When we started thinking about making kits for skateboarding’s debut on the global stage, we knew we had to pay respect to the uniqueness of individual skateboarders. From tank tops and shorts to polos and cargos, we developed an array of outfit options that all worked together so each rider could put together a look that properly represents their personal sense of style. Getting all those pieces to work together and create a sense of unity under the banner of each national team was also key, so we brought in longtime SB friend and frequent collaborator Parra to create a unified graphic design look that still left room for each country’s unique point of view. We caught up with Parra recently to dig deeper into the design process, creating pieces for multiple countries and how art has played a big part in the history of skate.
SB: Individual style is such a big part of skateboarding, how did the jerseys you designed personify that individuality? Parra: I think that using an artist who is connected to skate, like myself, is a reflection of the commitment to the style of skate. Since the early beginnings, art has played an enormous part in the culture of skateboarding- from the graphics on our boards to articles and skate ads in the magazines to the colorful graphics on apparel I think the overall concept of being able to choose from a variety of kits varying from minimal graphics to the full-blown graphic art treatment is more a reflection of the skateboarder's individuality. Every skater is different and likes different things, some might not feel as comfortable in a super colorful outfit and some skaters might really love loud gear. For instance, I have a better session if I have on white shoes, for some reason that works for me. As skaters ourselves, we recognized that need for style that fits the skater and took it seriously. Now I just hope someone will pick the outfit that I designed!
SB: Tell us more about the use of color for each country and your inspiration behind it. Parra: Obviously, there’s tremendous respect for the country and colors of its flag. I just tried to find a complementary set of colors to match. This way it still resembles the flags but also compliments other natural colors that might occur in the country's landscape and cities. SB: What was your biggest challenge throughout this process? Parra: Stylistically, I wanted to use as many colors possible and still have you instantly recognize the country it represents. That was a fun challenge!
SB: Four countries will soon represent skate on the international stage in your work. What part of this experience are you most proud of? Parra: Although opinions might vary within the skate community about the participation of skateboarding in this competition, I’m just very happy Nike SB got a team of people together that actually skate and understand the culture to make this happen. For Nike SB to pick me out of the insanely big group of talented artists that are in our skate culture is a big honor.
We caught up with him recently and talked about the new Pro version of his signature GT Blazer, his daughter skating with her grandpa and why he just might have to buy an El Camino.
Real Sydney Remix: Featuring Ishod Wair and Zion Wright.