Lucy talks Long Boarding and street style.
Skateboarding has taken a long journey from the fringe of society to an Olympically recognised sport. An activity that originated from surfers, who, finding they had no waves to ride, set out to cultivate their own; in the form of a board on wheels.
The world has steadily become captivated by the art of skateboarding, if not for Sky Brown- the professional skateboarder who won a bronze medal at the Summer 2020 Olympics, aged 12- then for the richness of fashion skate culture. An exciting crossover of identity, music and the daring skate tricks that tie it altogether.
We caught up with Lucy, a Singapore-based skater, whose dreamy longboard videos, posted under her Instagram handle @my_bloomy_day, have been journeying us along the gorgeous cityscapes she travels. Her flowing skate movements and longboard dances are intoxicating; and so, Lucy delves into all the elements of skating that are so confidently capturing the world’s gaze.
If you had to describe skateboarding in three words, what would those words be?
Exhilarating, freedom, and challenging.
Why do you think people are drawn to skating, what made you want to pick up skating?
It is super cool, skating is a special sport which often has the wow factor. It is also very easy to start. You don't need a coach, you don't need to join a team, you don't even need to go to a skate park. All you need is a board and some flat ground.
I started skating after watching the movie 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' at the cinema. There is a scene in the movie where Ben Stiller travels to Iceland and longboards down a hill. I was inspired by this and my dream became to travel around the world with a longboard.
What is the best feeling you can have when skating, what is that like, when you get something right on the board?
When I go fast I feel like I am flying in the sky, a sense of freedom rushes over me.
When I land a new trick I am very happy. I get a great sense of achievement knowing I am improving my skills and becoming a better skater.
When I am performing a line with several tricks or steps one after the other, which is more difficult and requires more consistency and a better technique, I feel I have achieved a small victory. I feel triumphant and confident!
What is different about the skate experience in Singapore in comparison to other countries?
The ground in Singapore is smooth, therefore, it is easy to cruise around on the board compared to other countries. Also, the weather in Singapore is great for skating because there is no winter season. Usually we can skate all year long.
Why do you think skating is so deeply attached to music and fashion?
Skating is inherently creative just like music and fashion. Musicians like Justin Bieber, Lil' Wayne, and Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) all skate. I actually met Ryan Tedder at the Longboard Love Skate shop here in Singapore, as he was in town for Formula1 in 2017.
Skating just like music is about being creative, in terms of which tricks skaters choose to do, the style in which they do them, the combination they are done in, and the type of obstacle they are performed on.
Many skaters can do the same trick but in very different ways, the style in which they perform the trick can be more important than the trick itself. I know skaters that only want to learn certain tricks and have no interest in learning other tricks. It's very individual. There are some tricks that I think look super cool and others that aren't as impressive to me.
What does the element of music bring to the actual experience of skating?
I often listen to music when I skate. It motivates me. Sometimes when I don't have any music to listen to, my consistency and energy isn't the same.
Skaters are part of a culture that involves filming and photography. Professional skaters can spend years filming their tricks for a video part which might only be around 5 minutes long. Skaters are always filming themselves to capture these big tricks for their video parts. I am always watching my footage in slow motion to see what I'm doing right or wrong. It helps me improve. When it comes to uploading my skating clips on Instagram, I spend hours trying to find the right song that matches with my style. The song can change the entire mood of the video. Sometimes I get my song choice right and sometimes I don't.
How do clothes impact a skating experience?
In terms of fashion, if I wear something I am comfortable in I feel more confident. With team sports there is always a uniform you have to put on but skaters have the full freedom to express their originality. Sometimes wearing dresses that are too long can cause me to fall down as the dress can get caught on the wheels. Other times when I'm wearing jeans or certain shoes it can affect the way I do my tricks. I might have to shift my weight or footing to compensate. It's important to be comfortable, do not care about what others think of your fashion.
I think it's important to distinguish skateboarding and longboarding when we talk about fashion. I think skateboarders in the 80's wore a lot of shorts, t-shirts, and bright colours, I think skating bowls and competing in vert competitions was the trend. Then in the 90's, baggy clothing and hip hop became more prevalent. I think longboarding only really picked up in popularity in the last 15 years or so with downhill longboarding. In the last 5 years longboard dancing has become more and more popular and is what I mainly do.
What’s the connection between skating and surfing, both as an experience and the communities attached to both, are there any similarities?
Skating originated from surfing. When surfers couldn't surf due to a lack of waves they turned to trying to surf on land using roller skate wheels attached to wooden planks. At least this is the story I've been told.
I've never tried surfing but I am sure it's really challenging just like skating. I think surfers will get the same feeling of excitement after riding a wave as I get skating down a hill or landing different tricks in a line. For many skaters it's more than just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle, the way we dress, talk, think, and see the world through the lens of a skater. I think this is the same for surfers.
In 1996, surf skating was invented by Carver Skateboards. This is a special board that mimics surfing on land. Since then, many surfers and skaters are more connected between the different sports.
Who would you say are some of the most influential skaters , who also use fashion to communicate their skate style?
I am influenced by most of the professional skaters around the world. I think Korean longboard girls influence people a lot, they are very stylish.
How do you feel skate streetwear has evolved? What are skate clothes?
Skaters used to wear baggy clothes related to Hip Hop, which are comfortable to skate in. Having thick jeans that were durable was important as skaters would spend the entire day outside on the streets jumping down stairs, skating ledges, searching for spots, skating through the grime of downtown cities. Skateboard brands such as Supreme, Palace, and Thrasher have gained more interest from non-skaters. These brands that used to be really small with only core skaters being interested in them have become massive brands that appeal to a much larger streetwear and fashion conscious customer. Recently, I see many successful collaborations between high end luxury brands and the best clothing skate brands. I think these brands are trying to find ways to be different, stand out, be modern and relevant in a highly competitive market. Because of these collaborations I think more people are getting interested in skateboarding and streetwear.
Why do you think skating is typically linked to bold colours and bright patterns? A lot of skate wear is statement prints or logos. Why do you think this is?
Big logos are probably used because they want to promote their brands. I think bright colours are sporty and get more attention. Skating is youthful and younger people are perhaps more bold in bright colour choices.
When do you think gender boundaries began to merge within skate wear fashion? With more androgynous looks, why do you think this came to be the case?
Skater girls from the 90's often copied the same clothing as guy skaters with baggy pants and logo t-shirts. Today's girl skaters have lots of different looks. Some are wearing leggings and crop tops others have a more androgynous look. I prefer the more feminine look as this matches my style.
If you could connect the experience of skating with two colours, what would those colours be and why?
I like wearing white because Singapore is hot. When I wear white I feel cooler temperature- wise and I also feel lighter. Otherwise I always try to match colours that compliment my longboards.
What are some of the best skating memories you have of Singapore and where to skate in Singapore?
I travel around Singapore with my longboard. I have skated many places: CBD, Chinatown, Sentosa, Katong, Arab Street, Changi, there are so many nice spots. I love skating during all the recent light shows Singapore has put on.
Where do you hope to see skate wear and the skating scene evolve to in the future?
I hope more fashion brands contribute to skating by putting on events, sponsoring skaters, creating more awareness and helping grow the sport. I would like to see more functional but stylish skatewear. I would also like to see more sustainable or eco- friendly made clothing.
Skate style with Gen Woo
Gen Woo’s SS21 collection curates a vision of fearlessness and freedom; elements all shaped by the sport of skateboarding. Designs that insist on self-expression and Singapore street style, so that you can continue to unapologetically state your presence; skateboard underarm, or not.