Skateboarding has been around since the middle of the 20th century. It’s most commonly known by non-believers today as the recreational activity that damages public and private properties in inner city locales and causes an earful of “racket”. Since the sport, if one could brand it as such, has been plunged into the mainstream, the fashion and accessories are always subject to change.
In the 1960’s, skateboarder’s image was healthily conglomerated by surfing and longboarding. Bleach blonde hair, cutoff denim jeans, high socks and bulky knee pads blemished the curbside of the California coast. The slacker mentality was in place. Skateboarders were carrying a very expressionistic persona but not much else came of it. Skateboarders felt no need to represent themselves in the face of conformity. This was just the beginning.
The 1980’s didn’t make big shifts in the way of fashion, but the prevalent winds of change were near. Skateboarding came closer to the mainstream than ever, succeeding surfing and replacing other less-dominant recreational activities such as rollerblading and BMX biking.
The following decade was an exceptional time of fashion expression in the history of skateboarding. Skateboarders began wearing skate-brand clothing, baggy jeans, bulky shoes and fitted ball caps. Little did they know they were submitting a host of data to the zeitgeist of the 90’s subculture. While the styling of hip hop crusaded 1990’s skateboarding, the sport itself was explicitly independent from other sports such that no padding or protective gear is forced upon riders by a coach. However, riders who were professionals sponsored by companies wore the companies brand religiously. This was truly the only dress code in the game.
These trends carried over into the early 2000s. The loose-fitting pants can be seen in every clip-on Alien Workshop’s Kerry Getz’s part in the 2000 film Photosynthesis. These styles didn’t last very long after the turn of the century. The legs of jeans began to lose their weight, slimming down significantly. Thin pants, thin T-shirts and long sleeve shirts began making their debut. The companies that sponsored professional skateboarders were pushing for a new look, and began manufacturing more and more clothes for their riders to wear.
Modern day trends, 2008 and upward, make a hasty resemblance to the everyday youth type. Skateboarders eventually broke the handcuffs of any skater-look prototypes. They take to wearing whatever they can find, whatever fits or doesn’t fit, and whatever nobody else is wearing. It’s a free for all and anything goes. Skateboarders today can pull from websites, thrift stores and skate shops to pursue any kind of image. It’s not about representing the sport anymore. It’s about representing yourself. They might wear their old football jerseys, free fly clothing, hunting gear, anything to practice the right of expression.
We are currently in a whirlpool of resurrected trends mixed with a brand-new mentality. It’s hard to tell what turns skateboarding might take in the future. In the ideal scenario, the activity will continue to be a foundation for individuality, creativity, fun, and friendship.