Paris and skateboarding are two labels that carry some of the most assertive caricatures in talks of subcultures and lifestyles. The amalgamation of the two categories — Parisian skate culture — is in a cross-bred league of its own that rich in both genealogy and potential.
But despite its parents’ dominant heritages, PSC has been carving its own path along the supremely storied streets of the Euro city since 1980. And indeed, the contrast of shredding asphalt against the romantic City of Lights makes for a unique narrative — if not some monumental visual pulp — that is still yet to fully unfold.
One clothing label that has traced and contributed to the French skate story is Wasted Paris, a young independent streetwear brand founded in July 2012 by two friends Johann and Fang. Born out of a shared passion for fashion, photography and ’90s music movements such as Britpop and Shoegazing, Wasted is an apparel brand/skate group/artist collaboration archive that embodies today’s movement into mixed reference and interdisciplinary creativity — the spirit that has been pushing forward the present era of contemporary fashion and sports-luxury.
With a fascination with urbanism, globalization and the desire to help young skaters who want to “fit into the scene while keeping their individuality,” Wasted is set to bring Parisian skate culture to the global stage and help young skaters define their tastes. Recently, HYPEBEAST sat down with the Wasted crew to chat about their latest Spring/Summer 2017 collection, skate culture in Paris and how social media is affecting the democratization of street culture. Read on to learn more about the fledgling brand’s roots and where it’s headed to next.
Describe the Spring/Summer 2017 collection in three words.
That’s a hard one. This season we were inspired by so many different things. We have references to Italian brands of the late ‘90s, going from well-known sports brands to big fashion houses. We also have more personal references that range from music to photography. If we had to sum it up in a witty way, it would be “Veni, Vidi, Vici.”
How would you describe skate culture in Paris?
Skate culture in Paris has always been in constant evolution. A lot has changed since it was implanted in France in the ‘80s. Beginning as a classic sport, it has seen a real take-off in the 2000s when independent French labels started flourishing alongside well established international skate brands. As is usually the case, the new generation of skaters had a strong desire to stand out. Thus, they did so by practicing a more personal sport and by changing their clothing style.
How does Wasted Paris represent Parisian skate culture, or how do you want your brand to fit into the scene?
Parisian skate culture is a lot about blending and mixing references. We always try to stay spontaneous in our creative process, but we can’t hide that we come from two separate – but not so different – worlds. Both of us met in 2008, and whilst one came from fashion, the other was evolving around skate and communications. Our two backgrounds collided at the same time that we were witnessing the evolution of skate culture around us. We started printing T-shirts with a digital machine in a very DIY kind of way — our so-called “Atelier” was actually a garage.
We had always worked with friends and when we opened our first shop, there were obviously skaters hanging around. They’re now part of our skate team. The idea behind the team is to contribute to Parisian skate culture as well as document its evolution. When developing our apparel, we are essentially thinking of our skaters’ needs through both of our mediums. We started producing our own decks and organizing trips to film our skate edits.
Skate is a great medium of communication. Each video gives us the occasion to have a projection at the store. That allows us to meet more young skaters. It’s very important to us to stay close to the core that led to the brand’s existence.
There has been a huge increase of skate-influenced wear, streetwear and sportswear in Paris. A big name that comes to mind is Pigalle. How do you think the scene has changed in recent years?
The last few years have seen a great change through the development of social media and marketing. Millennials have a real will of demarcation from their elders. The emergence of brands such as Pigalle is a consequence of the democratization of street culture. Youngsters want to fit into the scene while keeping their individuality, which leads them to combining items and styles.
A word we’ve been hearing a lot in Paris lately is “gentrification.” It applies to Pigalle. Their collections are a mix of prêt-à-porter and streetwear. We’re great admirers of their work. We owe a lot to these independent French brands.
Both Hong Kong and Paris aren’t necessarily known for their streetwear or skateboarding, how do you think streetwear flourished in these cities?
Skate and streetwear are above all inspired by urbanism, and both Hong Kong and Paris are great cities at the very heart of worldwide commercial exchanges. Streetwear is a natural consequence of the globalization of trading goods and communication. Youngsters tend to look after influencers to define their tastes.
What makes Parisian skate culture different from American skate culture?
American skate culture is an institution, it has been developing for years and has some of the most well-known skateboarding brands. Parisian skate culture has the chance of still being in full growth. That is a true kind of freedom — it leads to more originality, creativity and individuality. You can see more and more French skaters rejecting classic skateboarding codes.
How does a city’s culture or landscape influence its skate culture?
The city’s landscape is directly linked to the practice of skateboarding and grows together with the architecture of a town. Skaters know how to adapt to their city. In America, you have big and open spaces; Europe has a vast history and a lot of monuments. We just came back from Italy where we were shooting our lookbook and skating there seems so difficult. In some cities, you just have to adapt. And it’s not at all bad — it improves creativity.
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