A few weeks ago, I reflected on how the fashion industry had taken a shine to skate culture and the recent surge in designer slip-on style trainers, originally made popular by skate/surf/lifestyle brand, Vans and their die-hard fans. From trainers and slogan tees to backpacks and beanies, I was naive to think fashion’s crush on all things skate would stop there.
Cue the latest development to come out of this season’s love of skate culture, as Selfridges opened their doors this week to an 18,500 square foot pop-up indoor skatepark. Sponsored by HTC One, the old Selfridges hotel has been transformed into a replica skatepark complete with rails, banks, half pipes and benches for boarders to indulge in all its contrived glory. It’s a good amount of terrain with clever retail-themed props for skateboarders to grind, ollie and flip to their heart’s content as the skatepark is completely free.
In addition, as part of the six-week long campaign, Board Games (27 March – 19 April) will see Selfridges stock a collection of world exclusive skate decks and skate art by designers which include Peter Pilotto, Stella McCartney, Erdem and Phillip Lim, along with skateboard accessories and Go-Pro cameras. Slam City Skate have also taken up residence and is on hand to get decks set up with trucks and wheels for those who want to take their new designer boards for a roll.
Fashionistas and regular Selfridges customers will most likely see these designer boards as works of collectable art or a pop culture novelty, while skateboarders and skate enthusiasts might see this as a confusing commercial ploy. There’s no doubt that there are some covet-worthy prints on hand, but these decks don’t live up to the likes of tried and tested skateboard brands such as Toy Machine, Girl and Zero. I also personally fail to see the correlation between a brand like Diesel and skateboarding.
While I spend most of my time on a longboard, skateboarding’s answer for when you want to travel distances and simply prefer to cruise, I’m rather on the fence to this big budget attraction. I adore fashion and all its surprises, but not at the expense of losing the essence of what skateboarding is, something that is a lifestyle for many.
Having spoken to a few friends who are longtime skaters, and visiting the skatepark myself, I have to admit it’s a great space designed to support this culture, which I guess isn’t a too bad thing, I’m just going to look the other way on the designer decks…
Images source (Skatepark photography): thedailystreet.co.uk, Instagram Photography: Blogger’s Own