Last Updated on November 10, 2020
People interested in skateboard culture know the facts well:
The skater subculture was one of the biggest and most visual of all time, and still is today. 90s skateboard culture is still a present factor within society and multiple brands have incorporated the concept into their collections, including higher end brands solely centered on this idea such as Supreme.
In this article we’ll delve into the true authentic 90s skater brands and some cool outfit ideas you can wear right now.
The following brands were among the most popular within the skate culture fashion.
Droors is an American skater fashion brand that was established in 1992 by Damon Way and Ken Block, both 90s skateboarders. The brand produced skater basics such as graffiti printed tees, oversized rundown jeans, mesh jerseys, and skating sneakers.
It became a classic brand for everyone involved in skate culture throughout the 90s, and in 1994 opened a side brand focused on sneakers called DC Shoes. The brand is still operating, designing, and producing to this day.
The skater style that Droors represents is linked to late 90s menswear. The most popular products are clean sneakers that feature a varied color palette. The brand is inclusive in the sense that it is not limited to a singular style; it caters for all.
Blind is a skateboard brand established by Mark Gonzales in 1989. As a marketing tactic, the brand filmed a video called Video Days that featured various skateboarders practicing the sport, including Mark Gonzales himself skateboarding in the 90s.
Through the early 90s, Blind was considered one of the best-selling skate brands across the world. The brand kept their original marketing strategy up by continuing to release videos that catered towards the youth subculture.
The aesthetics and overall style that Blind represents is linked to street and graffiti art.
The majority of the illustrations and graphic prints on the items they sell feature a graffiti effect.
Graffiti art was huge throughout the 90s and was very closely adjoined to skate culture. The brand focuses on the artistic and colorful side of skateboarding.
Acme Skateboards was a skate brand and shop founded in 1991 in California by all-time skater Jim Gray. He was the mastermind behind the brands rise to success, being as he was obsessed with the sport and overall lifestyle that he represented.
They were admired for their creative input, and ability to adapt to all the different styles that exist within the wide skate subculture—they are one of the most famous American skateboard companies.
Acme was a brand known for representing a menswear style that was different from the rest of the skateboard brands in the 90s. This in part, is what caused the brand to not strive for financial success. The brand focused on quality over design. The boards featured clean and simple designs, ideal for skaters with a more timeless taste.
#4 Mad Circle Skateboard Inc.
Mad Circle was founded in 1993 by skater Justin Girard. Head members included Justin Chris Fissell, Mike Cao, and designer Barry McGee better known as ‘Twist’. This brand was considered a pillar of classic skateboard culture during the 90s, and did very well in the beginning stages.
Unfortunately, the brand closed down in 1998 due to a poor relationship with is distributor Giant. Even though its lifespan was brief, Mad Circle is still remembered and praised by the most dedicated members of modern skate culture. Here is Karl Watson in an ad campaign of the brand from 1996.
The brand represented a basic style very similar to other skateboard brands within the 90s featuring creative graphics and the brand logo. These boards were praised for their durability and quality more than their designs.
#5 Aesthetics Skateboards
Founded by famous skater Sal Barbier, this brand made headlines for its creative input within the skate community and gathered a huge fan base within the punk aesthetic. Products included the racing series, handheld gamer series, MVP series, among many others. Aesthetics was considered a revolutionary brand within the skate community and is still considered very iconic.
The Aesthetics Skateboard decks graphics leaned towards a contemporary, early 2000s fashion aesthetic of denim on denim, baggy sweats, and oversized tees.
The boards were favored for their light weights which allowed many skaters to find performing quality flips and tricks in the air easier.
#6 Powell Peralta
Powell Peralta was founded in 1978 by George Powell and Stacy Peralta. The company rose to fame in the 80s, and continued to expand throughout the 90s. The brand still operates today and produces skateboards and skate apparel. The company featured a skate team titled the ‘Bones Brigade’ which helped it further grow within the skateboard community. Famous skater Tony Hawk worked with the brand on various occasions.
During the 90s, Powell Peralta had a huge team of members with the Bones Brigade. These members, all iconic skaters, truly managed to represent the fashion style that Powell Peralta cultivated.
It was very 90s school youth, and the classic ‘uniform’ consisted of a long sleeved tee, skater shorts, above the ankle length socks, and skating sneakers—usually Vans.
Hook-Ups was founded in 1993 by artist and professional skater Jeremy Klein, a California native, and became one the most recognized apparel and skate shoes brands within the community.
The brand rose to fame since it was different from all the others within the market. Its inspiration and main themes were centered around Japanese anime. Illustrations featured female characters and monsters. Brand products included graphic tees, skateboard decks, shoes, and accessories.
The brand represents a very particular taste and fashion style, one closely linked to sexualized anime art influenced by Asian culture.
The boards, tees, and other garments all play with these graphic designs, which are very different in comparison to the other classic 90s skate brands.
#8 Santa Cruz Skateboards
Santa Cruz Skateboards is considered the oldest, still running skate company in the world. It is based in Santa Cruz, California and was established in 1973 by Richard Novak, Doug Haut, and Jay Shuirman.
The iconic and adored by fans screaming hand logo was designed in 1985.
The logo helped the brand progress and is known considered the most recognizable within the whole skateboard community. During the 90s, the brand was prominent and grew successively.
Considered the most iconic skate brands of all time, Santa Cruz represents classic Americana skate culture and its fashion aesthetic. The brand is focused on logomania – both in terms of the ‘Santa Cruz’ written logo, and the screaming hand creature illustration.
#9 Element Skateboards
Element Skateboards was founded in 1992 by American skater Johnny Schillereff. Since its establishment, it has been producing skateboards, apparel, and shoes.
The brand is based in California and continues to operate today, dispersed among international locations such as New York City, Honolulu, London, Sydney, Madrid, Montreal, and Paris—its international outreach is vast.
The brand features a typical 90s skater nostalgic style aesthetic—graphic illustrations on solid colored tees, creative visual boards, and references to famous films such as Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and other vintage references.
#10 Alien Workshop
Alien Workshop was founded in 1990 by friends Chris Carter, Mike Hill, and Neil Blender in Ohio. During this time, the majority of skate brands were based in California—they took a risk by establishing a brand outside of the skate epicenter of the decade.
However, their location is what made them stand out from the rest—skateboard gone ‘Midwestern’. The company still operates today and is considered one of the most successful skate companies of all time, especially since they managed to build a brand from an ‘outside’ point of view.
The brand aesthetics and overall style are very new and contemporary, yet nostalgic of the 90s.
They all feature alien themed graphics; hence the brand name. The head of an alien became their iconic sign.
Their skateboard models follow the same theme as the garments, modern yet maintaining the original theme introduced when the company was first established.
#11 Birdhouse Skateboards
Birdhouse Skateboards was created in 1992 by Tony Hawk and Per Welinder in California. The name is based off of Tony Hawk’s nickname within the skate community which is ‘birdman’. This information and his fan base helped the brand grow consistently.
The company sells a cool variety of skateboard decks, wheels, clothing, and multiple accessories. The company has an interesting history—during the 90s, skateboarding suffered a change.
The sport had become a huge trend during the 80s, and had continued onto the 90s. However, multiple new brands had been on the rise, causing the competition to become harsh and the future for many to seem bleak.
The brand is currently doing very well, and Tony Hawk continues being a team member. The brand is based on ideals and styles of purity, modernity, and futurism.
The brand does not look towards the past for inspiration, but focuses instead on the future. It is known for ‘keeping it real’. It is centered around new talent and constantly adds modern graphic designs.
#12 Toy Machine Skateboards
Toy Machine was established in 1993 by Ed Templeton, who still continues to own the company. It is based in California but is considered one of the best-known skate companies around the world. This is due to its impressive team including up and coming skaters such as CJ Collins, Leo Romero, Myles Willard, Axel Cruysberghs, and Daniel Lutheran.
The brand works with classic skateboard imagery combined with pop culture aesthetic wise.
Fans of the brand are highly loyal and are the reason why the company continues to do so well both financially and within the media. The brand has been featured on skate magazine covers multiple times over the years.
#13 Plan B Skateboards
Plan B Skateboards is based in California and was established in 1991 by Mike Ternasky, Brian Johnson, Danny Way, and Colin McKay. The brand began selling decks and apparel and continues to produce the same type of products currently.
According to reports, the brand had creative issues when first beginning, since each founding member had a different opinion about what direction they wanted to take the brand in. However, the brand ended up doing extremely well and is highly respected by the entire skate community.
The brand is very focused on the aesthetic of nostalgia and heritage skater looks; it often looks back at the 90s for inspiration and has also developed the idea of skate stickers—a very popular concept within the skate community as well.
Summing it up
As you can see, the majority of successful skate brands in the 90s were ‘skater owned’ companies. Those who knew the sport through and through also had the creative input to make a brand of it. Other famous skateboard brands that developed throughout the 90s included Polar Skate Co., Girl Skateboards, Krooked Skateboards and Enjoi.
What’s your favourite 90s skateboard brand? Let us know in the comments below!