The revolutionary impact of brands on skate and street culture
Skateboarding turned into an amazing recreational, artistic sport. Skateboarding today goes way beyond just a sport; it’s a way of life. A variety of clothing styles that go with skateboarding, some may call it street culture, urban, or hip-hop fashion. Skateboarding has affected the fashion industry and paved the way for a whole new style of clothing.
Started in the mid of the 20th century, when surfers had nothing much to do, they invented this sport in an attempt to seek thrills and called it sidewalk surfing. When it started trending all over the world, it was clear to the toymakers that it wasn’t just a toy anymore. The boarders who thought of it as a means of artistic expression needed revolutionised and advanced skateboards.
Rapidly gaining more and more attention since the 1970s, cities have designed and dedicated parks specifically for skateboarders. Hard-core skateboarders learned and invented new tricks each year and grew a loyal and crazed fan base. Hard-flips, inwards heel-flips, dragon flip, are just a few of the dope skateboarding tricks.
Skater style dressing is street culture clothing varying from oversized tees, baggy trousers, and loud graphics. Skater style promotes a more comfortable and casual attire which includes T-shirts, hoodies, baggy jeans, shorts, sweatpants, etc. The urban fashion has influenced the fashion industry ever since the aesthetics of the sport caught the world’s attention. Huge brand labels have launched their casual and urban clothing lines.
Why is it popular?
Putting comfort above anything else and making a statement is the motto of street culture. Hence, T-shirts sport bold logos or slogans or a brand mark. Skaters are usually young, and they seek to be heard and find means to express themselves. With such a mindset, they invest in an urban fashion that represents “who they are”. Streetwear is the people’s choice of clothing and is often referred to as democratic; this type of clothing is unique because it is consumer-based. At the same time, all other types of clothing are designer based.
Comeback of streetwear
In the past 2 or 3 decades, streetwear has made a massive comeback, and people are lining up to get their hands on a limited-edition T-shirt instead of a premium quality branded dress. Streetwear has affected the routine fashion, and hence it has affected a greater majority.
The famous dance movie series “Step up” and countless other hip-hop dance movies have truly depicted the street culture and urban wear where fashion emerges from the ruffians and not the wall-street designers. The dressing is an expression of personality, and the neighbourhoods authentically dictate streetwear.
Lords of Dogtown recounting the tricks of the Z-boys, a true story depiction of the emergence of revolutionary Skateboarding legends Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Stacy Peralta. The documentary featured the free-spirited sport of skateboarding and revolved around a group of lively and energetic teenage boys. Throughout the film, the group is seen in loose fitted T-shirts, baggy sweatpants, backward caps, Bermuda shorts, hoodies, and casual jeans, etc. making the documentary aesthetically appealing even in comfortable and carefree attire.
Branding has played a huge role in making the casual style clothes a part of branded labels. As the sport grabbed a larger audience, huge brands came rushing in for sponsorship of the skateboarders. These massive corporate brands have introduced the sport to a new level of publicity; however, the authenticity of the streetwear style is what has made the brands great. Supreme and Stussy are two examples of the most popular clothing brands that have revolutionised streetwear since the 20th century.
Supreme is an international skateboarding brand that has been in the market for about 25 years and has just 11 stores. The brand continues to lure and enchant hypebeasts worldwide with is casual streetwear. It doesn’t need much branding as it has people queued in front of the stores to get their hands on the latest collection. The owner Jebbia had been inspired by the infamous Shawn Stussy and had also worked with him. Started from a small skateboarding and clothing store and grew into an international brand. They continue to support and sponsor skateboarders.
These brand labels understood the skateboarding mindset and how skateboarders thought of clothes to be a mode of expression. These brands have invested in the native skaters, and skaters have been workers at the brands so that they would make apparel for the selective skateboarding communities and neighbourhoods. The international brands have helped gain a larger audience to the sport and directed an even larger consumer count to their business, attracting people into the modern yet casual clothing styles.
How “skate” culture impacts the industry
In the past, all industries relied on those who possessed a greater amount of knowledge, editors, and brands used to provide information to lure a greater consumer count. Conversely, internet and social media branding has changed the game and has given the power to consumers as well. Now consumers have platforms to convey demands and interests. This approach paved a clear way for urban clothing to emerge out and create hype. It is how street culture developed and embraced all its parts, which include different sorts of artists, be it rap culture, skaters, or surfers.
Incorporating people from the same neighbourhoods, which were in support of the emerging movement of the street culture in their brands, helped them reach out to their audience. Moreover, focusing on the audience who can easily relate to their branding label assisted in getting the masses’ attention. Social media branding sites like Instagram and Facebook are involved in the selling, purchasing, branding, and re-sale of products, which has only added to the streetwear consumer traffic.
Hip-hop fashion, urban wear, and street culture apparel have recently influenced the showbiz and music industry, as well as iconic artists, have been spotted in streetwear casuals. Following the mainstream brands like Supreme and Stussy, the luxurious and high-quality brands had no other options but to follow the same trend. Hence popular streetwear designers such as Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh were employed by prestigious brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior. Some other popular artists who have influenced existing art include Takashi Murakami and Kaws.
The fashion industry and its obsession with skateboarding
Paris fashion week, Dior displayed its fall collection where models walked alongside a neon-lit skateboard ramp. It was not just a ramp but a symbolisation of how this culture has effected the industry throughout the passing years. Skating has been used by several brands to captivate an audience, one of which is the famous “vogue” magazine, which published a whole skate week package.
There have been catwalks of infamous brand labels that had their models sporting skateboards. It only proves the industry’s obsession with street culture and skateboarding. Every clothing brand trying to make a name in the streetwear caused a lot of copyright infringement wars between brands, but hypebeasts and loyal fans have raised their voice in favour of their treasured culture.
Thrasher is a brand known for being relentlessly copied. Icons like Justin Bieber have worn the brand, and Rihanna and the editor think that the artists who don the brand should know what the brand is about and not just purchase because it is stylish. The skateboarding community does not appreciate others overlooking the art and taking it for granted.
A Supreme ex-employee, when asked about the obsession of the fashion industry with skateboarding, states clearly that skaters are intelligent and creative artists, and people want a piece of their artistic vision. Brendon Babenzien also stated that the monopolisation of the skateboarding culture is not new at all, and this fact continues to nag him.
The skateboarding community was not welcomed at first; it is only after the branding that it got the spotlight. Hence it is obvious that the community doesn’t appreciate everyone donning their culture; that is why the skateboarding club is exclusively for members. There have been many legal disputes between designers over copyright infringements, which involved skateboarding streetwear. Jim Philips, who is known for his Santa Cruz skateboards work, his designs were copied by designer Jeremy Scott in 2013. This dispute ended in the destruction of the copied designs and an apology.
There have been disputes amongst infamous brands like H&M, Forever21, and Thrasher over skateboarding attire and branding logos. The industry is majorly influenced by skateboarding as such facts come forward that famous models like Cara Delevingne and Daria Werybowy are skaters, and others like Blake Lively and Mathew McConaughey have been photographed and filmed with one, and the list continues to grow. Pharell Williams is a star skater while Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith seem to be newbies to the trend.
In the age of fashion and constant change, the skateboarding communities and brands have prospered by staying true and loyal to their culture. The skateboarding attitude saturates through the streetwear and to be hip is the new millennial approach