Happy fall fashion week. We hope that you are fashion-forward during these next several days, and wish you the best of luck in sparking a brief romance with a lonely stylist’s assistant before the week is out.
In honor of this most festive of weeks, we have compiled a somewhat comprehensive guide to the best gear from the past twenty years’ worth of skate videos. Skateboarding didn’t just begin “embracing fashion,” as some misinformed outfits have recently reported. Fashion has been stealing shit from skaters for years. (Luckily, they left Javier Nunez’s City Stars jeans alone.) Here’s the proof: All the jerseys, sweats, camo, braids, insane patches, sweater vests and swooshy pants that you could ever hope for. Yes, there are omissions. No, it isn’t in order. Thanks to Roctakon, Boss Bauer, Sweet Waste, Jack Sabback and Jason from Frozen in Carbonite for their contributions to this post.
In the introduction to his interview with Zered Bassett, Chris Nieratko details how Zoo York was once a source of pride for east coast skaters. A few buyouts and a decade later, nobody sets up a Zoo board with a geographic bias in mind anymore. Even if the company completely phases out of skating, people will forever nerd out over their first three videos (Mixtape, at this point, is just as much of a hip-hop classic a la Wild Style or Style Wars as a classic skate video), and chances are, most who began skating after Zoo ceased being any sort of an east coast status symbol have seen those videos and cried about how all the spots are gone.
You can’t type “zoo york ads” into a Vimeo search bar and get any results, so a lot of younger kids won’t see the old Zoo ads. (They probably won’t see the new ones either…do kids still look at magazines?) Those ads are just as full of classic nineties east coast iconography as the original videos.
The Zoo ads throughout the nineties were “MAD HIP-HOP YO,” at a time when that meant more than leaving comments about how Lil’ Wayne sucks on every pre-2000 rap video’s YouTube page. Other companies even jocked their whole hip-hop scrapbook vibe when it was appropriate: Transworld styled article layouts for east coast skaters with Zoo’s look (see here), west coast companies would run Zoo-esque ads for their east coast riders (see here and here), and start-up east coast brands like Illuminati, Metropolitan, and Capital all had a bit of Zoo DNA in their ads. It’s unfortunate that now, even when paired with a sick photo, Zoo ads look pretty generic.
Falling in line with other archivaltreasures that surfaced earlier this year, here are two great lifestyle-ish skate clips featuring Harold Hunter, Rodney Torres, Steve Rodriguez, and others. They cover a wide array of nostalgia points: excellent sneaker choices that would be seen as “retro” should they be worn today, the swooshy Adidas track pants that the 90s were quite fond of, a fence-lacking Banks wall, the original “Back of Union,” and perhaps most notable for those who enjoy making their lungs black, a $2.35 price-tag on a pack of cigarettes. It is also good to know that Rodney was capable of 360 flip lipsliding a handrail fifteen-years ago. Can’t say anyone should be nostalgic for skating in Northface jackets with snow on the ground though…
Check out Manolo’s channel on YouTube for more clips. (Not to be confused with the guy who does all the re-edits.) There’s almost seventy of them and they cover about fifteen years of footage.
It seems that whenever Jereme Rogers releases one of his “rap songs,” conventional skateboard media outlets continue to grant him exposure. These videos usually draw the ire of those nostalgic for the Coliseum era, when Jereme was switch flipping stairs to Buena Vista Social Club. Even non-skate related circles have given his frequent masterworks of second hand embarrassment some contemplation. We’re all guilty of (well, not Quartersnacks…not until this post anyway) offering Jereme airtime, instead of ignoring him in hopes that he would simply disappear or get committed. He, like many other inadequate rappers, subscribes to the fallacy that equates having “haters” to success. The only way we could win is by not paying attention.
However, his recent rap videos and audition tapes for a potential sequel to Whiteboyz are not the first instances of skateboarders attempting to mesh themselves with the mystic world of rap music. The following is a (cautionary) guide to the occasional rap video skate part, and why it has typically been a bad idea, long before Jereme Rogers made us wonder if he bumped his head too hard when he fell off the mattress in Wonderful Horrible Life.
It has been a quietly monumental week for New York City skate footage, at least from a historical perspective. While the Skate NYC Apple Juice documentary is quickly working its way over 5,000 YouTube views, several lesser-exposed video clips have been released to accompany it, and they might be even more precious than the doc itself. I have no clue who “skinnypoo” is on Youtube, but he just uploaded a fifteen-minute gem of raw, late-eighties New York footage featuring Harold Hunter, Hamilton Harris, Jamal Simmons (first black man on the cover of Transworld), Ryan Hickey, and even Steven Cales, all in their teen years. We’re talking people who already have sparse video appearances throughout their regular skate careers, let alone footage of them skating Tompkins in 1989.
These videos, along with the documentary from earlier in the week, have quickly managed to fill in the aforementioned late-eighties/downtown gap that the Deathbowl doc glossed over. It’s amazing how there is barely any Banks footage throughout the videos, yet plenty of Midtown, World Trade Center, and Tompkins stuff, not to mention a few cutty East Village spots, including the (now blocked-off) manual pad in front of P.S. 19 on First and 11th, and the two-stair curb next to the NYU dorms on 9th Street between Third and Second. You can go two decades hearing about an era of skating that was barely documented outside of a few iconic Shut or Harold Hunter photos, and then out of the blue, someone unloads thirty minutes of never-before-seen footage. The stuff that turns up on YouTube is absolutely amazing…