will cause people all over the world to suddenly wear something they saw online from “someone cool”. Items going “trendy” or “viral” have also had a big impact in skateboarding culture, brands have even had feuds with “high fashion designers” copying logos from skateboarding companies and even fast fashion brands like H&M and Forever 21 have gotten into legal fights over copied designs.
Situations like this one really bring us to understand how what people call “cultural appropriation” and “globalization” works and how skateboarding has been “ripped off” as many people claim and has been taken from its unique style for profit, but let's be clear for a moment, hasn't everything been like that for almost any trend or sub culture?
Skateboarding fashion has been greatly influenced through the times by music genres like hip hop and punk rock AND fashion, so it's not really something new people should be arguing about, of course it could be frustrating to see that dude that has no idea of what “Thrasher” is and thinks that it is just a clothing brand and he has a T-shirt but does not own a skateboard, but whatever! Dont let stupid SHIT® like that kill your buzz, material items are just that! And it should not take away from you the joy of skateboarding!!
What Do You Want To Wear?
Photo: Thomas Chan (Unsplash)
This is the most important question to ask yourself, if you feel comfortable skating on it you can use it! That is actually the main goal to achieve here, there was never a “skateboarding style”. The way you ride on your board is the only “style” you should really care about! There are of course, items that you will see in most skateparks like beanies, caps, hoodies and logo shirts, but all of that SHIT® is just to look cool while skating or showing who you are through what the brands represent.
For all we care you could be a dude and skate while wearing a dress (which a few stars have done back in their crazy party days) and if you are good at it you should be fine!
We need to remove the set of mind that skateboarding is something “private” or “niche” IT'S NOT! Nowadays, nothing is! Everything is world wide and that's just fine. You be you and focus on your skills!
A positive aspect we can take from all of this SHIT® is the fact that skateboarding is far from being what it was 20 years ago, something “regular people” used to look down on! We are all “regular people” we just enjoy different SHIT®! There is no point in arguing with others wether you can use or not use a shirt or a pair of shoes, IT'S STUPID! Skateboarding is now even an Olympic sport! But we bet there are people out there that feel that's also a bad thing…
Photo: Eathan Haddox (Unsplash)
The fact is that mainstream media coverage (and more and more social media) is what has gotten the sport and lifestyle THIS far, and is now even making kids go out and do research, get a new skateboard and ride it! Isn't that the whole point? To get more and more generations to skate and keep skateboarding alive?!
That's exactly what music, movies and fashion have been doing all the way back from the 80’s.
Point is, relax, have fun, keep on skateboarding and don't let opinions and other stuff get in the way of your improvement, skateboarding has been influencing Streetwear all the way from the 60’s, and that is something all skateboarders should be proud of!
In the words of Brendon Babenzien, OG early employee of Supreme:
"Skaters are incredible, intelligent, and creative, and people want a piece of what they've got. It's really that simple,"
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Read also: Why Skateboarding is Not Fashion
Read also: Skate or Die: Skateboarding Lifestyle