It wasn’t until seventh grade that I found myself being influenced by the clothes my classmates were wearing. Prior to that age I was content to wear whatever clothes floated my way, but by the time I started skateboarding I had a desire to dress like a skateboarder, too.
When you live in the Midwest, it takes awhile for trends to reach you. Instead of finding out about the latest haircuts and fashions from other kids, we tended to discover them via movies, MTV, and magazines. I collected every issue of Transworld Skateboarding and Thrasher that I could get my hands on and plastered the walls of my room with the color photographs and advertisements contained within.
One of the most accessible skate-related brands of the time was Vision Street Wear, a company that made everything from hats to shirts and, most important to skaters, shoes. Vision Street Wear shoes were similar to Converse shoes in style, but had a little extra rubber around the toe that kept them from wearing out so quickly. And more importantly to a kid like me, they said “VISION STREET WEAR” on the side, which let all the skate poseurs in town know that I was a little less of a poseur than they were — or at least that I was a poseur who could afford sweet shoes from the local skate shop.
In the following Vision Street Wear video you can see team skaters clearing wearing their clothes (while skating to the band Agent Orange). I don’t know if wearing Vision Street Wear shoes helped these guys be better skaters, but as a kid I was willing to take a chance.
Believe it or not, the company Vision Street Wear still exists today. I have not seen their clothes for sale at the mall recently and I’m pretty sure I would look silly parading around in them today. Still, there’s a little part of me that wouldn’t mind picking up a new pair of Vision Street Wear shoes and wearing them around on the weekends.