Fashion has long been obsessed with skateboarding. Every season, authentic gear is dragged from skate parks and city streets into high fashion spaces. Biting streetwear style isn’t anything new — there have been posers in Thrasher hoodies for decades and it won’t stop anytime soon. However, skaters signing with major modeling agencies and collaborations between legit high fashion brands and streetwear labels are part of a much more modern type of remixing.
When it comes to true skate style, it’s always best to look to the athletes who are actually riding; thanks to Instagram, you can keep up with skaters in real-time, instead of having to wait for a monthly mag or a post on a website. Here’s the best part: skaters don’t use Instagram the way that calculated influencers do. There are no #OOTD posts. Instead, their accounts are curious hybrids of average social media user detritus and extreme skate YOLOness. They show tricks but also blanket their pages with pictures of their crew, the people they’re dating, and their families.
Very few of the shots are professionally composed, save on accounts of skaters who are also visual artists. Instead, followers get raw style. Check the list below and get wise.
Ben Nordberg is a controversial addition to the list. On one hand, he’s an obvious choice because he is a pro-skater and a signed model with IMG. On the other, his modeling work has made a lot of other riders question whether Nordberg can even be considered a skater anymore. A UK native, Nordberg earned a spot on the elite Flip team (Bob Burnquist is a pro member of the team, which is important because he’s a God), and he is sponsored by brands like Spitfire, Thunder, and Filament Brand. Although his appearance is totally propelling his modeling career, it would be a mistake to overlook the impact of his skate style. Known for his relaxed rides, Nordberg is completely laid back when he does his tricks — his mien displaying the same indifference one expects on models striding the runway.
In the past, his Instagram account leaned more toward the influencer side of the genre than the pro-skater one, as it featured him in a lot of black and white shots relaxing with big-name models or wearing high-end fashion brands rather than riding his board. But lately, he has been posting primarily skate videos, so fans looking for tricks will be satisfied.
Some of the people on this list exemplify the classic California skate style. Blondey McCoy is not one of them. A founding member of the Palace Wayward Boys Choir, a UK collective of creatives and skateboarders, he has been instrumental in celebrating grimy, raw British skateboarding. He’s even got the PWBC tattoo to prove it.