Does Skate Culture Relate to the Fashion World?

Research Article | Interview Reflection and Critique: Overload Skate Shop

Independent Assignment Here

[more photos- menswear]

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     


Huf Lookbook (image below)
Though urban wear and streetwear are sometimes used as interchangeable terms, they are different while both intrinsically centered around individual self-expression. Streetwear is a trend-setting style and Urban Fashion is a cultural collaboration of trends, including street style. Skate style is bridging this gap, creating a ever-growing fashion-forward look that inspires trends, is influenced by current fashion and unite a vast array of cultures, genres and individuals while still prioritizing personal identity. [see skateboarding fashion here]
One of the most popular mags in Skateboarding
& has its own clothing line of true street 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]

Skating is just as much effected by fashion as it influences it. Fashion and especially, Style, is a huge part of the Skateboarding industry. Who you wear, what brands sponsor you, what your personal style is, who you respresent, who promotes you and whether or not you embody the Skateboard culture and style are HUGELY important and deep-seated in Skateboarding’s core values.

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”

Overload Interview Questions

Overload is a high-end skate shop that redefines the image of skateboard fashion by offering rare products and, classic, high demand brands, hosting events in the artist community and implementing a new age urban twist on skate style. I visited the newest location in Carmel Valley that just opened its doors in June 2015. It is the only other store besides the original and incredibly successful Overload storefront in North Park, founded by owner Aaron Churder. This integral San Diego shop is going on its 16th year in business as an extremely popular store and unique brand, accelerated by its unorthodox concepts of what a skate shop should be in its community and what it should represent. It has a boutique aesthetic and carries mens clothing and high fashion footwear in every reputable brand, like Nike SB Jordans, Vans, Adidas and Stussy. Every Saturday, both store locations hold releases for shoes like Jordans, an impressive and distinctive characteristic of the store.
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.
Chad Hargrove, Overload Manager

I met with Carmel Valley manager Chad Hargrove to find out more about the store and its place in the retail skate industry. Chad, dressed casually but smartly in classic skate fashion, welcomed us into the store and answered all questions with knowledgeable enthusiasm. He explained his day-to-day responsibilities managing and running the store on his own, there being only one sales associate hired that works for just 3 hours a week. Chad primarily manages the online store, opening/closing processes, purchasing transactions and visual merchandising, as well as having influential input on the buying process. He also went into details of the company and its direction for the future (below). He has worked in Skate Retail since he was just 15 years old (now 21) and holds an impressive resume filled with experience of sales and management in the industry. He has worked in sales at Wavelines, as a manager at Vans and supervisor at Sector 9 Skateboards. This experience, combined with previously being a Keyholder at K-Five Boardshop and managing the west coast account of Steez Magazine, has made him certainly qualified to be hired directly as to the manager position for the opening of the Overload Carmel Valley storefront. Along with his extensive history in the business, Chad is a Skateboarding Photographer with a long list of well-known clients like Pro Skateboarders Pat Duffy and Ben Hatchell. His artistic eye for photos has contributed to Overload’s Instagram postings as well as Overload’s website and product photography.

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 Skateshop has Boat Loads of Dopeness | Video


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.



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