Decks, Trucks, and Louis Vuitton: High Fashion Comes to Skate Culture

Video courtesy Thrasher Magazine


Photo courtesy Lucien Clarke Instagram

Lucien Clarke with sponsored Louis Vuitton shoe

Andres Sandoval, Staff Writer

Is high-end fashion coming to a skate shop near you?

Only time will tell, but one of the world’s most recognized high-end fashion brands dove head-first into skating culture this past summer when Louis Vuitton signed its first-ever collaborative promotional agreement with a professional skater.

Jamaica’s very own, Lucien Clarke, 31, became the first skater ever sponsored by Louis Vuitton, with noted fashion designer Virgil Abloh at the helm of the creative design. Abloh drew attention to the move during one of his Shanghai fashion shows when – as a nod to Clarke’s Jamaican roots – he noted that the show was taking place on the anniversary Jamaican Independence Day.

“There’s an intense logic behind what you see that I create. Face value isn’t nearly deep enough,” Abloh claimed in a recent interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, elaborating that not everything that happens by coincidence. Every collaboration is well planned and more effective when there is meaning behind it, Abloh added.

Clarke, who was raised in London, shared pictures of the new deal on his Instagram page with photos of the sponsored sneaker and a Palace brand skateboard featuring a drawing of Clarke in a Louis Vuitton monogram-patterned polo shirt. Word of the deal officially broke out with a short Vuitton promo video of Clarke skating through the city’s historic Trafalgar Square.

But what are the implications for the everyday skate rat? Will local skateboarders soon rep Varvatos shirts and Burberry pants?  For skaters in the Morton community, it’s perceived mostly as positive, if only for the hit-or-miss cultural perceptions of skaters.

“I think it’s super cool for Virgil Abloh to sign and and sponsor Clarke,” claims Angel Rodriguez, 18, local skater and student of Morton West High School. “Skateboarding is overlooked as a sport. It goes to show how our talents can do something for us and get us to places with something we enjoy,” he added.

Kayla Del Valle, 18, another Morton West Student, was also asked about this and referred to the skater stereotype. “It’s a good rep for skaters because they can get stereotyped as rebellious or people that don’t get anywhere in life but Clarke took the opportunity from a high-end brand.”

“With this opportunity, skaters from all over can be more confident and look up to these people so they can also get motivated to be sponsored and get famous while doing what they love to do, showing that skaters too can be successful and not under the rebellious or lazy stereotype,” Del Valle added.