Steve Berra On the Skateboarding Ecosystem

I love getting into conversations with my skater friends that border on the same topic and others like it.  Aside from my parents and a few key individuals in my life, I believe I can attribute a substantial amount of ‘who I am‘ to my time spent skateboarding – both on the board and observing – since 1991.   I would put teaching ‘Skate Philosophy 101’ at a university at dream job status.  I often say that one of my hobbies is tracing the influence of skateboarding throughout pop culture and society, from fashion trends, to art, to attitudes.   Pathetic hobby, I know.

I frequently see pop culture icons labeled trendsetters and style icons, when in reality they are taking their lead from the quiet (in relative terms) skateboarders who for the most part, could care less.   Style has always been an essential element of skateboarding, but progression and overall enjoyment should always remain most important.   Obsessing over a nollie flip – a skater.  Obsessing over the way your jeans fall onto your P-Rods – a misled skater.

I highly recommend reading Steve’s post.  It is long, but a great read.  It is begging for some David Armano-style graphic treatment to articulate the symbiotic relationship between the parties that call skateboarding theirs.

George Michael – Allover Print Pioneer (and Extras Cameo)

My old friends know that strange importance that George Michael plays in my life. Yeah, I know, cheesy. But at least I admit it. I could (and eventually will) go on about his continued influence on pop culture and eventual rise back to glory, but in the mean time, check out this example of George Michael’s influence on follower-wear – I mean streetwear. He was an allover print pioneer:

Check his brief, but brilliant cameo on the HBO show ‘Extras’. How could you not love a guy that takes a shot at himself like this:

Images courtesy of el Arab Parrot.

Estelle’s “American Boy” Will Save Hip-Hop!

I was fully expecting to not like this song, but I absolutely love it. At some point, I will officially get off Kanye’s jock, but I believe this song could actually save hip-hop record sales. Here is my rationale, and I am only half-way joking here. Of all of my friends, the people with the largest – entirely paid for – music collections are my gay friends that are over 40. These are people clearly not buying hip-hop right now, so they are a completely untapped audience. The only music that even remotely resembles hip-hop in their collection is Blondie! But this song has such an M People meets hip-hop feel, that it may just be the most culturally significant song in years! This is entry level hip-hop for gay listeners. It starts here, then they buy Graduation, record companies identify the trend, and start cranking out loads of this gay friendly hip-hop. Problem solved!

Most Contagious of 2007

I know 2007 is old news to my forward-thinking readers, but I stumbled upon this great report from Contagious, that outlines the most interesting and successful marketing efforts from brands across the globe in 2007.   I had heard of most of these, but the few that I hadn’t heard of made the download worth while.

Download it the PDF here 

What’s Playing on Paris Runways?

One of my favorite companies is a small brand/trend consultancy called Agenda, Inc.  They do a number of interesting reports, but before 2007, they used to track all of the songs played at big fashion shows.  Fashion designers and their impeccable taste surely know all the cool music, right?   Well, after a year-long hiatus, they appear to have started tracking the songs again.   You can download the PDF of songs by designer/show here.

Notable…  a long-time favorite of mine (in digital years), Kid Sister,  was on the playlist of a few of the designers.  Good for her.

An Outsider’s Streetwear Predictions for 2008

Random thoughts….

  • Bulky, dirty sneakers will complement tight jeans. Think Jordan 6-10s with skinny jeans on hipsters. Note: This is not a sneaker-head thing… more of a waify, pasty hipster thing. Hipsters will rebel against the current trend of wearing women’s Keds.
  • The lines between streetwear and luxury will continue to blur. The more mature streetwear kids will step their game up, which will no doubt require new jobs. Nigo has been spotted in a vest/tie/jacket combo more in the last 3 months of 2007 than in the last 10 years. You’ll hear streetwear kids rattle off high-end designers/labels with ease.
  • Legacy will be the dominate theme of 2008. Brands with a real history will reign supreme. Think Levis, Vans, Stussy, Reebok, Carhartt, etc. The hot new-ish brands will stick around, but nobody will be excited about new brands, and nobody will want to endorse them. That is not to say that new brands won’t give it a shot, but it will not be pretty. Hypebeast has already reached total laughable status.
  • More to come…. I still have few weeks until 2008.
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