It’s crazy to see that John Cardiel is still able to skate after breaking his back and being told he might never be able to walk again. A good time to re-watch his Epicly Later’d. Other than that we love to get some very rare Julian Stranger footage and what can we say about BA, Kader, and Tyshawn? Always a treat.
Kader Sylla’s new video for adidas doesn’t really have a special name, not a lot of b-roll and is straight to the point. Very simple and beautifull edit by Tristan Warren. Jenkem Magazine has an Interview up with KADER that is worth a read.
We are not going to lie. Standing in line at the yesterday’s opening event for the new Berlin Supreme store was an absolute nightmare and it felt uncomfortable, but we don’t want to complain all too much. The good thing about it was that we have watched William Strobeck’s “MIND GOBLIN” video 11 and 1/2 times before we could enter the location, just to get sent out again by security 15 minutes later.
All jokes aside, the team went in and it is always good to see new people skating the more known spots in Berlin. Also we would like to say that we are proud of our good friends Augustin Giovannoni & Steffen Grap who showed them around town and made them look extra good. Tyshawn Jones tricks up the stairs at Frankfurter Tor are not human.
Much success to the Berlin staff member Johannes Schirrmeister, Jun Kummer, Yannick Zhou and Anton Jäger, who will be taking care of you in the store on Torstraße 74.
Since it is pretty quite at the moment with new releases we again stumbled upon Rowan’s “Baker 4” part, watched it twice and decided it is time for you to re-watch this instant classic. It is not the original upload but you can give the whole video a watch in better quality and an official upload agreement HERE.
A bit of The Gonz mixed with Nick Trapasso & Ellington is what comes to our mind while watching Rowan skate. The perfect song, a good trick selection and a few surprises here and there and you have Rowan’s part in Baker 4. The perfect part to go out skating right after.
Kader has been putting out a lot of footage lately and that is a good thing for sure. But at the same time, the titles to these clips make you wonder if he feels like he is getting what he wants from the game?
By now you will remember Lea Isabell as the host of our wonderful PLACE TELEVISION series. This time she is not in front of the camera but on the phone with a wonderful skater. In a sense, though nothing has changed she is still the one asking all the questions. Rowan seemed happy to oblige and answer all that she wanted to know.
Hey Rowan, how are you?
Hey Lea, I am pretty fine. I just made some coffee between the last interview and this one. And you?
All good, I also have my coffee next to me. But let us not talk about our coffee-drinking behavior. We should start with some new stuff, like your shoe?
Yeah for sure, why not!
Okay nice, so maybe you can tell us: What was the inspiration for the design of your shoe?
When they first told me that I was going to get a shoe I just wanted to make sure that we offer something that is skateable but also something that looks kind of like a classy shoe. I wanted it the same way as the other shoes which came out at any time in the past of Vans, like the originals, so they shouldn’t look too crazy or look like something I wouldn’t skate if they were not mine. I kind of took inspiration from all the shoes I liked in the past. For example the half cab, the Tnt-5 and probably also an old one, which they resell in department stores only, the Bearcat. It was only 30 $ instead of the normal price of a Skateshoe.
What was the process from the first sample and your first idea to the final product?
R: Well, we made a lot of different sketches, I also tried a few by myself but it’s hard to draw a shoe that doesn’t exist, especially when you don’t have any experience in that field. But yeah, we sketched like three different options and then we made sample shoes out of them. The one that came out the best was actually not my first pick but when it actually went from a sketch to the form of a shoe I liked that one the best and then we just moved on from there.
I don’t think anything really changed except for like heights of certain kinds of parts or like different stitching ends, but from the first samples, we didn’t change that much.
Were you also hands-on in deciding what kind of colorways will be put out there?
Yeah, We’ve done 12 colorways for 2020 and then I’ve done a few for 2021 already.
And which one is your favorite one so far?
My favorite one that is out right now is a skate shop exclusive one. It’s dark blue/ navy all the way to the floor, The sole is also navy. But there are a lot of other good ones that haven’t come out yet.
Wow, that’s really nice. I am looking forward to seeing your designs. Let me ask you some tech questions. What do you think about the new Pop-Crush-Insole?
Yeah, I mean I like it a lot. It’s really similar to the last one but it might last a little longer. With every shoe, they want to push some sort of technology or some advancement and since I wanted my shoe to look more old school, more classy, they made the advancement through stuff you can’t see. Like a new insole, something you obviously can’t see because it’s the inside of the shoe or something like the new Rubber Sole, which looks the same as the old one but is a little bit more grippy. Those advancements are there, but they do not always have to be that visible.
But we could definitely guess those advancements when we look at the commercial! How long did you film for that mini part?
Actually it was really cool because Vans let me put all my energy and time towards the Baker video, which was cool because I was wearing samples of the shoes the whole time, anyway. So, when Baker 4 came out everyone was wondering what shoe I was wearing and then two months later the shoe dropped. So, they kind of used all the extras and some stuff they didn’t use for the Baker video. So it was more leftover footage (laughs).
I didn’t expect that. Did you decide that Matt Sweeney would be the one producing the music for the commercial of your shoe?
R: Well the original plan for me was to pick a few bands that I like and then to see if they could get any of them to do the same thing he did, but maybe the bands that we picked were either busy at the time or too expensive for this type of project. so, I told them about my friend Matt. And a few people at Vans are also friends with him so it kind of worked out perfectly. And Matt then picked John Theodore to work with him.
So you are friends with Matt?
Yes, I’ve probably known him for five years.
So is there the connection to your Part in the Supreme Video with the Song, “Neighborhood Threat” by Iggy Pop? Because what people might not know is that Matt Sweeney was on Tour with Iggy Pop in 2016!
Actually Matt helped us to get the rights for the song. I don’t know if it would have worked out otherwise. He was the connection that made it possible. I mean obviously Supreme also paid for the song (laughs).
That is so cool, you seem surrounded by Rockstars. But In general, to me, it seems that you’re really interested in music. Is that why you wanted something special for your very own shoe commercial?
When they told me that I will get a pro shoe, I knew, it needed to be this type of music for the commercial. So I was for one-thousand percent behind it, I thought the idea fit perfectly for the commercial.
What other kinds of music influence you?
I have to say I am always bad at on-the-spot type of stuff. It’s hard to pin-point. I mean I can try but it changes day-to-day. First Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, Wutang, right know I like Pop Caan and one more, (laughs)… I don’t know. WITCH, it’s a Zambian psychedelic-rock band, the letters stand for: ,,We Intend To Cause Havoc”, which is pretty sick and they are from the 70s. They also played at my shoe party, so I am now going through loving them all over since I am a little kid.
I will definitely listen to them straight after this interview, thanks for sharing Rowan (laughs)! You already told us that you combined filming for the Baker Video and the commercial. But can you find any differences between working on a part and working on a commercial?
Well, I mean for the commercial we filmed 16 mm, which is obviously different to go out with that stuff. But I don’t know if I go out and I am trying to get some new footage It is sort of always the same. I am just trying to get something that I am proud of for other people to see, I guess.
And how is it when you are just having a normal session with your friends?
Ahh, when I am with my friends I am just fucking around, maybe trying to learn a new trick, maybe not, I might not even Ollie the whole session (laughs). Just trying to have fun.
And what about the SHEP DAWGS? What can you tell us about them?
They are my group of friends from the beginning. At that time none of us was really sponsored, maybe some got some free stuff, but weren’t on teams. So, we just spend our time together and filming. And everyone is still friends, but most of us have become sponsored skaters and have other trips and responsibilities in skating, so we have less time together to make those videos.
I can totally get this point, would you rather go on a trip with the SHEP DAWGS or with one of your sponsors?
I would love to go on a trip with those boys. I think not long ago they did a trip but I was on a company trip. I was a bit sad but maybe we can do another one soon. It would be great to get to travel with those guys. I mean at the same time I like that I get to go on trips with Vans and stuff, it’s great.
And what was your favorite Skatetrip so far?
Man… it’s been so many. I think we went on a, what was called,, SkateRock”, where a few bands came with a ton of skaters, but we also did one a few years ago throughout Mexico, and that was the last trip where Jake Phelps, Mark Hubbard, and P-Stone went on and since they passed away that was the last one that all of them were on. I think that was one of my favorite tours I’ve been on. But also one of my favorite Vans trips I’ve been on was my very first one on a double-decker bus throughout Europe. That was one of my first trips, yeah.
So you were in Europe! Did you also visit Berlin?
Yes, but I was there for only two times, two days each, so I did not really have the time to see what was going on that much. But I’d enjoyed myself for sure.
So maybe you should come back and get to know the city (laughs), it is pretty cool here, I promise!
When you look back to all your trips, do you think a great Skatetrip depends more on the crew or more on the place?
Definitely the people! I mean a place can definitely help but when you’re with the right people you can be at the worst spot in the world and you will still have fun.
I agree with you, I mean, people make places. Can you tell us how you met Andrew Reynolds?
A lot of my older friends were already involved with Baker at this time, like Riley Hawk. At this time I had never met Andrew, but he asked Riley if I wanted to start skating Baker boards. I got free foundation boards at the time and I was like, hell yes! Every kid wants to skate Baker boards. I am not sure how long it took me to meet him but I met him in L.A. and after that, we started skating and hanging around more and more. So we became friends way before I got on the team.
That’s pretty sick. And what is your opinion on the new generation on Baker?
Like myself and everyone my age or younger (laughs)?
Yes (laughs too)!
I love those kids. Tristan and Zach, also Kader. He is going to be one of the best skaters ever! I mean he already is but he is still getting better and better as he grows. I am pretty stoked on Baker right now. I think these kids are the right kids to carry on the traditions that Baker has.
You are also on Supreme. How is that working out with you other sponsors?
So I skate for Vans and Vans apparel, but when supreme told me they wanted me to skate for them I couldn’t really do it because I was under contract with Vans apparel. But when I talked to Vans and they were cool with working something out. The first period Supreme was my shop Sponsor, instead of being my clothing sponsor. But now they worked it out and now it’s both. Supreme accepts that Vans is my primary sponsor and Vans accepts that Supreme is my sponsor as well. It is also like a partnership, cause Vans and Supreme do like a collaboration twice a year so it’s kind of good for them to have someone on both sides.
And are you getting more influenced now in what you want to wear?
I don’t know, but I guess… I mean both companies are producing stuff that I really like. It just gives me more options in what clothing I can wear.
Connecting to your shoe you also had your own Vans clothing collection right?
Well, all the Art on the clothing is done by one of my good friends Mike Gigliotti. He owns and runs the Lotties Skateshop and made all the art, yeah. But there is also one shirt, it’s a blue and white pinstripe shirt, it’s the same shirt I had for years and years actually I still wear it all the time. So it was cool to make that one into a vans shirt. For the pants, I just wanted to make some double knee jeans… I don’t know (laughs). There was not too much inspiration, I just wanted to make some cool shit that I would enjoy wearing.
And at the same time make some nice clothing for the homies!
(laughs) Yeah right!
We already know via Transworld Skateboarding that Ali Boulala is your favorite male Skater. The question I want to ask you is: who is your favorite female skater?
At the moment it’s probably Breana Geering, but obviously also Elissa Steamer and Marisa Dal Santo belong to my favorites. Especially because I am friends with them and now since Elissa is on Baker we’re also going on trips together, she is the best!
Is there any difference for you between going on a skate trip with female or male Skater?
I haven’t really been on many trips with Elissa but I mean she is cooler than most of the dudes, she is so fun to skate with and to be around. I met Marisa when I was 14 she was hanging around the Zero offices which where really close to where I grew up. I saw her skating with my older friends all the time. She has known me since I was so small (laughs).
So you were in contact with female skateboarding while you were growing up.
Is the general view on Female skateboarding changing?
Yeah, I think girls are definitely getting the recognition they deserve now. It’s sick to see way more companies hooking up girls and that they have a Pro Contest for Women at Tampa Pro, that’s really sick!
Yeah I think so too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on that! I think it’s always important to be happy for each other and to see things progressing in the right way.
Now you told me a lot, and I am just wondering, how do you manage all these things? How much does the fact, that skateboarding is not only a hobby for you anymore, affect your perception of skateboarding?
I mean skating has always been fun. For sure things come along with it that can be stressful… But that is also the case with other things I always dreamed of when I was a kid. It’s more a feeling of being overwhelmed in a positive way. It is more like a dream come true, you know. Even though there is stress the actual act of skating is and was always fun and always will remain fun. I do not think any of this other stuff will ever change how I feel about skateboarding.
Oh wow, I think that those words were the right words to end this lovely interview. Thank you so much for answering all of my questions. It was really nice talking with you.
Thank you too, Lea!
Thanks to Vans for the support & Antony Acosta for the photos.
Carolina Argueta’s first interview with a skateboard magazine was on Sunday the 28th of July’18 and it so happened to be the day her son Sean Pablo was having a get together / press day about his now released colorway with Converse. Luckily, they were kind enough to fly us out to the city that never sleeps.
A moment before Carolina and her son arrived in the hotel lobby, she was sitting poolside, taking it easy while having a drink. The rays of joy she was exhuming while she walked into the room are saying a lot about the way she looks at life. A very positive, attractive and proud woman was sitting in front of us and we immediately forgot that we were in a press meeting about Sean’s new colorway of the CTAS.
A few moments later, after we were done talking, we visited a Tiki-themed bar called “Otto’s Shrunken Head” on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was there that Carolina told all her friends that she was super nervous during our interview. Well, that was definitely not the case. I guess professionalism and being humble is in Sean’s family’s DNA.
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld / Interview by Daniel Pannemann
Why did you decide to move to NYC?
When I came to NYC for the very first time I didn’t have a place to stay. I was just in Paris and on my way back to the States, where I decided to give Dylan Rieder a call. I knew he had a room and he was traveling so much at the time, so I called and he was immediately cool with it. He even asked if I didn’t wanna stay there for a longer time, so he just sublet the entire apartment to me and that’s how I got here.
Carolina, how did you feel about that? Him leaving the nest and moving to the other side of the continent, seemingly all of a sudden at this young age?
C: It was hard because I feel like Sean is living the life of a 25-year-old for the last five years, or so. He was so young when he left. And now he already has this other apartment living on his own, but he’s not even 21. It’s hard for me because I feel like he left so quickly. I had no chance to even get used to it – he just left.
Do you get to visit him a lot out here?
C: Well, he’s coming to visit me a lot
S: I’m sort of living bi-coastal. I’m always in L.A. but I really like to spend the summer in New York. It’s just so much fun here, I don’t wanna leave.
C: I was in L.A. for Thanksgiving. We stayed all at his house and made a Thanksgiving dinner all together and that was really lovely.
S: Mum, you should see the apartment now.
C: I heard you have new patio furniture? He has a very nice apartment for NYC Standards.
S: It is pretty big, yeah. It’s bigger than the balcony we are sitting on right now. Probably twice the size.
C: When I was there, we decorated the kitchen. I give him some cooking tools and a few things he really needed to have.
(Sean found a sticker saying “congrats” and he put it on my phone. Sean: It’s a gift from me, I just found it.)
Speaking of gifts, Sean. We just bought something for you guys to doodle on and I’m sure that at least Sean is very familiar with this. Also, It would be nice if you (Carolina) could doodle on it too.
S: I wish dad was here now, he could help us out. He’s the creative guy in the family.
C: Yeah Brendan is a true artist. He’s a painter.
S: Yeah my dad is helping me a lot with my brand “Paradise”. I’m doing most of the drawings’ tho, But he’s taking care of a lot of things actually. It’s pretty much just me and my dad running the whole thing. He is doing the website and stuff. It’s a family-owned business.
C: Sean? What is this thing? Is that from skating?
S: Yeah I don’t know, I just have a lot of wounds. Don’t even worry about it.
Have you seen all of Sean’s tattoos?
S: No, she hasn’t.
C: Well, I think at least all of the ones visible. He has all these little things and I keep telling him to stop.
Jerome Campbell, Converse TM, interjects.
JC: Well that doesn’t really help. That way he probably just wants more.
S: I’m Sorry.
JC: Maybe you should tell him to do more?
C: I tell him to stop because right now he’s very young but once he gets older he might not want them anymore. By then he will have a different view on things. In ten years, all of his tattoos might be irrelevant. Because, right now, his brain is not fully evolved yet.
S: Maybe that’s the point.
JC: Just imagine how they are all going to look ten years from now.
S: I think they gonna look just great.
JC: What about 40 years?
S: I don’t really have any big ones, tho’.
How was it seeing Sean growing up, starting to skate and doing his own thing at a very young age?
C: I was really worried because he was just ten or eleven and I’m a teacher, so that was really worrisome and his dad was just like “Let him do it, it’s ok”.
Did you teach Sean from home?
C: Well, his dad did that, because I had to work every day, so Brandon was home-schooling him for a few years during High-school. They were watching Charles Bukowksi movies together and all kinds of documentaries. It wasn’t very traditional, to say the least.
S: It felt more like a friendship yeah. But he is my dad, tho’. It was still scary when he got mad at me and stuff.
That’s not particularly a bad thing, I guess. How many times does Sean call you when he’s gone?
C: We are texting a lot because kids are all about texting these days. We talk every now and then but it’s actually hard to get him on the phone. He’s always saying that he is going to call me back later and then two days will go by and then I won’t hear from him. Mostly I’m worried about if he’s healthy and eating right.
Is he living a healthy lifestyle?
JC: I did buy him a juice today.
S: Yeah, Jerome bought me a smoothie this morning.
C: That’s good, thank you. But yeah, he’s a good boy. A very good kid.
What’s your first memory of Sean skating?
C: He was gonna get one of those scooter kids toys, the ones with the handlebars on it. He was about to get into that and Brendan was like “No, man. You can’t do that – you have to get a skateboard, Sean!” And so he did. Sometimes after skating he came home super happy and was like “Mum, I learned how to Ollie.” And all the other trick names and that was really cute. Then at other times, he would be gone with his friends for the whole weekend although he had to finish a school project.
S: I was getting good grades until I started skating.
But, did you finish school in the end?
S: To some degree, I did, yeah. But it’s a grey area. No official diploma, or anything. But I have passed the practical test. Now it’s just a matter of me going in and taking the test. One day I will.
C: Yeah. I made that appointment quite a few times but he didn’t go because he was traveling and working on his career, which turned out well you know. But I still hope that at one point he’s going back to school to finish it all and will start something specific to his interest like for example design or art. I want him to become an educated person.
S: How was the first time you met Sage (Elsesser) How old were we?
C: Uhm, I don’t really know!? Eleven, twelve? But he was really innocent and sweet and I have met his mum quite a few times as well, she is really cool. And now he is this really amazing skater. He is so though. He reminds me of Jim Kelley – A karate guy from back in the days.
C: But I think I just messed up the whole shoe. I was gonna make an “S” but it turned out to become an “E” instead – now it is saying “Eastside”. But, talking about Sean in school, he still has all of his middle school and high school friends from back in the days in Los Angeles and I’m friends with their mums.
So every now and then you will meet all together? A real “skate-mum” get together?
C: Haha. Well, we did. We had a few meetings.
S: This one time we all got arrested for hopping this fence at a school.
C: No, it wasn’t a school. It was the LAPD station near our house in Los Angeles. It got renovated and they jumped the fence of the police station because they had all this wood laying around and little ramps and stuff… Obviously, they got in trouble with the cops. The police came right away all the kids ended up having to sit in the cop car, and that weekend Aidan’s (Mackey) mum organized a meeting with all of us. We all wanted to make sure that we always know where our kids are. It was like a two-hour meeting, but soon after that, we gave that up. We knew we couldn’t keep them from hopping fences anyways. We were just all worried about them because they didn’t care about anything other than skating at this point.
S: This is a true story. But where did you learn how to draw like that?
C: I grew up in Echo Park, Sean.
You said Sage is a tough guy. How would you describe Sean’s style on a skateboard?
C: I don’t really know any trick names and all that. But I know that he just has a great style. The way his body moves and the arms, I really like that. Plus he is so gorgeous, look at him!
( All laughing.)
And what is your favorite clip of him skating?
S: You like “Cherry”, right?
C: I like “Cherry” a lot. It’s amazing. That was a proud mum moment. Getting invited to the premiere in Hollywood. It was at the “Egyptian Theather”. I invited a few of my friends to go along and we were really proud of Sean. When I’m in school and we have some free time with my class I sometimes ask “Guys, you wanna see my son?” And I just show them a little something. They always seem to be very impressed with that. They are all like – “Oh my god, this is your son? Hook us up!” or “Get your son to come and talk to us” And that one time he actually came into a class and he helped me teach.
S: Did I really? Was I just pointing at stuff?
That is probably a pretty smart way for you to gain respect among the kids in class?
C: Yeah, I’m just a regular teacher with a very cool son. Especially boys know him, of course. Especially the last couple of years. Sometimes Sean gives me a few stickers I can take with me to give out after a lesson if they did well. Supreme stickers, they are really happy about that (laughs).
Did you know about his colorway on Converse CONS?
C: I didn’t really. But I knew that he was facing a deadline and they kept asking for images. He buckled down and just did it. It’s been a year or so. He had to send all these pictures and ideas.
How long have you been working on the design?
S: I always had this idea to do it. But, it took a while to actually make it work. I always kind of drew on my chucks and all of a sudden they were hitting me up about doing something. The one I’m wearing is the limited version. That one you can only get at Supreme in NYC and L.A. There is also a red and a white one but the pink one is the limited one. They have been sending me all these different colors of the shoe and I would love to make more of these. There are so many more color options!
Are you going to get a pair as well, Carolina?
C: Yeah I will get a pair. And all my friends want a pair as well and all the kids in the class, of course. We get a lot of boxes of shoes to the house but they are all his size so I’m always asking like “Sean, can you get me some shoes?” And he did order me some but they messed up the order, unfortunately. They didn’t send the right thing, haha.
S: We have to do something about this, Jerome!
If you would have to interview your son and you could ask him anything, what would it be?
C: I would say.. hmm. How do you make sure that you don’t let all this go to your head? Because I don’t want him to become arrogant or stuck up. I just want him always be in control about everything. Be aware of his surrounding.
JC: That’s not a question.
C: How do you stay so cute and humble?
S: I don’t know!? I guess you guys did a good job.
C: Oh, and by the way, did you tell them about you getting a new job now? Tell them!
S: Yeah, well. I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about this. I will start to work at Supreme. I will get a desk in the design department. I’m going to sit there now once a week.
C: Will you wear a suit to work and everything?
JC: If Sean will wear a suit, other people will start to wear suits.
S: Wearing suits while skating? Did this ever happen before? Heath did it right? In “The End”!?
Ok, let’s put this the other way around. What would you ask your mum if you had to interview her?
S: How was it raising me as a child? Was I good?
C: He had a charm in his pocket all his life. I don’t know if you guys know about this but he had a real band back in the days and he was the lead singer. It was called “Nerd Army”, he was only seven or eight years old but it lasted until he was fourteen, fifteen!? As soon as he was getting more into skating, he didn’t want to do it any longer. But he wrote at least ten original songs, and they were all very good. He has a good singing voice, that’s for sure.
There should be a comeback at some point, Sean.
S: It’s coming. Don’t worry about it. I’m working on my Solo album right now.
C: My friends were always like “Sean is so cool, he is so talented.” And his teachers were always very impressed with him. It has always been easy for him, kind of. You know what? He actually recorded a song with “Karen O” the lead singer of the “Yeah Yeah Yeah’s” when he was only nine years old. A song that he wrote and she wanted to record. But I don’t know what happened to that recording? I remember she was saying that she was trying to get it on the O.S.T. For “Where the Wild Things Are” but for some reason, Spike Jonze wasn’t having it. Or, I don’t know, something happened. And it kind of fell through.
How did that all happen?
S: My dad’s stepbrothers girlfriend is really good friends with “Karen O”.
C: She is huge. So, the song was called “Why Am I Me” and his voice sounded like Alfalfa from “The Little Rascals” – super cute. I think I still have it on my iPod, if you guys wanna listen to it!?
Maybe you could play it at tonight’s party?
S: I’ll request that song for you. But maybe I’m just going to use it for the Supreme video. For my Part. Haha.
C: It’s a really, really good song!
Thanks a lot guys, we will see you at the party. Make sure to play that song at one point, Carolina!
Remember that song by John Lennon, “Working Class Hero?” It is possible you don’t, after all. I won’t assume that most of you reading this were alive when Lennon was a thing. Have you Googled the song? If so, does the chorus sound familiar? I personally think the overall song is a bit of a downer, but the chorus really hits home. “A working class hero is something to be!” Now let’s talk about who these people might be.
Photos by Danny Sommerfeld.
Text By Roland Hoogwater.
This story started in Barcelona, circa one year ago. Nike invited a group of employee’s from some of Europe’s finest skate shops on a trip. It must have been a surprise to most, not particularly the owners of the shops, but to you and I, that they were invited out to Barcelona. Having worked in a skate shop myself for seven years in the past, I can only imagine what that must have felt like.
“I got an invite to Barcelona and when I arrived I saw a shitload of people from other shops!”
Once everyone arrived, most didn’t know what to expect. I imagine it took some time to process everything. As things progressed, it became clear that they had the opportunity to do something that most employees could only dream of.
Skip this part if you work at a shop because it will sound all too familiar.
Before we get to the Barcelona story, let me explain something about the mechanics of working at a shop. First off, what the customer wants, the customer gets. If a 12-year-old kid wants to skate a canvas boat shoe, they will, in fact, convince their mother to buy them just that. Even if you explain to the parent that they should spend their money on a rubber/suede/leather or that new synthetic stuff that the Nyjah shoe is made of.
You cannot win, but over time a good skate shop can and will educate you. Not only is it the meet-up spot for you and your friends, it is also where you go to compare the graphics of a sheet of Grizzly grip tape to one of Shake Junt grip tape. In some sense, it is a place that helps build our culture.
The more a kid visits a shop, the more he/she will be open to suggestions. They might even ask you about your favorite shoe to skate. When you are honest, they listen to your suggestions, and in a way look up to you for other skate advice.
Being surrounded by skate product all day can drive you mad after a week in the shop. The conversations you have amongst your colleagues might sound something like this:
“I like the graphic, but the shape is a bit too mellow for me.” or “I love the shoe but why didn’t they make it in color X or out of material Y?”
Random skate shop employee.
“It was cool to meet other people, to skate with them, and exchange ideas together. It was very insightful.”
Some may like to nag, but at the same time, these kinds of talks can also spark a fire. You may have a friend who can screen print something, and before you know it, you are putting a painting by Giorgio de Chirico on a board or a t-shirt. Some might even have a lot of success and are now selling to the same retailers that once employed them.
So basically, in Barcelona, it was time to show and prove. Nike created a game and put four people from different skate shops together with a designer. Together they brainstormed for an hour, taking shop talk into the design of an actual shoe. A Nike shoe made for skateboarding to be exact. Just to put it into perspective, imagine if you could take the stitching off the toe of a Janoski shoe. Remove the three stripes of a superstar, or take the rubber toe cap off a Chuck Taylor and replace it with whatever material you like. That is what we are talking about here.
“We wanted a 90’s vibe for our shoe and skateboarding has this classic tie to hip-hop, look at videos like Zoo York’s Mixtape.”
After their 60 minutes were up, all the teams had 5 minutes to present their idea for a shoe. In the end, Charlie O’Donnell from Note in Manchester, Erik Westman from Streetlab in Malmo, Grant Dawson from Supreme in London, and Yann Felixain from Riot, Bordeaux’s were the winners.
That was a year ago now, and this is where we, PLACE, come in. Because before your Nike shoe is ready to roll off the shelves, you need to celebrate by going on a trip together to test it out! And since Malmö, London and Manchester are not places known for having great weather conditions, Bordeaux was by far the best option.
“I love the way they look, both when you look down or see them on someone other peoples feet!
Remember when I said the weather conditions were best in Bordeaux, well the moment we arrived it felt like we had flown into Manchester. Grey, rainy, and cold. Most of us didn’t pack a hoody or a real jacket. It only lasted for about two hours though, but I guess May has its way.
Bordeaux is an excellent place to be. An old town close to the sea with lots and lots to offer young people. Skaters in particular. We have all seen it in videos; marble floors, endless ledges, banks and for some of us concrete surfers, can transfer to real waves roughly an hour away. I feel like we all know the things the region is famous for, so no need to mention the wine or the fact that the town is a UNESCO world heritage site. It all sounds beautiful, but with all that beauty, we still pushed over some pretty rough concrete from time to time.
Once in the city, we had a strong crew with a common goal; to celebrate a moment in time and to test the new Nike shoe on the streets.
And as we all know, a special event can create a good vibe. Conversations flow like wine, and the more time we spent together, the more we became a unit. On top of that, Phil Zwijsen was invited to join us and to be honest, he never stopped talking. From his upcoming debut in Street League to surfing, and Grant Taylor getting on Monster, he truly had all the bases covered.
“To me, this is like a present for my 30th birthday!”
In the end, it was easy to see why the shoe came out the way it did. A couple of guys in love with 90’s culture got together and turned banter into a product that they can be proud of. It is genuinely a great shoe, in a lovely color. Something to remember and instead of saying to the locals “This is a nice shoe.” They can all say, ”This is our shoe, I designed it with my friends!” I imagine some kids won’t believe it until they Google it.
Dave will forever be known as the man who created the Osiris D3 but little did we know that he now owns a pretty extensive and somewhat limited Nike SB collection.
From the “Consolidated Dunk” that spawned the “Don’t Do it Army” to the Maize’s Mayhew seems to have or rather had it all. I guess when you are responsible for one of skateboardings most iconic shoes that it is only logical that you know your way through the sneaker landscape.
Besides that, he is still great to watch on the board and even his former teammate Tyrone “T-Bone” Olson seems to still have it!
Jason Dill is looking fit again and Sean Pablo is having a little break from the toilet he was sitting on. Growing up watching Deca’s “Second To None” video there was always something special about a skating in a warehouse.