Product Focus is a new series starting up here on the Attitude Inc. blog running every other day, with a focus on a different product each day. Today, we have the item thats always been a skating staple but has absolutely skyrocketed in popularity of late – the Thrasher T-shirt.
Thrasher started off as a simple skate magazine back in 1981, producing monthly editions to keep skaters updated about video releases, new pros and such. T-shirts was of course going to be a good way of making some more money, so while it wasn’t Thrashers priority, it made sense for them to begin to produce them. Costs were low for production, particularly when quality doesn’t have to be out of this world (a skater isn’t going to want to pay a premium for a high quality t-shirt that’ll get destroyed when skating). So, they began to produce them. A lot of them.
By the 1990’s, Thrasher tees were ubiquitous in the US skate scene. Frequently gracing the cover of the namesake magazine (naturally), the tees had the perfect recipe for success – a proper skate graphic, because lets be honest that Thrasher Skate Mag logo is skateboarding in a logo, and a wide and varied colour palette. The beauty of the the t-shirt, is that there are very, very few colours that don’t work on it. Look at the Summer collection pictured above, for example. They are all retro styles pulled out of the archives from the 1990’s, combinations that should never work like red, blue, white and grey on the Patriot Flame t-shirt, look outstanding. The red text on the beige tee above, again, shouldn’t really work, but the logo MAKES it work. The two things, a variety of colours and the nature of the logo, benefit each other, and the results have been simple – countless outstanding-looking t-shirts over the years.
The T-shirt, despite featuring a very skate-oriented graphic, still has an element of accessibility to it. It’s been adopted by numerous celebrities, including Rihanna and Ryan Gosling both pictured above, which has brought it very much into the public’s fashion consciousness thanks to the fact that photos of these celebrities are plastered across social network sites 24/7. Naturally, this has diluted the product and made it common for other people who also exist outside of the skateboarding bubble to wear it. It seems like every second person has a Thrasher t-shirt nowadays. Celebrities wearing Thrasher has coincided with a time period in which streetwear, and skate clothing in particular, has caught the interests of the high fashion world. Street-style editorials on websites like Highsnobiety and Hypebeast demonstrate this clearly, Thrasher t-shirts, along with many Supreme items in particular, are the trend of the moment amongst fashion’s elite. Like everything, fashion’s current infatuation with skate-wear will die out eventually as another trend will be discovered, but for the moment, it is having the effect of making the Thrasher t-shirt a common sight across the world, without it being limited to just skaters. Thrasher is arguably, one of the most fashionable brands in the world as we speak.
I think it’s safe to say that Thrasher never envisaged its t-shirts becoming the must-have item for just about everyone in the world, be they skaters, those interested in fashion, or even the average consumer. Many skaters, and even non-skaters, bemoan the trend for re-appropriating skate culture which for so long has been an underground activity, almost taboo-like to the rest of the world. It could be argued that the fashion world coming in on a whim and invading the tight-knit skateboarding world, taking its clothing and using it for its own benefit is a bad thing, particularly for skaters who were, for such a long time, ignored. However, the positives have to be taken from this. With skate clothing and skating going so hand-in-hand, the attention surrounding the clothing is making skating much less of a misunderstood activity. More and more people now understand the subcultural, tribal nature of skateboarding, and are embracing it as a good past-time and recreational activity. This may only be people that are in the fashion community and interested in the clothing, but if skating has become acceptable in the fashion world, one that for so long has been quite pretentious and snobbish towards anything it deems remotely below its level, whats to say the rest of society can’t come to warm to it as well?
So, what I’m really trying to say, is that the Thrasher T-Shirt has been instrumental in breaking down barriers that previously blocked skating off from the rest of the world, and that is exactly why you should own one. We have to try and capitalise on this current fascination with skating, in order to reduce the stigma surrounding it in the long term, and maybe then, the rest of society will truly come to accept it for the great activity it is.
Side note – skateboarding has also just been made an Olympic sport. The smell of sweet, sweet funding for skating is firmly in the air.