Dear, skating

Earlier this year we took stock of the 'Dear, Skating' brand - a collection of T-Shirts paying tribute to iconic moments from skate videos; well more accurately iconic garments. The fall collection is landing on us shortly so we took time out to speak to founder Chris Lipomi about the new stock, finding inspiration in the past and having as much fun as possible. Flatspot: Which was the first image that inspired you to go into production with Dear? Chris: Even though the first shirt I made was the Israel one from Video Days, the image that got the idea going was one of Neil Blender that I haven't even made yet... I'll probably get to it soon though. Flatspot: Subtlety is quite important right? I am guessing you want people to get the reference, but not necessary so obvious to a wider culture? Chris: Absolutely... This is just for us... Flatspot: Moreover, culturally, Skating feels like it has moved into the mainstream and public conscience. Is this a good thing? Does this leave space for being outsiders? Does this make looking backwards more pertinent? Chris: Culturally its watered everything down... and in a flood, its hard to find the bottom. That being said, I feel as though this shift has both good and bad aspects... The mainstream move has spawned a whole renaissance of underground-ish activity... wether it's born of rebellious motivation, or simply greater access to technology and information, there have been quite a few people taking matters (Skateboarding), into their own hands... Board brands of course, but also Media, small clothing projects like my own, Our Life, The Back Forty etc... not to mention the huge spike in the DIY park / spot building movement... Its totally possible to be a skater now and not subscribe to any of the established skate industry institutions... Ride a Polar board, read QuarterSnacks, and skate Channel St... haha.. I find looking back to be much more inspiring than looking at Street League, that's for sure.. Going backwards in order to move forward has always been a crucial aspect of skateboarding... We call it 'Switch'. Flatspot: The T-Shirts are new, but pre-aged. Is this purely aesthetics or does this provide a sense of borrowed legitimacy? or is that a way too heavy question? ha ha Chris: It's Medium Heavy... haha. - Printing, printmaking and other forms of mechanical reproduction by their very nature have a sort of borrowed legitimacy... just the idea that someone, somewhere took the time to organize and orchestrate a run of identical objects already goes a long way to establish those objects as worthy of our attention... Anything above and beyond that can also further enhance the object. I suppose that my aging process can act in this way... It's a little extra care and thought I put into what I make... (That most others don't do.) But the real answer to your question is that I came to the conclusion that these garments just needed to look and feel that way, they wouldn't be right without it. It's fitting with the subject matter and further enhances the experience that I want for my audience. Flatspot: Talking specifically about this latest season, is there a common theme? Chris: Nope... Just some of the best skaters of all time, and the shit they wore. Flatspot: "...My days weren’t filled with simply learning tricks and pushing from point A to B, but they were full" - in becoming more commercially minded, has skating lost some of it's charm? Is it down to the individual to find pockets of inspiration? Chris: It absolutely has... charm is small, sacred, and unique... and what place does charm have when faced with an industry that's more concerned with volume and growing numbers? But to be honest, it's always been up to the individual, and of course the more individuals you have out there searching for new or interesting or inspiring things then the more that informs and rewards the group. What that quote is referring to has more to do with the shift that happened culturally in skateboarding as a direct result of the progression of the craft. Basically, skateboarding got more difficult and complicated and the people got less interesting. It's a different kind of mind that makes a body able to kickflip EVERY TIME... And that mind usually isn't very funny or interesting to hang out with... (there are exceptions) That is a 20 year old discussion however, and of course each generation adds and compounds to what has come before... the skateboarding of today attracts a completely different type of kid then it did when I started. It sounds crazy to say this, but I remember a bunch of the kids I started skating with weren't all that interested in being super good... there was more fun to be had in other ways. I think dear, has been trying to focus on that breaking point. I hope to highlight the people that made things interesting and had a fundamental influence on me.