The Future of Camouflage Fashion: Camo Pants, Skateboarding & 2011

In recent years, camo pants have stood as a self-aware, “throwback” foray into the days when skating was “good.” Peruse the comments section of any YouTube page for a skate part released in 1993 through 1998, and you will encounter endless older individuals claiming that this was an era when “skating was good” or that the feats at hand were “real skateboarding.” Something unique to the fashions displayed within these “real” and “good” videos, is the presence of camouflage pants, a garment that has been outmoded in the past decade, as factory brand chinos and plain old Levi’s (and occasionally more expensive, yet still similar denim counterparts) have become the go-to for skate pants. Girls aren’t really into dudes in camo pants (unless they are engaged to someone in the Armed Forces), and liberal society tends to frown upon you for stepping into Whole Foods to hit the buffet after skating while wearing fashion fatigues at the time of an unpopular war.

Yet in the modern day, skaters have been known to forfeit whatever social acceptance comes with not wearing camo pants, in addition to many potential glances from the opposite sex, solely so they could “keep it real,” insofar as the definition of “real” is derived from the aforementioned YouTube pages.

A similar phenomenon exists within the YouTube-ized world of 1990s rap music, particularly east coast rap music. “Yo Nas was 18 when Illmatic came out, Soulja Boy is 18 and stupid!” “Yo this is when rap talked about real shit, not that Gucci Mane shit on the radio today!” Look at the “real” videos for the “real” songs where these comments appear. What do you see? That’s right, camo pants.

In tracing the path by which camo pants are found on the legs of skaters in 2011, a safe assumption would be that they are a means to channel skateboard heroes of the 1990s, who were in turn, channeling their rapping heroes of the 1990s, as seen in Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun videos. “Dat real hip-hop” -> “Dat real skateboarding.” Up until now, the occasional modern revitalization of camo has been kept within the constraints of “real.”

While listening to much of Lil’ Wayne’s late-2010/2011 material, you will encounter awkward phrases where he basks in his fondness for Vans, or the fact that he is “Dressed like a skater.” Rappers adopting what they perceive to be skateboard-related superficialities is nothing new, but Weezy recently broke new ground as he is seen in the remix for “Fire Flame” video adorning the most sacred piece of attire in skateboarding: Camo pants. Given a hasty survey of (yet again) YouTube comments, Wayne is in the upper portion of artists supposedly “ruining” modern music, along with Justin Bieber, Soulja Boy, and QS favorite, Lady Gaga, so it’s going to be hard to imagine how skaters continue any future attempts at “bringing dat real back” via fatigues. Ignoring this new development will only make you look like you’re channeling Wayne, when you may have been going for Josh Kalis in The Sixth Sense, or Anthony Correa in Mixtape.

A well-researched prediction of ours is that hockey jerseys may soon embody the space previously occupied by camo pants, as they were equally prominent within early-to-mid-90s rap videos, yet seldom seen on any skaters back then. Nineties skaters probably grew so complacent with the pants, that finding a companion piece never crossed their minds. But since the golden (or brown-tan-black-and-green) grail has been soiled by Wayne and his purported ties to that which is not “real,” the time has come to find a “mad real” alternative.

What are you going to wear when you hold it down for “dat real shit,” though?

Not pertinent to skateboarding, but are Scottish people and the 2003 version of Cam’ron also going to be infuriated with an extremely polarizing figure like Lil’ Wayne adopting their respective plaid pants and pink attire?


  1. Busta killed his part on that one song in the link. Holy shit. Old guys still got it. Sucks its a R&b song tho

  2. being in high school i have to deal with every fucker thats in to “weezy’. no one even acknoledges the realness of jeezy or any older hip hop. i was told by my one friend that wu tang is “wierd” when i told him i was goin to see them live.

  3. Wayne has been popular since the late-90s, Jeezy has been popular since 2005, so Wayne’s actually “older.”

    Wu-Tang is weird, it’s a bunch of dudes talking about kung-fu movies, comic books, selling coke, shooting people, and how we need to take care of our babies. Wu-Tang also has some of the most annoying fans ever, and if I was 14 right now, I might be put off from listening to them because of that.

    (Obviously I’m a big fan but some of these dudes take that shit to unnecessary extremes.)

  4. This winter I’ve been rocking the thick plaid shirts with double lining a la Method Man.

    Anyone remember the days when you’d hunt down 20 dollar Adidas or Pumas at the ghetto sports shops? I could never afford no Etnies Raps.

  5. $20 shell toes, campus & Puma Clyde’s at Kaddy Kan in Bay Shore. Camos & carpenter jeans from Bell Army Navy next to the $6 dollar pie spot with the guy with a glass eye. Hockey Jerseys from Herman’s on sale with a coupon. Polo rugbys stolen from Marshalls….

    Nice one on the Planet Asia reference.

  6. black was the new white. then gay was the new black. now skateboarder is the new gay

  7. The skater that rocks camo trousers in a recentish RAW (Ready Amongst Willing) clip negates Lil Weezy blazing camo in an audaciously wak steez.

    Being from Scotland myself I believe not too many people here will give a flying shit about Cam’ron or Wayne looking wak as fuk in one of their generic rap vids. or rocking plaid and pink.

    all the camo video grabs at the top of the post are dope.

    although it has been around 3 years and 2 months since fully flared was released, please note the camo pants Welsh rocks for his ender – ill shit.

    I definitely want to get a decent pair of camo with a distinctly mid 00’s baggy fit to film some NBD’s in.

  8. fuck the house of vans , invite only bullshit….nobody is gonna skate that shit in the summer anyway

  9. shit, im bout to fight lil wayne. just cause you have vans dont mean your a skater, fuck that. vans aint as much a skate brand anymore, mostly guido fags and pricks that dress american eagle wear em.

  10. “skateboarder is the new gay”

    Amazing, still trying to keep the camo alive over here in the UK, but turning up to a party in my camo pants has never done anything but repel the opposite sex, so as i’ve got older they have spent more time in my wardrobe, although i still rock my camo jacket on a daily basis.

    But after seeing the post there is nothing i want to do more than go put on my camo pants right about now, and go hit up southbank, despite the inevitable laughter coming from the kids in high water chino’s and beanie’s neatly balacing off the back of there skulls

  11. lil wayne’s stylist is not a skater, just someone wishing he was ( i know the dude ).
    lil wayne’s look = being dressed by someone confused

  12. Agreed,

    This QS read is another testament to how good skating used to be in the 90’s. Idolizing the greats (Milton, Williams, Wenning, Kalis etc..) while wearing the proper attire was a must during that era.

    Keep It Up QuarterSnacks!!!

  13. I endorse camo pants (though I always preferred the regular army green ones ala Mike Vallely, but “proper attire”? GTFO with that; no uniforms plzkthx.

  14. …however, I don’t give a fuck. As long as my balls and thighs are not in a tight squeeze, I’ll rock any pr. of pants to skate in.

  15. Nothin but love 4 the whole era… Skating back then was dope, the whole feel of skateboarding back then was underground and dope – just like hip Hop – and as times have changed, and hip hop has become more commercialised, fashion has changed… People shouldnt hate on skating fashions. Everyone looked odd about 10 years ago, and in 10 years time, well all look odd 2 the next generation. Camo pants were sick! Kalis and Stevie Williams made em look cool so being young and impressionable, we all rocked em. Still miss those days, but also still bust out the camo in the summer :) Keep it real, keep it movin but dont 4get where it all came from!!

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