You might never lace up speed skates and race around the flat track, elbowing your way through a pack of blockers to victory. Maybe you don’t want to hit the dance floor in 3 1/2-inch heels to execute the lifts, drops and sweeps of a professional dancing routine. And if your age is much higher than your shoe size, you might not harbor any fantasies of performing the acrobatic tricks of a BMX biker on a halfpipe.
Alternative sports + fashion = a seemingly strange concept, but we figured that you sharp Indy readers already knew about the new wedges and embellished sandals of spring 2005. We decided to treat you to something different.
We talked to skateboarders, professional mambo dancers, Carolina Rollergirls, a wakeboarder and BMX bikers, all of whom play in ways that fall outside the bounds of normal team sports. These athletes share an aesthetics common to outsiders everywhere–an appetite for risk, a devotion to personal style, and an unwillingness to resign themselves to the mundane world of work and responsibility, at least during a rollerderby bout or while inverted in a wakeboarding whirlybird. We asked our models about their take on style, and the resulting “fashion statements” accompany their photos.
You’ll see some do-it-yourself creativity and find inspiration in the sass and sense of humor of rollerderby queens playing dressup. Strategically position a hole in your fishnets to let your tattoo peek through. Get crafty with iron-on letters and feel the satisfaction of having a one-of-a-kind tee or hoodie. Try pushing your look further than you normally do. Get a little more glammed up next time you go out–find sexy ankle strap sandals to go with a dress that’s more dramatic than you’re used to wearing. Take tips from the relaxed look of our wakeboarding babe and nonchalant cool of skater boys and watch your attitude change. And by the way, attitude is the only must-have of spring 2005.
How does your style affect your performance?
Mohammed: It doesn’t. I would skate the same no matter what I wore.
Richard: The quality of the clothing is important because it will hold up longer when doing tricks.
Where do you shop for your clothing?
R: Vertical Urge, Endless Grind on Peace Street and Project 58. I like the name brand skate clothes like Pop War, Gurl and Chocolate. For normal clothes I go to Wal-Mart.
What parts of your skate clothes set you apart the most?
R: My orange hat and my keys. I like the sound of the keys when I skate. I keep them on my belt loop.
Who’s your fashion idol?
M: Mark Johnson. He skates for Chocolate, the skate company.
R: Ryan Smith [skates for Mystery].
Do you borrow your skate style for your everyday attire?
M: Yes. I just like wearing loose clothes.
R: I don’t really wear anything besides what I skate in. You don’t get out of your skate clothes.
Have you ever worn something that you didn’t like the look of, but you knew it would help your performance?
M: The shoes–the colors can be ugly, but they are important for skating.
R: I didn’t like the shoes at first, but they are really light and easy to put on. They have a pointed toe so it’s easier to do flip tricks with the skateboard.
NOTE: Mohammed and Richard skate regularly at Godbold Park’s Sk8-Cary at 2040 N.W. Maynard Road in Cary, 380-9799.
How do your outfits affect your performance?
Joy: I like to have a flowing skirt that flairs when spun, and something very colorful. This helps the body movements stand out when you are on stage.
Where do you shop?
J: Charlotte Russe. Also, I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on formal dresses, so I had someone make me a dress for performances [pictured]. I came up with a design for the dress to compliment our choreography and then hired a local dressmaker. For everyday clothes–BeBe, Arden B, the Gap. I’m mostly looking for places that have good sales!
How does your clothing eflect your personal style?
J: When I dance socially (not competitively), I like to wear jeans and a fancy top. I like clothes to fit tight–it helps become more a part of the dance and music.
Betto: My hat and stylish Italian/Turkish pointed shoes.
Who is your fashion idol?
J: Gwen Stefani.
Do you see elements of mambo fashion reflected in the mainstream?
J: Yes. Many stores now sell nightclub dresses. I think Latin dancing might have affected the cuts and colors of the dresses. I also have noticed more and more Latin music used in advertising.
Is there an accepted part of dance fashion that doesn’t suit your style?
B: Full suits. I cannot move in full suits; it’s also too hot. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy dancing.
Note: You can join Joy and Betto for social mambo dancing on Tuesday nights at Carmen’s Cuban Cafe and Lounge in Morrisville. Check out their upcoming performances at www.mambodinamico.com.
Where do you shop for clothes?
Ryan: I get a lot clothes for free from sponsors like Square One, Formatic and Orchid Footwear. [You can buy these types of fashion at] bikes shops like AllStar in Cary and Raleigh. I buy my jeans at the Gap and also shop at Endless Grind in Raleigh.
David: Sponsors [e.g. Underground Products] mail clothes to me to ride in.
What about your style sets you apart the most?
R: I always wear a hoodie. I get cold easily.
D: Not wearing tight jeans.
Do you have a fashion idol?
R: Indie music stars.
D: Kanye West and Howard Stern–both do their own thing.
Do you incorporate elements of BMX clothes into your everyday attire?
R: Yes, everything. I wear the same clothes riding.
Do you see elements of BMX fashion reflected in mainstream fashion?
R: Yeah, I think it’s inevitable because extreme/action sports are the most popular they’ve ever been. I’m guilty of this too–I used to wear surf brands when I wasn’t a surfer.
D: Mainly shoes are copied. Pacific Swimwear makes it easy to look like you ride or skate.
Is there anything about your sport’s look that doesn’t suit your personal style?
R: Extremely tight fitting clothes. Guys are wearing low rider girls’ jeans. Not cool. Style and fashion is becoming more prominent in extreme/action sports.
D: Jelly bracelets, piercings and tattoos that don’t mean anything. Also, some guys wear girls’ jeans. I can’t ride with tight jeans at all.
How does your style make you feel/affect your performance?
Patricia Lauer (“Maddat U”): It makes me feel like a hero.
Laura Weakland (“Celia Fate”): It’s like donning battle gear. This aggressive Rollergirl persona comes out when I wear my gutterpunk ragdoll look.
Angel Jervis (“Busty O’Lipp”): It gives me a lot more confidence–I totally feel like I can kick some ass.
Leigh Salmon (“Eva Lye”): I get to show my outrageous side. It makes me feel like a different person, not this person that goes to a corporate job.
Where do you shop for rollerderby fashion?
P: My camo shorts are from T.J. Maxx, and the fabric iron-on letters on my Rollergirl tee are from Joannes Fabric [editor’s note: Hot, hot babydoll tees are available at www.carolinarollergirls.com]. I buy accessories and nailpolish at Spencer’s, and I also shop at Sports Authority and in department store juniors’ sections.
LW: Julie Garment [consignment shop in Raleigh], Hot Topic, thrift stores. The dog collar, shoelaces and jelly bracelets are from Claire’s, and I use Manic Panic for the red streaks in my hair. The cast on my leg is courtesy of Southeastern Orthopedics!
A: I mostly alter dresses to make my own costumes. The iron-on stars and letters are from Michaels arts and crafts store.
LS: Thrift stores, trashy.com, sockdreams.com, Slash ‘N Burn [www.findcoolclothes.com]. I get rhinestone letters, trim, tassels, fringe and sheets of iron-on material at Michaels. I cut the feet from knee-high stripy socks to make armwarmers.
What elements of your getup set you apart the most?
A: Outrageous pigtails, over-the-top makeup, halter tops, star pasties. I’m saving my propeller pasties for the first big bout.
LS: Dramatic eye makeup, stylish athletic clothes, star tattoos, and skates painted with stars and flames. Heather Passamonte at Studio 610 in Raleigh always gives me a unique ‘do.
Who’s your fashion idol?
LW: The other rollerderby leagues around the country influence us. We’ve started our own fashion circle.
LS: Music influences my style. Marilyn Manson’s makeup and uniqueness, Pink’s style and toughness, Missy Elliot’s boldness, artistic videos, athletic but hip outfits–it all comes from a creative place.
Do you incorporate elements of your sports fashion into your everyday attire?
LW: I would never put this much work into my everyday style! But I love those theme events at Kings where everyone dresses up–it’s like Halloween. Rollergirls get to have Halloween everyday.
LS: Studded belts, chunky boots, lots of black. My hair and makeup are always dramatic.
A: Yes. Since I’m starting to be recognized as my Rollergirl persona (“Busty O’Lipp”) on the street, I play it up.
How do you incorporate more mainstream fashion trends into your rollergirl style?
LW: Rollergirls are copying glamour punk, rockabilly, the athletic look … the Rhinestone Cowgirls and the Honkeytonk Heartbreakers have a cowgirl look, and Putas del Fuego from L.A. have a Latina gang look.
Note: The season-opening bout happens on Sunday, April 10. Fans, come out and dress in the colors of your favorite team (Debutante Brawlers wear hot pink, black and white; Trauma Queens wear black and blue). Tickets at www.carolinarollergirls.com.
Does your clothing affect your performance?
Melanie: Very much. Presentation and performance go hand in hand–if you look good, you ride good.
Where do you shop for wakeboarding clothes?
M: WRV [Wave Riding Vehicles] in the Outer Banks.
What elements of your getup reflect your personal style?
M: Volcom brand and shell necklaces. I always have necklaces on.
Who’s your fashion idol?
M: Within the sport, Leslie Kent [professional wakeboarder]. Also, my grandma–I’m not even joking, she’s a model.
Do you incorporate elements of wakeboarding fashion into your everyday attire?
M: Yeah, I pretty much have my bathing suit on under anything I wear.
Do you see elements of wakeboarding fashion reflected in the mainstream?
M: Yeah, I do see people that don’t surf wearing board shorts, but that’s cool. I think it’s cool to be a poser, if that’s what you want to wear.
Note: Check out www.endofropegang.com for local water sports events. Melanie recommends the Easter @ Hyco Lake wakeboarding festival on April 8.