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The Mallstreaming of Skateboard Fashion
by Neil Brown

Skateboarding fashion has always been adopted by the mainstream. Sometimes it takes years sometimes it takes days, but over and over again skateboarders have seen their wears pop up in malls. Over the past few years it has become more apparent that the "cool" hunters at large corporations have had their sights set on skateboarders for what is next. Two of today's most popular trends in alternative culture are the chain wallet and cargo pants. It just so happens that these two fashions can be linked to two pro skateboarders, Matt Hensley and Mike Vallely.

Vallely Interview:

1. It seems that every other old picture has you wearing cargos, I think Public Domain was the peek, What year was that?


2. Why did you always wear cargos?

I've always been attracted to the military look: short hair cut, fatigues. It's a serious look and I'm a serious guy. In school all the pretty boy jocks wore jeans or parachute pants and my friends and I were desperate for our own identity and chose to dress in clothing we bought at an army surplus store. I've been wearing "cargo" pants since 1984.

3. Now you can find cargos everywhere, did you have to go to Army Surplus stores just to find a pair?

Yes, that was the only place you could buy those type of pants for many years.

4. Did you have a hand in World putting out the Ghetto Wear cargos?

It was my idea entirely. Ghetto Wear was originally created to emulate my clothing style.

5. Did it ever cross your mind that you single handedly created a national fashion?

Not really. I don't know that that is an entirely true statement but I do feel weird walking around the mall and seeing everyone selling and wearing cargo pants. It's a turn off. That's why over the last 5 or 6 years I've switched to wearing work pants instead. They're trendy as hell too but not to the extent of cargos

Hensley questions:

1. When did you start wearing a chain wallet?

When I was thirteen or fourteen, 1983 or 1984.

2. Did you wear it at military school?

Hell No! I had to wear a military uniform everyday and the school excepted nothing outside those strict boundaries.

3. Didn't you have a graphic showing your chain wallet, kind of like a trademark?

Yes, It was my first graphic when I turned pro. The graphic was a portrait of me swinging on a street sign, "Vista". The graphic made sense to me because that's what I wore. I never thought that anybody would give it second thought.

4. Do you still wear it today?

Yes I still wear the same wallet. I stopped wearing one for about four years for the simple reason, that every soul had one. So I stopped. Fact of the matter is that everytime I went skating the damn thing was getting lost without the chain, so I reinstated.

5. I had to go to a Harley Shop just to find a chain wallet six years ago, now you can get them at K mart. Do you realize that you are one of the reasons for that?

There were other skaters that wore chain wallets much before me. It wasn't until three years after my first board that a few people told me that they got a chain wallet because of mine. I never felt that I started that trend in skateboarding, but I think I helped it catch on.

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