I have come across the most ridiculous,
horribly maddening news ever: Marc Jacobs now designs
skateboards.

Julie Pannuto

Okay, so it’s not a life-and-death matter. But for a
fashion-obsessed, pop culture-savvy person like me, this is highly
disillusioning.

I have always regarded Marc Jacobs as an enlightened fashion
pioneer. While most designers have either opted for the highly
sophisticated, classic look (like Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein) or
the outrageous, feathers-and-sequins-clad, scary look (like John
Galliano), Marc Jacobs’ expert blend of quirkiness,
femininity, and ’60s-retro throwbacks has made him the
designer for hip youth culture (or at least rich, hip youth culture
— he is a high-profile designer after all). But now Jacobs
has made the mistake that so many designers are guilty of —
he has tried too hard to appear “hip” to our
disaffected, rebellious youth. He’s like my Psych 111
professor who continuously references “Joe Millionaire”
in lecture in an attempt to show that she understands pop
culture.

I guess it’s like any counter-cultural trend that some
ambitious designer adopts and molds into a staple of mainstream
culture. I feel bad for punks, who try so hard to shock and rebel
through their fashion, only to later see their fishnet stockings
— sans holes — worn by 40-year-old businesswomen under
their knee-length pencil-skirts, or their Doc Martens worn by
preppy, Abercrombie-clad high schoolers.

I mean, Marc Jacobs’ isn’t totally off on his
decision to introduce skateboards to the affluent mainstream.
Admittedly, the skateboard is all about conveying a certain image
and attitude, as are designer labels. The image of the skateboarder
has changed over the years—hipsters sporting tight T-shirts
underneath tweed jackets and waxing poetic about Sofia Coppola or
Death Cab for Cutie have somewhat, though not entirely, replaced
the junior-high Jnco-jeans-wearing misfits with the ball-chains
around their necks. These new skateboarders (not to be confused
with the now lame “skaters”) may even know of Marc
Jacobs. Crazy.

And maybe these new skateboarders will embrace these skateboards
— which aren’t even cool by the way, they are plain
white and say “Marc Jacobs” on the backside. If Jacobs
is trying to redefine himself as the token hipster/slacker of the
fashion world, maybe his target audience will buy into the image
and purchase his stuff. I guarantee you, however, these newer,
“more respectable” skateboarders will not be the main
consumers of Marc Jacobs’ new line of skateboards. His
consumers will probably be the same girls who buy the torn-up
Ramones T-shirts at Urban Outfitters without owning a single punk
album. They probably won’t even use them, just carry them in
an attempt to attract cute skateboarders — similar to how
they wear Ramones T-shirts so they can attract cute, chic
music-geeks. You think I’m exaggerating, but I overheard a
girl once ask to borrow her friend’s the Who shirt for a
party so guys who like classic rock would want to talk to her.
Girls will do anything to garner males’ attention — and
rich ones will have no moral qualms about spending $225 to do
so.

Marc, how could you! You were so cool before without resorting
to pandering to disenchanted, hard-to-impress young hipsters in
some effort to reclaim your diminishing youth. Please stop before
your status as “innovator” fades and is replaced by
“poser.”

 

— Laneri is a ballet dancer. If you’re her sk8r
boi, drop her a line at
“mailto:rlaneri@umich.edu”>rlaneri@umich.edu

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