How it all started
Thrasher started as a magazine for skaters in San Francisco in 1981 by Kevin Thatcher, Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello. The magazine focused on skate culture and promoting skaters who they liked or who they thought were talented. Every year they nominated their favourite skater of the year and ran series such as “King of the Road” which had teams of skaters competing to complete challenges all based around skating. One of their first magazine covers from 1981 can be seen below.
At some point the magazine decided to introduce their own branded clothing which became a favourite in the skating community. As with many brands that become synonymous with a subculture they begin to gain popularity outside of that subculture. They began to collaborate with bigger name brands such as Supreme and Huf (Which you can see below) and became popular with the hypebeasts (wear the clothes of a subculture without having any knowledge or appreciation for it and just wear it to fit in with a trend) of our generation.
Move into “streetwear”
Due to its popularity we began to see every celebrity rocking a Thrasher graphic tee or crew neck. From Justin Bieber to Rihanna and everyone in between it was hard to not see in mainstream media.
Thrasher themselves didn’t love this too much with editor-in-chief of the magazine, Jake Phelps, saying about celebrities who don’t have a clue about the brand and what it means but wear it anyway “We don’t send boxes to Justin Bieber or Rihanna or those f***ing clowns. The pavement is where the real s** is. Blood and scabs, does it get realer than that?”. So it’s pretty evident to see what the brand thinks of the situation, they want ambassadors who understand the skating community and what it’s like to be a skater in this day and age.
With popularity comes copycats
As has happened with many other popular brands such as Kanye West’s Yeezy fast fashion has come in and copied original designs so they can sell them to the masses barely even trying to change anything about the design to even hide their shame. Below are two examples from H&M and Forever 21 copying Thrasher’s designers to try jump on the trend. Thrasher has taken it the legal route speaking to H&M’s lawyers however all they got was an incredibly poor response an excerpt you can see that Thrasher posted on their Instagram.
While it looks like nothing is going to change for the time being Thrasher is still going to make high quality clothing and fast fashion retailers are still going to copy them until their ability to steal designs is somehow better prevented. Until the streetwear trend is broken and something comes along to takes its place Thrasher will unfortunately have to keep dealing with these issues.