From Palace to Balenciaga; why skate culture and the fashion industry make a dynamic team.

By Lizzy Zarrello.

Streetwear and skateboarding have been synonymous for decades, from brands like Vans to DC to Stussy. Supreme, which began as a small NYC skate shop, became a force in the fashion industry due to its iconic logo and collaborations with renowned artists and fashion houses like Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton.

These collaborations galvanized houses like Hermes, Gucci, and Dior to release branded skateboard decks and hire athletes like Dylan Rieder and Evan Mock to model for them in ad campaigns and fashion shows. 

After witnessing the impact skate culture had on the fashion industry, skater brands realized the market they had in high fashion. Palace, a skate shop in London established in 2009, has grown into a designer brand with four high-end stores worldwide and has collaborated with Adidas, Reebok, Ralph Lauren, and Moschino. 

The “Dimestore Crew” began in the early 2000s as a group of young guys in Montreal who made skating films. They then printed 100 T-shirts for their friends, a small drop that gradually evolved into complete lines, motivating them to start their own brand. Dime has garnered 1.7 million followers on Instagram, and Virgil Abloh–Louis Vuitton’s Creative Director and the founder of Off White–posted a photo repping one of their staple tees. 

Skating has always had a laid-back gritty element that drew in artists and designers. Balenciaga’s FW18 runway show was staged around a concrete mound covered in graffiti that resembles a skatepark. When musician Tyler the Creator made his design debut in 2016, the runway featured a pit in the center complete with skateboard ramps, with the skaters modeling the clothes while doing tricks. The mutually beneficial relationship between skate culture and the fashion industry will likely only continue to grow, especially as skating expands its reach and becomes more inclusive.