#TRENDWATCH2013: The Nineties

90s trendwatch

Really, are the nineties ever not trending? Whether someone is putting VHS effects on footage, technical wizardry that Peter Smolik is never properly credited for, or the legions of YouTube users asserting “this was when skating wuz real” on any pre-2000 part, the decade is never completely irrelevant. In recent times, lesser-known companies from the nineties have been finding their way back in skateboarding, though they remain unrelated to that decade’s proprietors.

EXHIBIT A: As a Connecticut native, Brian Anderson, head of the Skate Mental-affiliated start-up 3D Skateboards, must have been aware of the CT-based 3D Innovations in one way or another. But if you’re familiar with the past two months of Slap gossip, and happened to wake up in Copley Square circa 1994 tomorrow morning, things might be a bit confusing. The differences are obviously there. One has “Skateboards” after its name, the other has “Innovations.” One specializes in hard goods, the other in apparel. One is rumored to have one of skateboarding’s most exciting new rosters, the other is notable in that its video features rare documentation of Mike Graham. Provided the would-be roster is true, and add in the cult following behind Skate Mental’s art direction, 3D Skateboards is destined for a bright future. It’s just not the first time a Connecticut-born mind envisioned skateboarding products in the third dimension. The nineties are inescapable!

EXHIBIT B: Like Exhibit A, given New York’s status as the only place in America that French people aren’t bred to hate, someone involved with France’s Metropolitan Skateboards must have been aware of Metropolitan Wheel Co. If not, the three leading scanners on the skateboard internet made it a point to scan every ad from the Deluxe-distributed, New York-based company’s brief run. Metropolitan Skateboards had been around in some form prior to their 2013 relaunch (they were the company to turn Leo Valls pro before Magenta), but they likely got early word of the decade being especially prominent in this year’s #trendwatch, rightfully assuming it was the right market for a reboot.

This dynamic does bring up several questions though: What is the statute of limitations on the demise of a #nineties company being re-envisioned as a #2010s company? Will lesser known companies from the 2000s rise again in different incarnations throughout the 2020s? Is some guy in London working on a Capital relaunch? Is Ricky thinking about parlaying Traffic into Illuminati Skateboards 2.0?

the low end skate graphic

BONUS: Hey, “real hip-hop heads” / people whose heads would explode if they heard the Migos mixtape — if the nineties are so great, why do we collectively utilize the same five rap-inspired logo flips for skate graphics? The case for selective nostalgia becomes compelling when two unrelated companies on opposite sides of the globe use the same album cover from the #nineties as inspiration for the same season’s line of products. Where are the Boot Camp Click homages? How come no one in D.I.T.C. ever had their album cover turned into a skate graphic? Why is skateboarding ignoring the Fu-Shnickens? Are the nineties really inescapable if we only remember four rap albums from then?

#TRENDWATCH2013: Spring Trend Report, Chic skater turbans, Televisions

#TRENDWATCH2012: Final fall / winter report, $1,000 griptape, Is this 2013’s biggest t-shirt? (it’s not), Summer report, Smith kickflip outs, headphones & noseslide shove-its


  1. i’m as big a wu-tang fan as anyone i can think of, but i agree that there were a lot of other great 90s groups out there besides them and tribe. boot camp clik, to me, were probably the best 90s rap supergroup besides the clan. enta the stage in particular is a classic, pretty flawless. you could say the widespread use of camo is an homage to boot camp clik, who were particularly fond of it, although it probably has more to do with kalis and dudes like that. nas and wu and those dudes also wore camo time to time too, so i suppose it’s just a general 90s thing.

    also, boot camp clik are one of the 90s east coast groups with someone that is still really relevant today – sean price still kills it, harder than he did in the 90s

  2. it seems like the same thing applies when it comes to punk band appropriations. there have been so many black flag, bad brains, ramones, and minor threat rip-offs but there were so many other great bands…


  4. Go watch videos like Trilogy and Black Cat. Shorty’s Fulfill the Dream and other influential videos like it. The 90’s was a time of invention and creativity. Right now we are in a stale period where people are trying to bite off of other shit and make it new again, but soon people will start clowning on this and make parodies, etc. Some ideas stick around long enough to become a joke of their former selves…that’s when real creativity kicks in and propels a new generation of change and innovation. Don’t fret, just give it a few years.

  5. @Alex some company’s already redone that brushed-cotton, two-tone Mad Circle hooded pullover jacket this year… saw it in some mall outside DC.

  6. lol @ the migos reference

    i picture a sean price fan listening to “versace” being like the president of iran’s face if he saw two dudes have sex with each other

  7. Nice Post! I won’t complain about any new rap for at least 2 months. Just gotta throw us old heads a bone every once in a while. No homo.

  8. I’m pretty sure that everybody who fetishizes the 90s weren’t actually there to experience them. I started skating in ’97. I was in grade 6 and I had no idea what the fuck was going on until like ’99 when photo came out…

    Any ways, what I’m getting at is that in 5-10 years, I’m sure kids that started skating around the end of the 00’s will start to romanticize the era we knew the best.

  9. @TheRuggedPicturePoser – i think there’s a lot of really good new rap right now – bronson, danny brown, joey badass, etc. i think all of the rappers that are in that scene right now are good, current, and also could potentially appeal to older heads. Sean P approves

    also, in the discussion of older rappers that are still relevant – raekwon is doing a good job staying current and mixing with younger rappers while also not sucking (cough cough jay-z)

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