Research Article | Interview Reflection and Critique: Overload Skate Shop
Main Question Being Investigated
Does Skate Culture Even Relate to the Fashion World?
Absolutely, yes. Let me explain the extensive connection between Skating and Fashion and why I chose to investigate further into their reciprocal influences. I looked to fashion and skateboarding historical research and an up-close examination of Overload Skate Shop.
Californian Skate Culture was an original inspiration of the concept of Streetwear, an increasingly popular style making a huge impact in high fashion, on the runway, through retail and by inspiring the designers themselves. Though streetwear was less prominent on the runway in the recent Fashion Weeks, it remains forever embedded in fashion culture. “Skatewear” has tremendously forged its own path in fashion as a progressing style— part streetwear with some qualities of sportswear. Modern skate fashion has stepped away from its Punk roots and evolved into a more urban style— eclectic, modern, unconventional and founded in youth culture and individuality. Reaching modernday skatewear has passed through many phases: 70’s short shorts, 80’s neon and punk, 90’s hiphop and grunge clash (Chavs vs. Skate Punks), and the 2000s oversize style. When evaluating skate fashion today, it is clear that another era of skateboarders style has emerged in bleach blonde hair, high-waters and relatively fitting clothes. Touches of the past remain in the stee of the present. For example, pieces like windbreakers, beanies, leather jackets, striped socks, loose fitting shirts, bucket and safari boonie hats, bananas, vans, flannels and household names like Thrasher. I see this change as the development of Urban Streetwear, the early-mid 2010s style of Skatewear.
Modern Urban Skatewear
Skate fashion is consistently represented in common and high-end streetwear and constantly inspires fashion design, influencing many styles. Consequently, popular skate brands, like Nike SB, Converse and Vans, have exploded with growing success as more and more people recognize Skateboarding’s significance and appreciate the culture and style it creates and represents. This influence is not just evident in menswear, skateboarding is the inspiration of countless editorials and collections of female fashion, from ready-to-wear to runway. The skateboarder lifestyle contrasted and combined with models in high-end, couture or women’s street fashion fascinates designers and photographers. These artistic minds play with the hard and soft effect and resulting intrigue that is created. They experiment with marriages of lace, skirts and heels with a skate park backdrop or a skate shoe with feminine silhouettes and soft hues. They also use skate fashion to create a new skate look for women; layering different patterns and colors in jackets, hats and masculine silhouettes. The designers making an Extraordinary impact by juxtaposing proportions of cropped, tight and oversize fit. [women’s skate-inspired apparel]
I love Fashion, especially Streetwear, and am very inspired not only by skate culture’s carefree and radical lifestyle, but by its positivity. So I decided to explore skate fashion’s influence on fashion and its growing market. To do so I chose to interview a person who has had years of firsthand experience in the skate retail industry and manages a storefront that represents innovation in skate fashion.
Up-Close Examination of the Skate Fashion Industry
Overload Skate Shop, An Innovator in “Skatewear”
The location [in North Park] serves as a retail store, event space and art gallery that features a well curated stocklist of like-minded brands as well as a place to host events to coincide with special projects exclusive to Overload. -Overload Website.
Because of the new storefront’s location in a freshly built shopping center in Carmel Valley, foot traffic and awareness of the store is low. Consequently, business has been slow, but steady. Sales, location awareness and product in stock are all expected to pick up in June of this year. The North Park location, on the other hand, is extremely well-known and very popular. It is unique for not only being a high-end skate shop, but for hosting events like celebrity and pro skateboarder signings, meet and greets, releases and other affairs as an art gallery and event coordinator. Big names like Kirko Bangz and Honey Cocaine have hosted meet and greets at the store and the LRG skate team has had a signing event. The store has also been featured on MTV in Tommy Sandoval’s Day-in-the-Life video and has been very involved in the art community. There are plans to create the same kind of event space and art gallery reputation at the new Carmel Valley location.
Overload embodies both skate culture and skate fashion in its strong ties to the foundations of skateboarding and its urban, upscale innovation in skate fashion. This and the clear impact skate fashion has on fashion design and styles proves the strong connection between fashion and skateboarding. This relationship will continue to develop and the mutual influence will be evermore evident. Looking ahead, the effects of the coexisting influences of and relationships between Skateboarding, the Fashion Industry and the World as a whole will grow. Fashion will continue to inspire the world’s self-expression and guide to every skateboarders career path. Skateboarding culture will continue to give an urban ease to fashion and encourage breaking basic fashion rules as well as infuse a much needed positive, carefree outlook in to the world. Skateboarding and the innovative trajectory of Fashion will encourage the freedom to mix trends and set them, to blend inspirations of past, present and future and to look at Fashion as a form of self-expression sans no rules. The inherent relationship between these 2 seemingly unrelated industry’s highlights the ignorance caused by boundaries built out of assumptions, cliches and stereotypes. Because, when looked at closely, these 2 very different concepts actually have a mutually positive, fundamental effect on each other. I re-learned from this entire study that standards and misconceptions can be easily changed by individual and critical thought. Not simply Fashion rules or conventions or even bans on street skating, but perceptions of style and its consequent clique-forming habit. Societal boundaries and preconceived notions can be broken down, altered, repaired or simply extinguished. I was shown by this research and analysis the true importance of being innovative in retail in fashion and retail. Embracing progressive change is vital to achieving success in Fashion or Skateboarding.