• You have to be Dressed When you're Born | Fashion and Skateboarding

    As skateboarding is becoming more popular, it’s seen the rise of female skateboarders, as well as a big growth in skateboarding ‘fashion’. There is a very cliché style that comes to mind when people think of skate fashion, however all skateboarders have their own unique way of dressing and interpreting skate fashion. Some don’t think about what they will wear that day; however there are some that take pride in the brands they wear and the outfits they put together.

    For girl skateboarders, we still have a few stereotypes linked to us, such as ‘she dresses like a girly girl, there is no way she is a skateboarder.’ Or ‘She dresses like a guy, she must like girls’. But neither of these things should be at the forefront of someone’s mind when they see a girl skateboarder, we should be seen as equal, showing our creativity through our clothing and our skills on the board.

    Here are some interviews on girl’s opinions of skate brands, their fashion style, and their thoughts on skateboarding becoming more mainstream and the brands involved in the new era of skateboarding. - Bryony Padwick

    Click the photo below to check out Bryony's full photo gallery!

    Photo: Bryony Padwick

    Stefani Nurding

    What came first for you skateboarding or fashion?

    I guess fashion because you have to be dressed when you are born but skateboarding always comes first for me :).

    How close have the two become for you now, or do you see them as totally separate?

    It is just who I am I love skateboarding and I love being creative and so it's just a natural part of my life.

    You seem to have a very unique style that you are applying to skateboarding with your clothes, as well as the products for sale on your website including griptape! Where does your inspiration for these things come from?

    My inspiration comes from everything I see, other people, exhibitions, anything where there is visual stimulation, so everywhere you look. I just get ideas pop to my mind and then have to do them for my sanity!

    What are some of your favourite brands and why? Any particular pieces that stand out?

      Polar have supported me for a long time and so I am really really grateful for that. I really happy to be part of Vans now too that is a dream come true for me. I have tons of designers I love, London is such an amazing place for that. A few of my favourites at the moment are Lydia Bolton and Molly Goddard.

    Why do you think skate clothing has seen more popularity in the wider fashion world recently?

    I think designers take some inspiration from the skate world and some of the prints are really nice. I'm my opinion at first it was probably just from an inspiration perspective but as more people have realized how fun skateboarding is and how exciting and fresh the female scene is they probably just got hyped off that and wanted to collaborate with it.

    Sian Michelle Williams

    Hey Sian, when did you first start to get into skate brands?

    Well there’s always been a slight interest as I used to play skateboarding games and wear brands like Vans and Nike sb, but skate fashion has never been my total sense of style. I use skateboard brands to mix in with my normal fashion to bring a bit of edge to my style. So I guess you could say I've just recently started really noticing skate brands properly and shooting skaters, but also shooting skaters in a more fashion / editorial environment as you see within my photographs.

    Photo: Sian Michelle Williams

    What are some of your favourite brands and why? Any particular pieces that stand out? 

    As I said I haven't been the biggest skate brand fan for the last few years, probably only the last year I've started taking more of an interest in skate brands. I used to wear Etnies and Vans shoes to school, Etnies because they were the most comfortable shoes in the world with lush amounts of padding and black Vans were very fashionable in my high school but I've always loved Vans etiquette and influences, also they support girls who skate a lot more than other skate brands which I love because skateboarding IS a unisex sport/hobby.

    True skateboarders and brand wearers might hate me for saying this but I love how Adidas and Nike are starting to bring out skate garments, I've always loved Nike, and Adidas specially. I'd love to see them bring out some more colourful and vibrant skate stuff which no doubt they will in future.

    What are some of your favourite brands outside of skateboarding? And do they relate at all to the skate brands you choose?

     As half the time I'm a real girly-girl and half the time I dress like a tom-boy, the brands I like are very varied. Adidas and Nike are in the forefront as I love sports luxe clothing so I try and mix like my sportswear with maybe more casual brands like River Island, H&M, New Look, Missguided to try and create a more original look. I love supporting little brands and startup clothing companies, so I'll often hunt down brands on Instagram and buy some of their stuff to try and mix it in with well known brands. Some of the companies I've been in contact with on Instagram relate I think, because its mostly streetwear, so skate brands are very vibrant in their research and inspiration so I do think they are connected on a certain level definitely.

    Photo: Sian Michelle Williams

    How closely does fashion and skateboarding go together in your view? 

     Very closely - I believe skaters think about the brands they wear when they go out to skate and how the brands look together. Like I mentioned briefly in the last question, more and more streetwear brands are appearing as start up brands on instagram, so people are being inspired by skate clothing, but escalating it to be worn by more than skaters. Just as an example I've started seeing 'Thrasher' hoodies and t-shirts being worn by normal people who don't skate because a very famous celebrity was caught wearing it or posted a photo on instagram and thats where the trend started. True skateboarders might not be happy with this but I believe it will continue happening with other brands too.

    Why do you think skate clothing has seen more popularity in the wider fashion world recently? 

    As again mentioned in the last question I believe celebrities are very much to blame, mostly people like the Kardashians who have been involved in the fashion world for a long time now, but now Kim is married to Kanye - He has an influence on what she wears, so her style has changed so it follows that her fans who idolise her, their style will change - it's a knock on effect. So its definitely more than what people seem to think the inspiration came from, Kanye's collection where he collaborated with Adidas was very much created with 'Sports-luxe' in mind which is including inspiration from Skate brands to some extent. Even girly celebrities are showing they're more 'Urban' style with Beyonce creating a sportswear range called 'Ivy Park' encouraging people to wear sportswear on the street like she does. This collection was sold in Topshop so it was almost encouraged to wear it normally with your normal day to day clothes and mix it up. Celebrity culture is much to blame for skate becoming more fashion led, and thats something I believe very much.

    Click Sian's photo below for her full gallery!

    Photo: Sian Michelle Williams

    Jennifer Kells

    Hi Jennifer, when did you first start to get into skate brands?

    Probably when I was about 14 ish when I'd hang around at the skate park with friends but when I was around 16 I spent more time and money going to my local shop Reefs (@reefsskate) buying bits which eventually got me a job there.

    What are some of your favourite brands and why? Any particular pieces that stand out?

    I have very simple tastes so I don't tend to like crazy designs. I like Thrasher, Emerica, Spitfire, Independent, Anti-hero etc. Logos on a shirt or jacket is good to me and these brands are classic with that. I was really into anything Altamont/Baker/Deathwish/Shake Junt for a while and the stuff was different to what I usually went for, but it was also different to what people were getting in Worcester and I was lucky to have a fair bit sent to me that no one else had which I loved. At this time I was always watching their videos so for me I was hyped by it and I'd be excited about certain guys releasing shoes etc. I also realise these are all pretty much American haha. 

    I'm a big fan of Beer Club (@beerclub4life) I really like their no bullshit approach to their designs. It's beer and skateboards what else do ya need? Also @sexskateboards for those reasons too ha. 

    Jennifer and Jake Phelps, doesn't get much better. Photo: James Brewer

    Have any of your views on skate clothing changed since working at Reefs?

    I guess so in ways. I am more aware of the passion of people that have spent their youth skating and how they feel towards the skate/fashion thing that has been developing over the years. I mean I used to get a lot of negative comments questioning why I wore skate clothing as I clearly don't skate much. The positive of being in the shop is that I have got to know people that get that I am into skateboarding and appreciate and support brands and friends. 

    Shout out to @gnargore.

    What are some of your favourite brands outside of skate? And do they relate at all to the skate brands you choose?

    I wouldn't really say I'm a brand person. I tend to stick to Tommy Hilfiger, Carhartt and Dickies. I guess the Dickies came from seeing my friends wear them and I tend to like boys clothing and they're easy to wear with skate brands too.

    Why do you think skate clothing has seen more popularity in the wider fashion world recently?

    I guess it's the whole social media scene that gets a lot of brands out there to people that usually wouldn't go into skate shops or parks. They see rappers, models and such in a Thrasher t and they want that "look" Also collaborations are getting bigger and the brands are reaching more people. The thing with fashion and trends is that things will come and go. Something different will be the next big thing soon enough

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  • Skater Owned Skateparks | Broom Skatepark

    Hi guys, could you give us a little history of the park?

    The park was built around '98 by a guy I used to do a fair bit of park building work with when I'd left school and it was him that got us over to The Edge as it was known back then for the first time as it was being finished.

    It's been through 5 owners before Sam and myself I think. Sam and I came about owning the park after the whole fallout at Flo had finished. Basically I was up north building 4 Motion in Darlington and Tom called me from Flo, as he was still managing the place to say the owners had come in and were closing the park. Flo Nottingham also owned Boardroom in Leicester; after Dave King the owner of Boardroom called me asking if Flo would be interested in buying the park off him in January of 2013. This meant that as Flo closed its doors Boardroom would also close. 

    Sam North, who I've known since skating around the Melton area as a kid, had been over and got involved with the whole Flo Skateparks thing and was running Boardroom and continued to do so after I'd left the company. I called him from Darlington to chat and we decided that "we" (meaning him as I wasnt on speaking terms with Flo's owners) could probably do a deal to keep Boardroom going. Sam did the "deed" and that was it. That was in February 2014.

    Louis Browne Tailbone transfers. Photo: Tom Quigley

    Could you take us through the process of the recent closure and reopening?

    Not sure what the recent closure and reopening you speak of is all about we've been here for 3 years now and only closed for the rebuild last year just before xmas for 3 weeks. although it often feels like we are on the brink of closing throughout the whole summer time.

    You refit the skatepark recently, what did you change and how did you decide what to put in?

    We ran into a bit of a drama two winters ago where scooter numbers were down, which were keeping the park going previously, skate numbers were also pretty poor. This was all due to the fact the park's layout was pretty tired and if you didn't grow up skating that layout it seemed totally insane. We decided that we needed to re-design and build a park that we wanted to skate that had some room to push in if possible. Having built the park in Nottingham and being forced out due to some serious behind the scenes disagreements it was important for me personally to build a good layout here and give our most loyal customers the park that we felt had the best chance of being busy and popular enough to survive. If it didn't work we would at least be closing the park we built and had given it our best go which is all you can do; we really didn't want to walk away from somebody else's tired business having babysat it for a year.

    The design process was straight forward enough in that we sat down with all the lads several times and decided we wanted a hip and a ledge with pushing room and that the other areas could just be tweaked and improved. Thats basically what we did. It took 3 weeks of some mental long days a few arguments and loads of help from all the locals and we were done with a week to go before Christmas 2015.

    Co-Owner Sam North 5-0s up. Photo: Tom Quigley

    One of the best looking things at the park is the vert wall, which I believe was cut down at some point? Has this made that wall more accessible to hit whilst also skating the rails / ledges?

    The vert wall used to be pretty much right up to the ceiling many years ago and was just a good wall ride really with a little quarter set in the front of it to gap over. It's been 8' high since it was changed though which was a few years ago now. We left it as is when we rebuilt because it is a good feature and works well for controlling your speed whether skating the hip or the ledge and rails and of course it can be used as a vert wall for all those vert and ramp stunts...

    What would you say is the biggest challenge you've faced since running the park?

    The biggest challenge for us has been getting the Skate School numbers up and keeping the youngsters coming in. The older guys and all the lads in and around the Get Lesta scene support us heaps but its getting the younger less experienced people in at the right time so the park isnt intimidating for them to get into. Being a small park it feels a bit like all eyes are on you when you ride there so getting beginner sessions set up and populated has been crucial to us. Also being injured and working the park i find really tough at times especially when its cold. Im injured a lot too. We also have "normal day jobs to pay all the bills and keep the significant others happy. Sam pregnancy scans Cows all year which is gnarly and Im a builder so full days on site then running the park in the evening does make for some long days but we wouldn't have it any other way.

    Finally, what's the best thing about running a skatepark?

    The best thing about running the park has to be skating with all the lads that come down and the teaching of skateboarding to youngsters is hugely rewarding. Our Sunday skate school mornings are amazing and its great to see how quickly they can learn at such a young age. I personally get a lot of enjoyment out of watching my lad Oscar who's 5 skating and interacting with all the rad guys we get down the park and watching him soaking it all up is fascinating. 

    Chris Straw Ollies to fakie on the venerable Broom miniramp. Photo: Tom Quigley