Gino’s new brand, Poets, has been years in the making. He grew up in the neighborhood of Poet’s Corner in Long Island, where all the streets are named for famous 19th century poets. He opened up two different skate shops named Poets in the 00s and finally took that inspiration into streetwear. Everything about the Poets brand is derived from elements of Gino’s past. With the Poets’ Bruin, Gino took inspiration from his love of sports growing up and his preference for skating non-traditional shoe styles, bringing the colors and big lines of an old European soccer boot on to the Bruin, one of Gino’s “all-time favorite shoes to skate in.”
Nike SB: Tell us about Poets. What got you originally stoked on opening a skate shop in your hood? What brought about re-envisioning it as a brand?
Gino Iannucci: POETS refers to Poets Corner which is a neighborhood in Westbury, New York on Long Island, where I grew up. The idea of opening up a skate shop called Poets, both in ‘03 and ‘08, was just me wanting to try something new in addition to skating. I never really thought about making Poets a brand until years later I guess influence from people I know doing the same thing and the fact that I like clothes. Gear is very trendy and there’s always waves of the same shit coming and going. So I just put out what I want, when I want and stay in my own lane.
SB: Do you have any favorite poets? Who are they?
GI: No, I don’t and I’m not going to front like I do. I have bought a few Bukowski books, though, which I did like. The simplicity and short but sweet writing I can hang with. As well as his goggles I can see through.
SB: Tell us about the Poets Bruin? It’s inspired by an old soccer boot. When did you first encounter that shoe and what did you like about it?
GI: The Bruin is one of my all time favorite shoes to skate in. I’ve been skating in them since my 101 days so it was an easy choice when it came to doing a shoe for Poets.
The colors are inspired by old Belgian soccer cleats. They were a favorite of mine going back to the early/mid 80’s.
SB: The Poets Bruin is based off of a soccer boot and you reference hockey and other sports in Poets' output. What role does sports play in Poets?
GI: Sports played a big role in my life up until skateboarding came around.
First it was soccer, then hockey completely owned me and my family. Tennis has always been a part of my life too but just never organized. It’s the only sport I continue to play today.
Growing up playing ice hockey on Long Island with the Islanders winning four straight Stanley Cups from ‘80 to ‘83, watching all that sitting in front of a Zenith, it was an incredible time to be young and obsessed with the sport. My heroes will always be guys like Mike Bossy and Brian Trottier!
SB: Why the Bruin? What do you like about that shoe
GI: The Bruin looks good, feels good, as all shoes from the 70’s do!
SB: Let’s talk films. Poets apparel has references to everyone from Stallone to Fellini. Who are your favorite directors? What is it about a particular film that draws you to it? Anything you're excited to see right now?
I just appreciate the writing, acting and directing. That you can be taken out of your world for a few hours and step into a story created by a huge group of people.
No favorite directors really. We all know who the heavyweight champs are and no need to specify.
Some movies just have that thing where you can watch it over and over. Some are just as amazing but I can only watch once. Some movies are quite dumb but I can watch them over and over as well so hard to say what draws me in.
A few favorites of mine are, Trainspotting, Sideways, Drugstore Cowboy.
At the moment The Irishman just came out so I’m looking forward to seeing that.
SB: Tell us about the neighborhood in Long Island where you grew up? Where’s the best skate spot? Best spot to get a sandwich or a slice of pizza?
I live in Manhattan now but the neighborhood where I grew up, Poets Corner, is small, a few steps down the street is Holy Rood cemetery. Friends from the neighborhood were from a mix of different ethnicities. It was all good.
The best skate spot close by would have been the white building on Post Ave. It brought a lot of skaters from all over Long Island, Queens and Manhattan to Westbury.
Best pizza spot has to be Gino’s which use to be right across the street from the white building and now a block away.
Best sandwich spot would be any Italian deli in Westbury.
Gino's Bruin will be available at skateshops January 4th.