Posts Tagged ‘Chris Carter’

Big Shoes Small Boards

June 19, 2016

carroll-focus

There are some queries that must be considered as the ultimate questions of the time. Is it really what it is? Do gentlemen really prefer brunettes? What is the sound of one hand clapping? Do Gs get to go to heaven? If you couldn’t see the sun rising off the shore of Thailand would you ride then if I wasn’t driving? Has We The Best Season returned? Are you new around here or something man?

In our current big-footwear era of skateboarding, one question goes like this: Do international shoe manufacturers prefer small board companies? You sort of wonder. As Palace and Adidas and Skate Mental and Nike respectively grow cuddlier in the process of producing product lines, fewer such efforts appear to invite the creative hive-minds powering the likes of Element, Flip, Plan B and Zoo York to apply their MS Paint sorcery to established shoe-wall sellers. Meanwhile, the fingerprints of publicly traded footwear conglomerates increasingly seem to smudge the smartphone screens of board-company team managers:

Jamie Thomas: we bent over backwards for trevor for years. all was good, but as we were working with him on his boards, we started hearing that Nike was encouraging him to ride for skate mental because supposedly it would help his situation at Nike; Even though his graphics were done and his pro board was scheduled to be released in 2 months, he hit me up and said thanks for everything, but I’m gonna ride for Skate Mental.

Mike Carroll: Remember with Karsten [Kleppan], when we put out the intro to Lakai video part and then a week later Karsten got on Nike? It’s just like, what the fuck. And then that (Nike) dude Kaspar hit up Sam [Lakai’s Team Manager] and was like, “I know that Karsten’s off of Lakai now, but we want to get him off of Element. We want to get him on a cool company, would you guys be down to sponsor him for Girl?” It’s like, are you that retarded?

Jenkem’s text-messaging theorist: Nike backing riders to ride for small board co’s or start up their own small start up’s to dilute the market with heaps of small brands so the main camps like crailtap, black box (now dwindle) can’t focus on their own shoe programs and have to put their time and resources into keeping their board co’s alive in an over saturated market. Leaving it to them, Cons and adidas which works perfectly because they all co-exist this way in every other sport.

Is ‘small board company’ the proper terminology tho? Of the current Nike skateboard team, about half (16/34) skate for what could be construed as a ‘small/startup’ board company. But it may be more instructive to examine multinational sporting gear manufacturers’ history when it comes to sponsoring dudes who skate for a board company that is affiliated with a ‘legacy’ skate shoe company. In 2007, Nike’s inaugural and unfairly maligned full-length ‘Nothing But the Truth’ included parts from six dudes (out of 22) whose deck sponsors also ran a competing shoe outfit. By the time 2011’s ‘SB Chronicles 1’ arrived, the number had declined to two out of eight; it was 2/7 for ‘Chronicles 2’ and Cory Kennedy was the only one in last year’s ‘Chronicles 3’. Of the 24 bros in ‘Away Days,’ one skates for a board company that also peddles shoes, and on the Converse skate team, it’s one of 13.

Why might a big giant shoe company like its skaters to promote smaller/newer/upstart board companies? The idea of Jenkem’s texting thinker has some logic to it, though the deck sponsor’s ‘marquee’ position as it relates to pros’ pocketbooks has long been on the wane relative to shoes, as former DNA Distribution ‘business guy’ Chris Carter pointed out five years ago. As far as resource drains go, at a time when Brian Wenning and Jereme Rogers are able to formulate heat-press ready artwork and online storefronts, while micro-brands such as Jim Greco’s Hammers and Jeremy Klein’s revived Hook-Ups are able to secure premium pricing on limited runs, the actual overhead of doing a board company could or should be relatively low, assuming that a generation of even top-drawer pros have become accustomed to slimmer signature-board paycheques.

Would encouraging pros away from board companies/distributorships that also run shoe companies make sense for the majors? The post-getting-on-Nike moves of Trevor Colden (Mystery –> Skate Mental) and Karsten Kleppan (Element –> Skate Mental) make you wonder, and of the current SB team, about one-third, from Paul Rodriguez to Koston/Guy to Gino Iannucci, have departed such board companies for startups with no affiliation over the years, for various reasons. A widening gap between the board sponsor and shoe sponsor as far as pay, travel capability and general influence would cement the shoe merchants’ first right of refusal when it comes to Instagram clips, tour edits and coveted under-deck sticker placement real estate, and enhance capabilities to promote uniform-like outfits readymade for sweeping up spilled popcorn after matinee showings of ‘Zootopia 2: Zoological Boogaloo.’

Or does all our convoluted and conspiracy-minded nail-gnawing overlook the razory principle of Occam, which in this case might be that upstart board companies are cooler now and, given board sponsors’ functional functions as image-drivers, asa shoe purveyour you’d want the dudes you sponsor to skate under a small company’s cooler halo? Would this suggest that international shoe enterprises are chipping away at some image-management role traditionally performed by agents, increasingly beloved of pro skaters thirsting for soda sponsorship dollaridoos, but a timeworn rival of sporting giants when contract negotiation time rolls around? Should sponsor-juggling skateboarders seek the council of Jay-Z, a wheelings-and-dealings man who has had a pro-model shoe for rapping, helped manage a team and wrangled deals for pro athletes, by signing up for his exclusive Tidal internet music streaming business? Could board companies take a page from shoe companies and start encouraging teamriders toward Tumblr- and BigCartel-empowered wheel groups? Does all this silly noise obscure the shadowy role of the premium-fit cotton t-shirt as the true and honest currency of the realm?

*Note: DC is considered affiliated with Plan B for our simple-minded purposes here

Trisect

January 17, 2015

lobsterz

“Jim Jones,” intoned Cam’ron on the intro to his 2007 comeback release ‘Public Enemy #1.’ “That was my partner, that’s my friend. He ran with me over ten years, he deserves all the success he gets, he worked hard to get it. But what you all motherfuckers got to realize is ain’t nothing lasts forever.” The Harlem Wolf, as several resources have termed him, was responding to rumors of a private falling-out with Jim Jones amid a seemingly broader disintegration of the Diplomats, with Freaky Zeaky jailed, Juelz Santana pursuing blighted collaborations with Lil Wayne, Cam’ron sparring via his two-way with 50 Cent and Jim Jones innovating basketball influenced dance crazes.

Like many of Cam’ron’s escapades this one offered a lesson to the skateboard industry, if only it had been wise enough to listen. Not a year after Cam’ron described his internal feelings, Nike began selling the Red Lobster dunk (no relation to the restaurant) to rapturous acclaim from east coasters and crustaciophiles both. But it was not all gravy within the house of the lobster shoe, as a year later the competing Blue Lobster dunk (also no relation) surfaced, effectively dividing the market for footwear inspired by succulent shellfish and likely cannibalizing certain revenues. Just as the ancient clay tablets foretold, further fragmentation struck when Nike put forth a Yellow Lobster dunk (still no relation to the seafood restaurant enterprise), cementing division not as a passing phase but rather a permanent state of affairs for such shoes, and few have heard tell from them since.

Is an upstart Green Lobster shoe inevitable, or has the door been thrown wide for pretenders to the shellfish shoe throne such as the Crawfish dunk? Perhaps, but one wonders whether Jason Dill, AVE, Chris Carter, Mike Hill and Rob Dyrdek listened and/or learned from Cam’ron and his friends, where the lobster shoes so clearly did not. About 18 months since the first cracks appeared in the Sovereign Sect’s geodesic dome, it now appears to have splintered into three factions, each seemingly genetically superior and limitless by design. Yet in the torrid and dismembering flesh-chiseler that is the board-and-wheel biz, which if any will survive to issue a Bo Turner guest board? Boil the ocean internet site takes a bleary-eyed look.

Fucking Awesome
The Supreme-scented, occasionally active t-shirt project of Jason Dill was dusted off and promoted to a full-fledged deck and t-shirt entity following Dill and AVE’s joint Workshop defection in spring 2013, following a game of corporate hot potato with AWS as the overcooked stem tuber in question. FA Worldwide Entertainment, as it is known when parents, teachers or big-box friendly magazine writers are about, stole a march on rivals last year by commandeering much of the ‘Cherry’ runtime as well as its follow-ons, ‘Joyride’ and ‘Illegal Civilization 2.’
Special Moves: Bill Strobeck, DKNY, Vans money, comparisons to early World Industries, all those ams, Gino Iannucci somehow
Vulnerabilities: Key man risk in Jason Dill, already-sprawling team, potential for further dilution via alleged sister company ‘Hockey’

M(other)
Strip-teased via Gilbert Crockett’s Instagram account of all places, this supposed Alien offshoot flecks at Pentium-powered graphic design with plenty of woodgrain; said to be headed by former AWS business minds Chris Carter and Chad Bowers, this entity also seems to have effectively abducted the remainder of the post-FA Alien team, including Tyler Bledsoe, Gilbert Crockett and Jake Johnson.
Special Moves: The most-productive limbs of the Alien Workshop corpse, several of whom seem true believers in the vision out of Dayton; well-sized team to deliver a 15-minute optimum timeline video; clean slate
Vulnerabilities: Staking out distinct visual-arts real estate, Jake Johnson making good on his subliminal threats of quitting the biz, possible crosstown beef with…

Alien Workshop
In retrospect perhaps a no-brainer given its established brand value and the American dollars sunk into it on non-consecutive occasions by television persona Rob Dyrdek, Alien Workshop officially is in reboot mode, recently unveiling boards and shirts via a Habitat-esque Tum Yeto tie-up. The Slap boards have this effort helmed by Dyrdek, former G&S silkscreen necromancer Mike Hill and a TBA team that’s been alleged to potentially include everyone from former Alien flowee Paul Liliani to twice-named Cosmic Vomiter Rob/Bert Wooten to late-shove it hoister Lee Yankou and, er, Johnny Layton?
Special Moves: Those visuals, recognition amongst mall-shop purchasing bishops, a stout backcatalogue
Vulnerabilities: Rob Dyrdek’s thirst for recouping invested capital, some 13-plus size DC Lynx for any new inductees to fill, the evil banality of series graphics

In an already overgrown forest, can three yung shoots tap the life-sustaining sales nutrients and social-media followers required to sprout and grow in the shadow of a wilted giant? Are Heath Kirchart’s affections currently being vied for? Which among these newly anointed tribal leaders can look upon his erstwhile competitors and speak Cam’ron’s magnanimous words for Jim Jones: “I wish that man nothing but the best of luck and success and I hope he goes all the way to the motherufcking top and has a great career. Best of luck beloved.”