By Paula Osorio
P. Osorio is a skate culture lover and a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Illegal Civilization (IC) started out when Mikey Alfred, its founder, began to film his friends while they were riding. He confessed once that he wasn’t very good at landing tricks or jumping off big stairs but he wanted to get more involved in the skate scene. So he and his friends decided to keep track of their stunts in a very particular way. At barely 12 years old, Mikey launched his own company and started his journey in the skate scene.
The Future Was Born
Founded in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, the skate company IC are geared up to make and sell clothes, spread the crew’s skate videos, and teach the kids who follow them that anything is possible with hard work and positivity. Mikey and his friends began to build their company’s popularity by handing out their products to every kid in the neighborhood but nowadays they reminisce about seeing the youngsters wearing their t-shirts and their stickers at the skatepark in the neighbourhood they grew up in.
At the beginning of Mikey’s film career in 2011 he and his crew released a movie called Spark of Life where we could see the whole gang, Grady and Oliver Kinnoin, Sean Crawford, Alberto Almanza, and McCoy Kirgo skating around several spots, grinding on boxes and flipping and turning in parks and local areas. After this film, he wanted to make another video where he could share his friends and acquaintances' stories but he had trouble coming up with a name for it. Someone suggested that Illegal Civilization could be a good option and he decided to go with it and it hasn’t stopped.
According to their website, the Illegal Civilization team was formed by Kevin White, Gary Rogers, Sunny Suljic, Alex Midler, Aramis Hudson, Ryder McLaughlin, Zach Saraceno, and Nico Hiraga. However, we’ve also seen rapper Na-Kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, and others hanging out with the band and participating in side-projects.
Not Only Skateboarding But an Art Movement
Thanks to their popularity and creativity, they’ve been involved in several art projects, such as an original mini-series called “Summer of '17” where we can follow the story of a boy who falls in love and realizes that he has grown-up more than his friends have. Currently the mini-series consists of 3 episodes that are about 20 minutes an episode. There are also some cameos by Tyler the Creator, and Aminé. The episodes are being broadcasted right now on The Fader’s Youtube channel. Go check them out!
Within their skate filmography, we found that the collective has recorded two more sequels of their original IC movie. Containing art shows, parties, concerts, hangouts, funny SHIT® on the streets. What is really cool is how the kids grow up in front of the camera. In the first film, all of them were little kids and in the last one (that took 4 years to make according to Mikey) they’re already in their early 20’s. Their style has changed and become more mature. The mini-series reunites all of the members of the group and shows their experience, really interesting conversations around pretty much everything, some rad songs, and a few skaters vs. hater moments.
Due to their relationship with Tyler the Creator, the IC crew have also worked on two documentaries that detail the making of the Wolf and Cherry Bomb rap albums. They collaborated with brands like Converse, Adidas, and hip-hop artists like Mac Miller. They’re about to release their next skate film called North Hollywood, The Movie. Tony Hawk himself talks about it on Instagram. You should totally check these guys out! The products that they design, the events that they promote along with the aesthetics that they hold, and the message they spread deserve much appreciation from the audience. Sending them seriously good vibes and hope they keep on doing their thing.
Read also: Jim Phillips: Art Legend