Posts Tagged ‘Raspberry Beret’

Let’s Pretend We’re Married

April 30, 2016

purp

Skating last week waved a black lace garter goodbye to one of its longest-burning signal flares, Prince, a towering figure whose resolute outsiderness, restless creativity and sexual horsepower presaged skating’s passing indulgences into blouses, smouldery brooding, paisley and motorcycles. His purple fingerprints linger in skating’s infatuation with eagles, seagulls and pigeons, Corvettes and berets, whilst his Paisley Park compound providing a blueprint for many of today’s self-contained content factories. Indeed, Prince is rumored to have been the soft-spoken and hypnotic voice delivering a series of wee-hours directives to a succession of skate-biz power brokers, for decades anonymously guiding the industry from a what is widely assumed to be a love symbol-shaped telephone.

Eric Koston is as easily pegged a Prince disciple as any working pro, from skating to ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ to social media adventures and releasing multiple purple coloured shoes*. One could ponder whether Eric Koston’s late 1980s-‘Yeah Right’ run matched Prince’s prowess over his first 14 albums, and just as Prince in the mid-1990s famously severed himself from Warner Bros, the record-labeling bros who had released his music for nigh on two decades, Eric Koston last year stepped away from his own 20-year employers at Girl, and now appears set to further immerse himself in Prince’s legacy as he speed-dates deck merchants while developing his own board imprint.

This weekend Eric Koston surprised few with the unveiling of a deck series for WKND, after foreshadowing a master plan that also involved endorsing some funny arted decks created by Brad Staba’s Skate Mental company. The polyamorous moves harken back to Prince’s high-heeled hopscotching from record company to record company after the Warner Bros kiss-off, even if the frosty vibes emanating from Eric Koston’s parting ways with Girl didn’t rise to the level of scrawling ‘SLAVE’ across his face. Alternately one could posit Girl as Eric Koston’s Vanity, from whom he moves on to a string of bosomy and multi-instrumental paramours, sometimes while jamming on synthesizers.

Are Eric Koston’s indigo-tinted industry maneuvers helping to usher in a post-board sponsor era in which deck makers become loose, image-oriented collectives for pros and various bros to shack up for a time, under some ‘gest’ or similar rubric, before drifting apart? Is this threatened obsolescence of the deck-company team an extension of the much-maligned hookup culture, hunted to extinction by smartphone-eroded attention spans, ringtone raps and seven-minute abs? Just as Prince ultimately buried his +4 Axe of Creative Control with Warner Bros, will an aging Koston eventually return to Girl in a deal that grants him full rights over his ‘Goldfish’ to ‘Pretty Sweet’ raw footage, which later will be turned over to the courts for a years-long legal battle amongst Koston’s heirs after his sudden death traumatizes millions and reveals that he left no will?

*Generally purple and gold, referencing the colours of the LA Lakers**
**A team originally from Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota

One Shoelace Belt to in the Darkness Bind Them

September 1, 2014

stitches

All around us, the towers of logic are a-tumble, similar to Jenga blocks erroneously positioned nearby to a Fred Gall wallride. Behold, the vagabond winos at Cliche now peddle decks in distribution partnership with handrail headbangers Zero under Dwindle, the house that Flameboy built. Longboard makers run financial roughshod over storied and battle-hardened deck dynasties; three months on from Alien Workshop’s abrupt mothballing, major magazines have yet to offer any account, official or otherwise. In midtown professional skaters lustily embrace their corporate paymasters, as Paul Rodriguez and other Street Leageuers press Nasdaq’s ceremonial market-opening button and Chris Cole affirms to the WSJ that skateboarding is the “perfect” method for the Olympic to expand its viewership and rope in new advertising dollars.

In recent weeks another would-be bastion of reasoning crumbled following DGK’s release of its “Blood Money” promo. Largely obscured by Marquise Henry’s massive switch backside noseblunt, half-cab pointer grind revert and AVE ender, Dane Vaughn’s last trick and facial hair making a bid for the year’s sleaziest, as well as Boo Johnson’s handgliding hardflips and impeccable frontside tailslides*, was the subliminal yet clearly articulated message that skinny camo pants no longer can be used as any litmus test for judgment, fashion- or otherwise, upending a longstanding assumption that stood unchallenged as recently as Trevor Colden’s Skate Mental part. DGKs from Marquise Henry to Jackson Curtin (several times recognized historically as the industry’s best-dressed) can been seen within more form-fitting camoflage, jettisoning the traditional woodland patterning, cargo pockets and bagginess that imbued the noble BDU with its sense of timelessness**.

Are we so lost? Like Rick Howard video parts and Red Dragon brawlings, increasingly, skate-centric fashion innovations seem to be fading into the haze of history, sometimes dropped amid adoption by more general populaces, sometimes because they ultimately became understood to look wacky. Patterned berets sold by Vision came to identify counterculture warriors in 1980s cinema, whereas lacesavers went the way of the vert ramp in the early 1990s just in time for kickflips to usher in ollie patches, Shoe Goo and a slightly different way of shredding shoelaces. Airwalk, Vans and Etnies could not wrap their heads around low-top sneakers quickly enough to save a generation of “Questionable” era hightops from stickers and shears, the latter of which also chopped short pant cuffs in the goofy boy period, influencing several ravers.

Following a bizarre interlude when shopping at the Gap was cool, skateboarders helped lift cargo pants to their later Abercrombie staple status before Muska developed a unique method for bunching up his pants at calf level, in which he was joined on both coasts by the likes of Sean Sheffey and Fred Gall. Warner Ave members later attempted to resuscitate spray-painted shoes and reclaim the vert shirt from bodybuilders, but despite the ongoing success enjoyed by the weed leaf sock, such strokes of inspiration in recent years mostly wandered toward more pedestrian pastures, the brown cords/white tee ensemble serving as a notable such milemarker.

Consider the shoelace belt, and whether it represents the longest-lived such accessory. Popularized around the 2002 release of Flip’s “Sorry” as a more lightweight and streamlined alternative to spiked belts for the stretch black denim set, the shoelace belt enjoyed broad embrace across the tech/gnar spectrum, at times seeming to mutate into a product category of their own. Mall retailer Zumiez currently offers three pages’ worth of shoelace belt items and belt-optimized branding options are available in multi-coloured sets from the hat firm Neff. Despite adherence to colourful editions among the likes of Sebo Walker and Shep Dawg Stephen Lawyer there appear signs that the shoelace belt’s profile may decline as more-traditional leather variants reclaim lost market share and diminishing lace hole populations leave larger-waisted consumers bereft of fittable out-of-the-shoebox options.

Would extinction of the shoelace as a belt mark another step toward relinquishing any claim skating still may hold over casual-wear style leadership? Have bike messengers and dockworkers already usurped this position? Is it ‘just a shoelace brah’ or so much more brah? Does there exist photo evidence of so-called “lace heads” lining up outside shops days before a sneaker release only to discard the shoes in favor of looping limited-release laces through expensive denim beltloops? Were these the original target consumers for Jake Brown and Peter Smolik’s ‘lifetyle company’ LACED?

*to regular, naturally
**Josh Kalis of course seems to remain a traditionalist, and Bobby Worrest