Friday, February 09, 2007


The new term relates to cross over between skate and urban wear (i.e. sk-urban) and usually involves shoes. A perfectly natural evolution you might think, but rather antagonistic to the old thrashers who contented themself, by boycotting commercial brand leaders. However crossover consumers, hyped on fashion and streetwear styles, are now willing to pay top dollar for brands that dovetail skate and urban trends. The quantum move is driven mainly by shoe companies hoping to score big time with heavily endorsed shoes from pro skaters and hip hop skaters eager to make the readies. Sales of sport shoes, cross the board have been on the decline for several years but the emergence of a new and growing skateboard market and hip-hop decks has provided a much needed window of commercial opportunity to the ath leisure industry. Decks fill the shelves in high street shoe stores and long gone are the days when they were only sold on limited runs in small surfy outlets. As the fashionista clamber for the latest designer decks many would be challenged to know the difference between a skateboard and a surfboard. The cross over into mainline fashion has encouraged more professional skaters to switch their allegiance too, and have signature shoes from bigger companies. Reebok's Dirty Ghetto Kids (DGK), was developed in collaboration with Stevie Williams, professional skateboarder. Promotions include Stevie Williams is featured with Jay-Z and Allen Iverson in the Reebok's "I AM" campaign, reinforcing the association between sport and fashion. Pro skater Paul Rodriguez has also keen to promote skate/urban crossover, and presents an image that mixes the two attitudes. His "P-Rod" model skate shoe for Nike has been a successful model for Nike's skateboarding division, Nike SB. LRG regularly sponsors pro skaters such as Chico Brenes and Adelmo Jr., right alongside popular hip-hop artists like Kanye West and the Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon, presenting a profile to represent the market's taste and style. Vans too have become active participant in the fashion crossover, raising no objections to the tribute song, "Vans" by the The Pack. The song has become a MySpace favorite and dudes post pictures of themselves in their favorite Vans on the group's profile page. Rappers too are encouraged to show their allegiance to boarding with Pharrell Williams and Lupe Fiasco are two good examples. Pharrel Williams (Reebok)has a skate brand Ice Cream, producing both casual and functional skate models. The Infamous Black Sheep Brand is another company keen to impact on this segment of the market Black Sheep offers a range of performance skate footwear and other footwear products more conducive to chilling. Their shoes are endorsed by Dylan Gardner, Jose Garcia, and Anthony Mosley. Now the Rockport Company (a leading brand within the adidas Group corporate portfolio) have adopted the same approach with am major advertising campaign featuring four up-and-coming stars from the worlds of music, entertainment and fashion to promote its Established 1971 collection. The ad campaign to be launched in spring 2007, will showcase the unique styles of beautiful people: Lyfe Jennings, Wood Harris, Yung Joc, and Coltrane Curtis.

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