Fashion + the Cringification of Skateboarding | Investigating why we care so much about such ham-fisted appropriation
Skateboarding is the hot thing in mainstream fashion circles right now. Jenkem counted down the most embarrassing fashion rip offs of skateboarding. Vogue did their now infamous Skate Week and then hired Alex Olson to direct a skateboarding/fashion/hackysack video. Shit is getting wild in the streets!
But what we needed was Caught in the Crossfire to really dig deep and contribute with an investigation in:
“… just why we care so much about such ham-fisted appropriation.”
And investigate they did. We’re talking big words and a full essay. It’s a great read that might even make you think:
“Vogue Skate Week hurt a little because it provides a window into how others see us, how they make sense of our sub-culture, and where they locate it within the context of the things they find familiar (for example, why a fashion magazine needs to talk about skateboarders’ ‘great hair’). All together, the outcome isn’t pretty when parked up against our image of ourselves.
The cast-iron motherfucker is that platforms like Vogue, with none of the knowledge, have more of the power. By ballsing up their representation of skateboarding on a massively public stage, they risk actually changing how skateboarders perceive skateboarding.”
“The really interesting argument is that skateboarding brings this upon itself. In cosying up to something powerful, we can hardly complain when Big Fashion makes us look like bigger pricks. New York’s excellent Stoops magazine, which combines the high standard of photography we’ve come to expect from independent mags with superb writing, goes deep on this tricky question. Stoops’ Ted Barrow and Eby Ghafarian point out that, rather than originating what we look like, we’ve instead co-opted and repurposed aspects of our identity from elsewhere. Skateboarders are essentially stylists rather than designers – picking and arranging looks that already exist. In the 1980s, skaters may have repurposed looks from punk and hardcore counter-culture, but in the 90s, it was straight from the mainstream: Polo, Nautica, Guess, pre-SB Nike and Adidas. What made skaters look cool was:
1) Good taste and an attention to detail.
2) The act of skateboarding itself.”
Words and illustration from above: