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Fashion
3 min read

How Skate Culture Went Luxe

Written by Kerala Woods
November
9
Once built around a refusal to follow the norm, skateboard culture has become one of the greatest influences in the world of high fashion.
Skateboarding and high-fashion may seem like an unlikely pair, but over the past few years skate culture has definitely made its mark on the luxury market, much to the chagrin of skateboarders and authentic skate brands around the world. From Vetements and Dior to H&M and Forever 21, the skate aesthetic has become a quintessential element of the fashion industry.
Photo by @palmangels/Instagram
One the most iconic skate symbols that has been replicated throughout the fashion industry is the Thrasher Magazine icon. The monthly skateboarding publication, which was founded in 1981, has made no secret of its aggressive indifference to fashion insiders and celebrities donning Thrasher hoodies and tees. Last year Thrasher editor-in-chief Jake Phelps was famously quoted saying, “we don’t send boxes to Justin Bieber or Rihanna or those f'ing clowns.”
On the other end of the spectrum, skate shop turned cult streetwear brand Supreme has embraced high-fashion’s interest in skate culture. Originally a skate shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Supreme is now a global brand and has capitalized on the general public’s interest in skate culture by collaborating with other equally covetable brands. Their most recent and much hyped collab with iconic French fashion house Louis Vuitton made major waves in both the fashion industry and the skateboarding world, with positive and negative responses on both sides.
Photo by supreme
But why exactly is the fashion industry so enamored with skate culture? Historically skaters were considered outsiders and one of the cornerstones of the entire culture is that sense of otherness, the choice to exist outside of societal expectations. Fashion has simply attempted to tap into the ‘cool’ factor of being an outsider, effectively bringing that cool to the masses.
As skate culture has grown in popularity it has become increasingly focused on the sport itself, making clothes emblazoned with the names of popular skate brands equally symbolic of the skill of skating as the culture that surrounds it. Afterall skateboarding will be an official sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, so it’s clear that skate culture as a whole is becoming more and more mainstream.
For many skaters fashion’s interest in skate culture feels disingenuous, but it’s important to remember that appropriation is a huge part of fashion. Designers are in constant search of new looks, new ideas and new ways to engage with their customers, often pulling from other cultures and sub-groups, both subtly and not so subtly, in hopes of creating unique and authentic clothing and aesthetics. So, with that in mind skaters really shouldn’t take it too personally.
Photo by
John Doe
Director of Sales, Spotify
"It feels just as intimate as their debut with no gimmicky rap features, just R&B vocals backed by stunning production that feels grander in scale."
It feels just as intimate as their debut with no gimmicky rap features, just R&B vocals backed by stunning production that feels grander in scale.
written by kerala woods