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9 11 Never Forget American Flag shirt .besteestores Which Tanaka says he carried over to skateboarding from his days playing soccer. It helps him take care of his ankles, too, having broken them in high school after jumping off a roof (don’t ask). “Fools be out here stressing about skating,” he says with a verbal shake of his head. “You’re supposed to be having fun. I skate for myself because I like it, because I like having fun, and that’s how I think Mark Gonzales [the But I will love this skater he most looks up to] views it.” Tanaka, who grew up in Nebraska, was first introduced to the sport as a teenager by a BMX buddy who was possessive of his board. “He would never let anyone ride it,” Tanaka remembers, “but one [time] he let me, and I was like, ‘Damn, this is fun!’ and ever since then, I’ve just wanted to skate.” He was one of the few in his small town who did, and both his board and the tight pants he then favored marked Tanaka as an outcast at school. Happily, his mother always had his back. “It’s easier to be yourself when you have a parent like that, who like supports you,” Tanaka says. “She’s really helped me express who I am.” A vintage clothing dealer, she also influenced his standout look through her own “funky style.” Mother and son bonded while thrifting. “That’s what we did to hang out, we’d always have so much fun finding stuff,” says Tanaka, who intermittedly sells vintage on Depop. Beyond knowing the best places to go, the secret to finding the best stuff, Tanaka says, is to “have no expectations.” This long-haired skater is partial to “old golf grandpa” gear like polos, rugbys. And those hometown kids that used to make fun of him? Well, notes Tanaka on his IG, they “all dress like they skate now.” That doesn’t mean he’s lost all the haters, though. “I’ll like post a video and someone will be like so mad about what I’m wearing. It’s just like, how could you care so much about what I’m wearing?” Tanaka wonders. “Why don’t you care about the skating?” The fashion world certainly does, and it’s paying attention to Tanaka. “I’m down for people to send me stuff, but they can’t expect me to, like, shout them out,” he says. “Lately, I’m feeling like people just wanna use me for, like, an advertisement.” He’s cool with Adidas and Sk8mafia, who supply his shoes and decks. Of late, he has faux-logo pajama pants by Nolan Apparel on heavy rotation.
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9 11 Never Forget American Flag shirt .besteestores I like him,” he says of the But I will love this designer, “because he’s like slept on, he’s like kinda low-key, not a lot of people know about him. I like those types of brands that are like really cool but not blown up yet.” One of those is Gnarcotic, who made the skater’s triple-print camo pants; in a fit of boredom, he customized his own camouflage pants with paint markers. Trend chasers can watch Tanaka’s videos for the fashion alone. “Mixing textures and patterns in a haphazard way and not giving thought to it is what I do best,” he admits. Tanaka isn’t one of those people who won’t try something new until someone they think is cool does. Asked why he thinks that fashion so often co-opts skate style, Tanaka explains that he’s always felt that boarders catch on to things a little bit faster than everyone else. “I can’t speak for every skateboarder,” he adds, “but I think we’re always hungry for something new.” In Tanaka’s case, that discovery might be something old school, like logo-heavy Tommy gear, or a Goodwill find. His style is deeply personal, and every piece has a story. Tanaka is currently saving for a sewing machine and dreams of one day having his own company and creating cool one- or two-off pieces. “I just feel like having ideas sometimes,” he says. “That’s me like seeing things and being tired of seeing more than one person with the same thing. I’m not trying to wear what everybody else has. I want mine to be different, I don’t want it to be the same.” No worries there, GT. As an international cadre of fashion types turned out in Copenhagen for the city’s Fashion Week, their only competition where visibility was concerned was the sizable pack of skaters among them the likes of Alex Olson , in town to celebrate the launch of a new capsule by Eric Koston and the buzzy Danish label Soulland for Nike SB. For Soulland designer and skate fanatic Silas Adler, the opportunity to collaborate with his childhood hero was nothing short of a dream come true (the line’s launch earlier this week came on the heels of news that skateboarding will be added to the list of sports for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan). Indeed, Koston is a bona fide icon of the sport by anyone’s estimation. And as a member of the Nike SB team since 2009, he’s released a string of influential shoe styles for the label the latest being the already sold-out Zoom Eric Koston QS and Hyperfeel Koston 3 QS.
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