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Riding High

October 05, 1995|KATHRYN BOLD

In the 1985 movie "Back to the Future," Michael J. Fox plays a skateboarding time traveler. Like Fox, skateboard fashions have gone forward and back again in time. A look at skateboard fashions:

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1950s--The growth of suburbia--a virtual playground of asphalt and cement--gives rise to a new sport: skateboarding. Skateboarders, already showing a rebellious streak, find their own style at Army-Navy surplus and used-clothing stores. They seek out unconstricted clothes--comfortable Army fatigues, shorts and T-shirts.

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1960s--Surfers and skaters find a common bond--and style--as practitioners of alternative sports. A lot of skateboarders wear surf trunks and go barefoot but later slip on Vans and other tennis shoes for better traction.

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1970s--Skateboarders break with surfers, who start sporting sunny, neon colors, and develop their own, darker street look. Black becomes the predominant skate hue.

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1980s--Skateboarders hook up with the punk movement and its strong, rebellious, urban streak. Ripped T-shirts with skulls and snakes and anything black is hot. Later in the decade, skateboarders ride the baggy look.

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1990s--Ever the rebels, skateboarders reject the now ubiquitous oversized clothing that turns up at mainstream department stores such as Sears. They buck the baggy trend and begin wearing more fitted clothes and traditional Polo-style shirts of the past.

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For the future--There's no way to predict what independent skateboarders will wear next. But if it's in style and in department stores, it's a safe bet that it will be out with those who ride the ramps.

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