Will the New Transworld Cover Slake Skating’s Quenchless Thirst for Pants Progression?


Like a fire that, once lit, cannot help but to consume an entire bulldozer-built pile of disco records, or a shark that must ceaselessly advance through a sea of Pace Picante Style salsa or face its untimely Picante Style demise, skating since the beginning has been possessed of a need to progress. Alan Gelfand’s ollie wasn’t enough, it had to be did backwards; what’s the point doing a loop when you can turn it switch with a section chopped out of the top? Josh Kalis’ straight kickflip in a Love Park ‘Time Code’ line, immaculate as it is, looks quaint through the Mark Suciu lens.

Through it all the shoe has come to be regarded as the most immediate extension of the seven-ply-trucks-and-urethane configuration, but the past decade’s footwear fetishization mainly serves to obscure a decades-long struggle with pants. After clamoring out of pools and associated surf trunks the story of skating and pants has reflected that of mankind’s tortured grappling against his very own nature, occasionally overreaching, failing, burning piles of disco records, and starting anew. In the 1980s Limpies and Vision offered chaotic and unpredictable* print varieties for those zestful spirits unsatisfied by blue jeans or more-pedestrian sweatpants with skeletal rats ascending outseams; vert soon gave way to street these fell back while multicoloured and flapping denim advanced, several years passing before the East rejuvenated woodland camo and more adventurous spirits embraced snow and urban variations.

While the aughts saw style magnets such as Dylan Rieder and Nick Trapasso alternately fuck with pinestripes and pajama pants, this period of war and economic turmoil mainly reflected itself in darkened indigo denim and brown cords, the re-embrace of printed patterned pants not arriving until well into the 2010s when all-over print shirts primed a newly emboldened consumer base to throw wide the camo floodgates for increasingly esoteric prints. Thanks partly to relentless boosterism within DGK vids, the movement eventually demanding notice by the mass-market media: “It’s the one pattern that pretty much every guy is down with. What other pattern has a macho angle to it?”

Masculinities aside, the door now lies kicked down for pants makers — Thrasher offers a SAD sweatpant among several options, and now comes Fucking Awesome heavyweight Na’kel Smith on the cover of Transworld, gapping out in Tokyo within a pair of florid leggings that seem to also have crossed the Atlantic in recent months. In his numbers-taking, asses-kicking process over the last two years, Na’kel Smith seems to have taken it upon himself to push back the pants pendulum to a level of intricate and flowery detail not seen in probably about 25 years, no small undertaking when considering the intense internet flames stoked beneath noted 360 flip 50-50er** Garrett Hill, daring to step out in a still-notorious red-and-black combo.

Has Na’kel Smith doomed himself to a Sisyphusian task, destined to be squashed by a heavy and oblong fashion boulder that will waver under the weight of resurgent dad jeans, or is his pants choice more conservative than it may first appear when laid alongside a freely purchasable array of similarly floral hats, shirts, shoes, and obviously weed socks? Are authorities overlooking an emerging form of camo that now clothes newly militarized toughs hired to defend a booming US marijuana industry? Are scarfs next? As it thins has Transworld on the low had the best covers of the last year?

*particularly for Cali4nia Cheap Sk8 clientele
**And backer of 360 flip 50-50ers

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9 Responses to “Will the New Transworld Cover Slake Skating’s Quenchless Thirst for Pants Progression?”

  1. Knuckle Buster (@henry_york) Says:

    wow, good call on the covers. thrasher’s been a little same-y for a time. maybe it’s just because the skate world (myself included) tends to assume they’re the only game in town.

  2. art hellman Says:

    certainly not the skateboardmag with best covers. yeesh.

  3. Rocuronium Says:

    I’ve been digging the covers too. I miss the monthly SLAP polls.

  4. chepesent Says:

    mention of honor: muska’s mc hammer pants…

  5. Chew Says:

    No mention of Biebel’s grey sweaties?

  6. andrew Says:

    eli reed pants game on fleek

  7. hyphybwoy Says:

    Skaters fashion been weak for a minute now i laugh at the park how packs of dudes roll up all looking th same you got highwaterslick hair gnar tight dickies kids, then you got the staright up nerds ridin shape boards wearin highwater that only do tricks that use your hands on the board and feet on the ground, and then there are the regular kids who just look like whaterevr and try to wear the plainest shit possible…all in all they boring and regular as fuck. GAP had floral print jeans for the past two seasons it aint nothing new. nakeel jeans are fresh as fuck and the cover is cold too. thats tight he didnt wear no fucking basic gear. whats up though? skaters to used to be the ones who made new shit dope and influenced what everybody else did a couple years later but it doesn’t really seem like that now. now they just buy into other peoples shit and it’s whatever

  8. Ben Says:

    genre that is important to not, which is the NYC addidas sweatpants phase. Jesse Alba wears some blue nylon ones in a lot of his videos, as does Genesis Evans. This is part of a pretty localized 90’s tourist esque trend that Genesis is primarily pioneering. I know palace skateboards did an addidas collab and made some 3 stripe sweats a while back but I’m curious as to who started wearing them first. Jesse Alba and Genesis’ crew of course is going for the “completely fucking around” look, which includes iphone filming, pop culture cynicism, and as I mentioned before dressing in ways that look extremely careless but due to the fact that those guys are awesome end up being cool and trendy. Another genre of sweatpant wearing can be seen when looking at Tyshawn Jones in the William Strobeck’s “Joyride” video, where he wears the addidas type that has the elastic at the bottom. This is more of a hype beast look than Alba’s addidas nylon type with no elastic at the bottom. Shawn Powers also of course rocks the elactic bottom sweats all the time too. I guess I have no idea where the fuck it came from but there is an infatuation in the skate world with obscure and completely unrelated sports, like running, that is bringing sweats and things like quartersnacks’ “Tompkin’s Square Track Club” crewnecks. I would love to know who was the first person to skate with sweats, most particularly the addidas three stripe kind.

  9. John Shanahan, Chopped and Sewed on the Final Frontier | boil the ocean Says:

    […] tags when positioned alongside skaters’ current affection for graphical sweatpants and other sub-waistline achievements. But as he tests his growing powers, is John Shanahan consciously or not flying too close to that […]

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