As of press time, we are in peak hoodie season. At some point, you may sit around in a bar with civilians and loved ones, and the question is sure to arise.
“Why do you skaters tie your hoodie strings?”
There’s a reason for this, or maybe there is not. It’s an unspoken thing to keep a kit tied. However, besides just looking cool, I’ve never had an explanation for this. Let’s see what the pros say and get to the bottom of this.
It could be a regional tradition. It could just be our collective desire to emulate those we admire. Maybe it’s a tactical move where function and fashion combine.
“You tie it so wind doesn’t get in,” says Bobby Puleo. It could be that simple, but let’s see what else we can find.
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Skaters Been Doing This
Tying the strings is rare among everyday people. But with a bit of digging, we can find some documentation. D’Angelo Russell won GQ’s 2019 NBA Style Showdown for donning the bow. The pants tucked into the socks are not it, though.
They tried to claim Tom Brady invented lacing up in 2020. However, a commenter in that thread said, “People have been doing that for eight years at least.” Another in the ensuing Reddit thread claimed it was only a move for “a fucking sociopath.”
Call us crazy for being skaters and adding tasteful flare to our outfits.
In the same year, an outdated news source tried to claim H&M was responsible for the trend. Harry Styles also set a precedent in 2016.
Google it if you want, but there is also confirmation of unhinged people tying zip-up hoodies sans zip. Skaters did not do this.
Other outliers include people who remove the string altogether. Upper-tier skate clothing brands like Butter Goods and Dime have preemptively removed the cinch thread. Could our secret trend be coming to a close?
We skaters don’t know why we do this. Even the Polar pro, Aaron Herrington, admits, “I really don’t know why I do it. I just tie them.”
Maybe It’s A Jawn?
The regional influence would make a great defense on the origins of our preferred styles.
A lot of what we do spawns from the scene we are surrounded by—in-person or through media. Love Park gave us more than nosegrind pop-outs and propping tiles. There’s hard evidence that tying up come from the City of Brotherly Love.
“To this day, when I go home and hang out with all my little nephews, they still do it,” says Jimmy Gorecki. “I’ll never not have mine not tied.”
Gorecki is a maker of fine garments. The homie even makes cashmere camo hoodies. He sent me 20 years of laced-up evidence.
“As for the hoodie strings, tying them was always such a Philly thing,” says Gorecki. “Definitely a non-skater nuance all skaters during the time I grew up there embraced.”
To this day, no skater has dressed as cool as a 15-year-old Long Islander who cut his teeth in Philly. A couple of years later, my first memory of the tie-up came in Mosaic when Pops brought the look to Clipper. We have to believe his time at Love inspired the look.
Mark Suciu is a SOTY. However, a couple of years prior, he was in a hoodie crisis.
“The strings hit my face when I skate if I don’t tie them,” says Suciu. “I used to just take the string out.”
We can give Suciu the pass for removing the cords. That quick footwork and multi-rotational skating would send the strings flying. But alas, there’s another way to stop the slapping.
“On a RVCA trip in 2019, Zach Allen told me to just tie it up. Been doing it since then.”
Further investigation reveals you may be able to buy this moment in history. Shout out to Zach Allen.
The Breadcrumb Trail
Kelly Bird stood out in his recent Nine Club appearance. Particularly intriguing was his froSKATE hoodie with the laces tied up to a T. Bird’s position in the skate industry is arguably among the most influential in footwear and fashion. But who inspires the tastemakers?
“Sheffey always tied his strings, so I followed suit,” says Bird.
Most of us probably got into tying up due to those we saw before us.
William Sean Sheffey’s official profile of record features those laces tied, and there is plenty of evidence backing up Bird’s statement. However, how does an originator come up with this stuff?
“I actually got this from Rick Howard,” says Sheffey. “He once sent me a Girl package, and in the package was one really rad Girl Skateboards hoodie. It was already bow-tied, and I kept it that way. Super rad style, I think!”
Rick has given us a lot. As if being the originator of making short-sleeved button-up shirts cool, he also serves as a big inspiration for our current discussion.
One of these days, we’ll have to get the feature interview with Rick to get to the bottom of this. We’ll just chalk it up to it being cold in Canada. You have to tie up to keep the wind out.
This Is Ceremonial Attire
Whether held at a bar or in a Hollywood theater, skate premiers are where to find our most formal fit. The skater’s tuxedo:
Can of Modelo
We have nothing better to do in the wintertime than hope for a video premier and hob-knob with all the homies who are known only by nicknames. You have to dress up for this kind of thing.
We can all now agree the tie-up is a nod to the culture and a way of paying homage. There is a practicality and function to this fashion choice. It’s a cold world, skaters. Stay laced up.
Love the level of research
I’m split between string removed or left untied. I think it’s a glasses wearer thing because too tight over the head takes my glasses with it.