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The Evolution of Skateboarding in Pop Culture: The Influence of Skate Fashion

Skateboarding has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the 90s that the sport truly exploded into pop culture. With the rise of streetwear and skate fashion, skateboarding became more than just a hobby for outcasts – it became a lifestyle. From Vans to Thrasher, skate fashion has infiltrated the mainstream and influenced fashion in profound ways. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of skateboarding in pop culture and the impact it’s had on fashion.

The Early Days

Skateboarding first emerged in the late 1940s when surfers in California wanted to invent a way to ride waves on land. By the 60s, skateboarding had gained traction and became a popular pastime. However, it wasn’t until the 70s that skateboarding really took off. The Zephyr skateboard team, known as the Z-Boys, were a group of teenage skaters who were pioneers of modern skateboarding. They invented new tricks and styles that revolutionized the sport and culture.

Skate fashion in the 70s was all about comfort and practicality. Skaters would wear Vans sneakers, shorts, and t-shirts. The look was casual and laid back, fitting with the laid-back vibe of the sport. Skateboarding was still seen as an underground activity, and skaters were often looked down upon by mainstream society.

The 80s: The Rise of Streetwear

The 80s saw the rise of streetwear, which was heavily influenced by skateboarding and hip-hop culture. Brands like Stüssy and Supreme emerged, and skateboarding began to impact fashion in a big way. Thrasher Magazine was also founded in the early 80s, which further elevated skateboarding in pop culture.

Skate fashion in the 80s was characterized by baggy pants, graphic tees, and sneakers. The style was rebellious and counter-cultural, and it reflected the anti-establishment attitude of the sport. Despite this, skateboarding was still seen as an underground activity and was not yet accepted by mainstream culture.

The 90s: Skateboarding Goes Mainstream

The 90s saw skateboarding become more mainstream than ever before. Films like Kids and TV shows like Jackass brought skateboarding to a wider audience, and the X Games brought the sport to a global stage. Skating became less about just doing tricks and more about fashion and expression.

Skate fashion in the 90s was all about grunge and punk rock. Flannel shirts, baggy pants, and beanies were popular among skaters and non-skaters alike. Vans sneakers became a staple of skate fashion, and brands like Element and DC Shoes emerged as major players in the industry. Skateboarding still had a rebellious attitude, but it was beginning to be seen as cooler and more mainstream.

Today: Skateboarding and High Fashion Collide

Skateboarding has come a long way since its early days. It’s now a multi-billion dollar industry and has inspired some of the biggest names in fashion. High-end designers like Chanel and Louis Vuitton have incorporated skateboarding into their collections, and celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Bieber have been spotted wearing skater-inspired outfits.

Skate fashion today is all about high-low mixing – pairing casual skatewear with high-end designer pieces. Vans sneakers and Thrasher t-shirts are still staples of the skater look, but they’re often worn with designer jeans or a luxury bag. The result is a fashion-forward, carefree look that’s influenced by skate culture.


Skateboarding has had a significant impact on pop culture and fashion. What was once an underground activity for outcasts has now become a mainstream phenomenon that influences high-end design. Skate fashion has evolved over the years, but it still maintains its rebellious and casual attitude. As skateboarding continues to grow in popularity, we can only expect it to further infiltrate the fashion industry and inspire new trends.

So, if you’re looking to jump on the skate fashion trend, grab a pair of Vans and a Thrasher t-shirt and start shredding.