Welcome to whatsgood. This is the third instalment of a 5-part weekly series of articles. We’re going to deep-dive into the origins of some of the most influential streetwear brands worldwide.
Palace is the textbook definition of a streetwear brand. As part of a crew of skateboarders, by the name of Palace Wayward Boys Choir, founder Lev Tanju does everything with and for the London-based skateboard team. Equipped with a VHS camera, Lev made a short series of videos documenting street-skaters in London, trying to get people off the ‘hipster’ trend of ‘skating is cool again’. Endless frustration. Frustration with how commercial skating was becoming and how knowledge of ‘real skating skills’ was deteriorating.
“I spent hours on end in an internet cafe making 40 odd episodes of a fuzzy news program just to drum into at least one kid’s head that Kareem Campbell is infinitely better than someone like Ryan Sheckler.”
In other words, the public was chasing after commercialized talent as opposed to well-gifted street skaters. And then it happened. The inevitable DIY attitude and realisation that this needed to change.
“I realised that I could start up my own company, sponsor my favourite skaters and make something better and realer and streeter than all the rest of the weak shit out there right now.”
Lev needed help in designing his brainchild. He had thought of a name, Palace, but wanted a brand image and design that was undeniable. He turned to his friends Fergus Purcell (2013 Design Director at Marc by Marc Jacobs) and Will Bankhead (famous graphic designer and photographer) to develop something. The famed Palace logo was born. Allegedly, Lev was only interested in making skateboards that were good to ride on and looked dope as f#ck. The t-shirts became a thing because people knew that Fergus Purcell and Will Bankhead designed it together. Which means that the fans of the clothing were never really his target audience.
Pretty damn cool, right?
What’s cooler, is when you understand that all the money made goes toward paying the pro-skaters of the Palace team (so that they never have to worry about an income, and can continue to skate without a worry) and the equipment needed to film them (VHS cameras, etc).
When asked what skaters who can’t afford Palace clothes should do to wear the gear? Lev gave some sensible answers, and gave the hipster community one final blow: