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Recently, a friend told me that despite being a regular subscriber to Thrasher— the “Bible” of skate magazines — he couldn’t bring himself to purchase one of their signature flaming logo t-shirts. This was not for lack of funds — they’re a cool $30 — or lack of want. No, it was because over the past couple years “fashion people” like myself have ruinedThrasher tees for him. He wasn’t blaming me. In fact, he offered to teach me how to skateboard again. (I recently found my amateur deck buried in my mother’s basement with a dweeby ‘I heart waterfalls’ sticker on the back.)
My friend, like many people who have a love and passion for anything, was open to sharing. But when authentic totems of one group become “trendy” status symbols for another, more powerful one, the original object loses its meaning. Some might call it appropriation, but we can all agree that, today, a Thrasher shirt today no longer represents a singular devotion to skate culture.