Skate Apparel -- Kona, Fashion, Culture

June 20, 2012 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Skate Apparel has undergone transformations since the sports modern inception in 1976. Skating and various board sports transcends into mainstream pop-culture. This article further explains the history as well as the evolution of Skate Apparel.

Jacksonville’s skate fashion is utilitarian, forward thinking, and creative.  I recently met with Kona Skate-park owner Martin Ramos in which we discussed local skate style and culture. Mr. Ramos who’s passionate, and knowledgeable about Jacksonville’s skate culture has seen the sport develop since its infancy.

Ramos describes local culture as “Southern, Down-to-earth, and Communal.”  West Coast culture is more cliquish, northeast fast-paced, and southeast more friendly.  Culture often influences style, in which Ramos describes local skaters being creative by establishing localized brands such as STRATA, and 8103. Local style is more individualistic by creating and/or altering looks from thrift stores, local “brands”, and being innovative with skate style (tricks), and fashion style (looks).  


Model is effortless and "simple" (Image via

The model pictured has a Utilitarian fashion style.  According to Martin skating apparel is becoming more “straight-forward, anti-commercial, and has character.”  Some of the brands at Kona such as Vans, Independent, Crown, have undergone numerous transformations since skating’s early beginnings

Kona established the very first Vans account in the state of Florida. Vans underwent bankruptcy, and underwent several transformations by getting involved with wakeboarding, surfing, motor-cross. Currently, Vans is returning to its roots by focusing on creative/inspirational designs, and getting involved with skate & board sport culture.

Young Tony Hawk (Kona Skatepark){"ImageId":9036930}

According to Martin “stores such as Hollister try to capture Surf culture however the “brand” knows how to make non-surf kids feel cool through sensationalized advertisements, music, and overall store atmosphere. Kona has seen pro-skater Tony Hawk and I’m sure he would agree in order to understand a culture you need to experience it.

Martin states “3-5 years later skate styles become more mainstream” for example when skaters wore the following trends: baggy clothes, skinny/slim-fit jeans, and now utilitarian styles transcend into various underground communities such as Rap, Rock, etc..

Karin B., Stockholm, Sweden (Sweater from H&M, Jean Shorts – Levi’s, Shoes- Second Hand, Skateboard – Flea Market)

Megan L. Brussels, Belgium(Vintage printed sweater, dress from H&M, Vintage Converse)

Women’s styles are colorful, fun, and chic. Women are skateboarding more now according to Ramos, in the early days it was mainly the "guys" now it can be a family affair.

David G., -- Philippines (Tank top, Sneakers, Watch – Converse)

Joshua Maxwell (Sneakers – Mac Beth, Shorts – Element, Shirts – Smith, Skateboard – Stereo)

Men’s styles are utilitarian and “plain” --- Little accessories, plain (tanks, v-necks), increased detail on shoes, accessories. Clothing has a “story” behind it.

Deck Park – Phoenix, Arizona

Marseille Skate-park, France

Amazing Square Skate-park – Japan

Kona Skatepark -- Jacksonville, FL

Skating and board sports will continue to transcend into mainstream culture. Through increased accessibility and overall acceptance, the styles we currently see at skate parks will become acceptable over a period of time. Urban communities across the country and around the world are supporting urbanized skate-parks (Deck Park – Phoenix, Marseille Skate-park – France, Amazing Square Skate-park – Japan, Kona Skate-park – Jacksonville, FL).   In all, these skate-parks bring in new styles whether it is fashion or skating, and bring communities together.

article and text by Gerald Joseph