Skateboarding has had a love-hate relationship with the limelight for the longest time. With one side of the spectrum trying to keep it core and exclusive, to the other side of the spectrum involving big corporations marketing it as the “cool new sport”, it’s easy to see why a lot of skaters almost hate that skateboarding is viewed as the in thing. And it’s been trendy for the longest time, through many forms of media like movies, advertisements, fashion etc.
A major part of why it is so trendy is because skateboarding in itself influences a lot of other industries. It’s as if big corporations use skateboarding and its culture as a reference when creating products or designs. People wear Dime t-shirt and a pair of cuffed Dickies all the time. To them it’s just fashion or “steez”, but everyone’s fashion sense is influenced by something. I guess it just boils down to whether you’re consciously aware of it or not.
I think the saddest part is when consumers support the high-end brands that take inspiration from skateboarding, like Burberry and Gucci, more than they support the actual skate brands. Now those bigger brands are getting the lion’s share of the market using skateboarding’s trendiness while skate brands are left to make minor profits.
Skateboarding’s trendiness sky-rocketed in the early 2010’s, with the rise of rap group Odd Future, specifically looking at Tyler, The Creator. Being a skateboarder himself, Tyler wore a lot of Supreme, Thrasher and Vans, sometimes seen sporting rare Supreme/Thrasher collabs. His cult-like following soon adapted his style and the new-age skateboarding style took off.
In recent years we’ve seen artists like Rihanna rocking Thrasher and Palace, and a number of artists wearing Supreme. These three brands have arguably become the 21st century’s gateway into skateboarding. And if you look at the prices of items sold by these brands, you’ll realise that they’re not made available for the general skate community anymore, they’ve become a part of high culture. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. Thousands of people are flocking to your brand because they saw their favourite artist wearing it, so why not hike up the prices, right?
Erik Arteaga (@burberry.erry) is one skateboarder who used skateboarding’s trendiness combined with it’s standing in high-end fashion to build a name for himself. If you look at his videos from 2011-2015, you’ll be amazed at how much he has changed…from your typical Nike SB wearing skater to skating in Chanél boots and Yeezy’s. Now he’s rubbing shoulders with the likes of Virgil Abloh, appearing in Off-White photoshoots and skating a variety of Off-White/Nike collabs.
So how long will skateboarding stay trendy? Years, if not another decade. At it’s core “skate style” is pretty comfortable and is the base-level for a lot of fashion trends. Also, due to the Olympics (which will not be happening this year for obvious reasons), skateboarding will become more popular and commercial than it’s ever been before.
Perhaps skate style might transcend its trendy phase and become a solid part of fashion. Then that type of style will be associated with other things other than skateboarding. Maybe then, as Jenkem Mags Alexis Castro wrote, “we’ll finally stop running into damn photo shoots at the skatepark” haha.