Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Interesting article on the commercialization of skateboarding. This concept is old news but the article has a few interesting points about what corporations own who and what contests are run by who and what their net worths are. It talks about the shifting ideologies of a subculture that is slowly being warped by the sound of money falling from the sky. It also specifically points out that due to the onslaught of such a strong corporate presence within skateboarding, how skater run companies especially shoe companies have dropped like flies because of footwear heavy weights like Adidas and Nike. 

I will be the first one to support things that are skater owned, but I'm also the first one to stick to Nike Blazers if my flatground seems to work out better when I'm wearing them.  Even if you could choose to buy a "skater owned" footwear brand, it would really be hard to remember any in 2012. Lakai? Fallen maybe? I can't think of any other brands that isn't somehow now owned by Nike. Emerica is a part of Sole Tech which I think may or may not be a part of Nike somehow. Maybe not. And Gravis? Spawned from Burton snowboards. And even in the last decade when there were "skater owned" brands that functioned under a bigger umbrella like Sole Tech, years later it would be hard to weather the economy without being bought out by some faceless trading company. And even if you've managed to survive, most likely you've been relatively obscured by Nike and Vans. But the devil is in the details. And those details aren't always so clear. 

"In late June 2005, Nike received criticism from Ian MacKaye, owner of Dischord Records, guitarist/vocalist for Fugazi and The Evens, and front man of the defunct punk band Minor Threat, for appropriating imagery and text from Minor Threat's 1981 self-titled album's cover art in a flyer promoting Nike Skateboarding's 2005 East Coast demo tour.

On June 27, Nike Skateboarding's website issued an apology to Dischord, Minor Threat, and fans of both and announced that they have tried to remove and dispose of all flyers. They stated that the people who designed it were skateboarders and Minor Threat fans themselves who created the advertisement out of respect and appreciation for the band.[45] The dispute was eventually settled out of court between Nike and Minor Threat."

I think Minor Threat suing Nike is awesome. Whether the skateboarders that designed the flyer were fans or not, it's still Nike. That one infinitely significant detail is what makes all the difference. And no shit, that's Ian MacKaye suing you. 

While manufacturing hard goods and clothing can still be feasibly done domestically.. at least meaning in the Western hemisphere , something as tool and labor demanding as shoemaking has become the bystander market that becomes invariably cornered and controlled by footwear giants. Combine that with extraterrestrial salaries for pros on said companies, is it any wonder why Es and every other iconic skateboard footwear company is on hiatus or overlooked? 

The corporation will always be the bane of anything pure and original. Out of all people, skateboarders who have ever laid eyes on 70% of skateboard ads or feet on a plank of wood should be conditioned to this reality. At the end of the day, who doesn't want to get paid to do what they love? And if you can get paid to do what you love I can't hate on that. Maybe the truth is, skateboarding od'ing on itself in 2012 is exactly what it looks like. Corporations are just giving skateboarding the money to give itself more drugs, of itself. And because of that- yes a lot of skateboarders are turned off by the industry. But, one day somebody is going to pull the plug on it's half a million dollar contest purses and lifestyle price tags. So even though the Battle of Maloof might have been lost, there is still a longer war to be fought. And you can help buy bullets and aid by supporting independent, skateboarder run brands when you can. Because as dominant as corporations are in the retail landscape, there will always be smaller companies with fresh ideas and if you're lucky, quality products to provide that much needed alternative to a growingly homogenized industry. 

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