Skate Week at Vogue: Skateboarding and Style
It’s Skate Week at fashion hub Vogue and there is all kinds of interesting skate-related posts going up over there.
Skateboarding in the mainstream is always a bit of an interest to me. As a loosely affiliated group of people who ride wood and wheels, there is generally a push back against the mainstream, “posers” and others that try and usurp skateboarding for otherwise non-skateboarding means. It’s not about cool, it’s about skateboarding. That said, fashion and skateboarding always have had a bit of a love-hate connection in that regard. It is undeniable that style has a huge part in what we do and how we do it. Ignoring typical fashion notables like clothing, how we skate actually comes in and out of fashion over time. Tricks and features have changed with the times, or progression as it often gets called, and then we see revivals. Some would even argue that a trick done without any style, isn’t really a tick landed at all. Others prefer to keep things lame. But regardless of technique, pretty much every board has a graphic on the bottom and our favourite skater is often a result of not only how they skate, but their personal style in what they wear, watch, read, listen to and generally how they live. Marketing is inevitable when trying to influence others and sell something. Just look at the latest Red Hot Chilli Peppers video – there is more going on than simply a style of music and skateboarding, that’s fashion and it’s for sale, one way or another.
Don’t take my word for it, I really enjoy Jeff Grosso and he has a great episode of Loveletters to Skateboarding on the topic:
Like it or not, Vogue Skate Week is here and the masses will make note of what is fashionable in skateboarding, take from it what they want, and go about selling the world the fashion, style and culture of skateboarding. You’re influencing and being influenced by it whether you like it or not as well.
So what’s Vogue in skateboarding? Besides celebrities trying to ollie, 3 main topics: Dancing, What to Wear and Ladies.
Well, remarkably enough, dancing has taken a central stage and up and coming Korean dancer Ko Hyojoo is getting a ton of exposure. [250,000+ Instagram following] Despite this attention, Ko has kept it real in her interview, as a skater should: ‘Invitations to skate in Berlin, Paris, and across Asia began pouring in, but Ko says that wasn’t exactly the point of her videos. “I did it to see how I can improve on my tricks,” she says. Is she ready to turn pro? Not just yet, demurring at the title. “I do it mainly as a hobby. I learned that as long as you have fun with it, you will improve drastically.” We can’t wait to see what she does next. [Excerpt from Vogue. Full article here.]
What to Wear:
Clothing has always had it’s place in skateboarding, not only because it’s illegal and kind of dangerous to skate naked in public, but every brand needs to get it’s name out there to sell their gear. For the most part, the focus been mostly Logo T’s over the years. But the rise of skate fashion beyond the basic shirt has really been a function of professional skaters and their celebrity as skateboarding has become more popular and wide spread. Unfortunately, while that popularity enables the sale of product to help actually pay skaters, it also results in opening up to seeing anyone, anywhere wearing what was otherwise reserved for a more niche group. Thrasher Tshirts are a prime current example. They are everywhere and anywhere right now from the runway to the school yard and even political memes.
Think “longboarding” is different than “skateboarding” and you must surely be forgetting the rise of Liam Morgan from Greasy grom to influential icon. Liam’s style and popularity helped bring everything from rolled up khakis and hawaiian shirts to Fullcut helmets to the scene and even arguably the progression of standup slides to a younger demographic thanks to never putting a hand down and not really racing. This connection between skater, progression, fashion and influence permeates skateboarding and thereby the mainstream and vice versa. While many skaters like to live in a bubble, Skateboarding is constantly pecked at by the Darkmen and their vultures for corporate profits unfortunately. I’m just not sure how many skaters would actually wear the outfits that fashion designs as a result, but who knows. There have definitely been some far out skater styles before. Check it out some of the images below. More here.
While we understand Vogue is a fashion magazine and society disposes us to often first think “Women” when we think fashion, like most things it’s actually more universal and should be viewed as such. Fashion has been one of the few bastions of gender blending, in my opinion. Lets be honest, this is how the term ‘Metrosexual’ was coined – because men needed a word for grooming themselves and still feeling “manly”. I digress. My point here is that we live in a world where females are often pigeon holed and under represented, and skateboarding is no different. Vogue has identified that females in skateboarding are a force right now. So men, take note, the ladies are here and they are a growing force in skateboarding, not just skate fashion.
While there is a lot more going over at Vogue Skate Week, fashion is not my forte and so that’s my take away for now. Check out their feed for yourself and then let us know what you think. More Vogue Skate Week here.