But that's the thing: Once the rest of the world catches on to just how fucking cool you and your friends are, followers follow and magazines write.
A few sects have held on tight, though, without anyone compromising their style, hobbies or mantra of choice. And that honor belongs to the action-sports crowd—specifically, the skaters and surfers.
Sure, those camps came close to co-opting a few times—remember the late '90s, when all sorts of people who didn't even own a skateboard wore those giant Etnies, éS or Globe padded shoes and logo tees? But it all really came down to the fact that skaters and surfers were genuinely in it for the sport and not the carefree, nonchalant image that came with it.
When you think of the biggest names in the game right now—Eric Koston, Ryan Sheckler, Tony Hawk, Bucky Lasseck, Daewon Song—you probably don't think of how they look, how they dress, or what they were wearing at the last event. It's about talent, not what seemingly neutral outfit—chosen for function, not form—they were last seen in.
And that's when the sometimes-vicious fashion cycle kicks in: These looks influence their own skater social circles and eventually filter down to suburban kids and shopping malls. It's why you see items such as $185 A.P.C. flannels for sale at American Rag.
It also helps that skating's influence has penetrated all parts of pop culture: Not just fashion, but art, film, literature, music, even architecture. Skating, surfing and other action sports are an all-encompassing lifestyle choice, not based (purely) on aesthetics, which obviously prolongs its societal relevancy.
But mainstream publicity doesn't hurt, either: Producer/musician Pharrell Williams (Little Skateboard P?) has his own streetwear-influenced clothing line, Ice Cream, that only recently started to sponsor its own skate team. MTV gave Sheckler and Rob Dyrdek their own reality shows. And how many times have you seen girls half your age running around the Block in Bam Margera Element shirts?
Pictured here is pro skater Raymond Molinar, who has been splashed across all the right advertisements and magazines—and he's apparently a pretty good photographer, too. Molinar's got on a simple (remember? Simple is good) outfit consisting of an unbuttoned navy flannel over a basic black tee, brown trousers and a pair of red-and-black Vans that kind of resemble Sebagos or any other boat shoe. A Polaroid camera slung over his shoulder and baseball cap complete the look.
Nothing about his outfit is matchy-matchy, nor does it say that he's trying too hard. And most remarkably, he's even mastered the male conundrum of alternatives to denim. Take note, guys.