Thanks to groovy, awe-inspiring creators on TikTok, roller skating has made a comeback in a big way. The roller skate revival made headway in the midst of the pandemic summer, and it continues to hold strong in 2021. Not only have skate sales gone up as a result of the TikTok trend, but even those uninterested in stepping foot in a roller rink are looking to the roller skate aesthetic for style inspiration.
Part of what's so appealing about these viral TikTok videos is the unique fashion style paired with the roller skaters’ moves, from statement-making bell bottoms and a cool vintage top to a pair of highly coveted colorful skates. Roller skate clothes have even made their way into major fashion collections, such as Coach, which enlisted roller skaters in its 2021 summer ‘90s-inspired sportswear collection campaign.
It's clear that the recreational sport's vintage roots are a strong source of fashion inspiration for most skaters, but not every skater goes for a classic ‘70s roller skating outfit — they each add their own modern-day flair to the throwback look, whether that's tapping into an up-and-coming indie designer or scouring thrift shops for a one-of-a-kind item. Plus, comfort is key while skating, so sporty items like bike shorts and athletic one-pieces sometimes tie into these roller skating outfits all too well.
Fashion, like dance, is a way of expression, and NYLON chatted with seven of TikTok's favorite roller skaters about their personal styles and where you can shop to match their aesthetic. Read on for more.
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"My style is very connected to my heritage and lifestyle. I'm Latina; raised in Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. I love dancing to Afro-Cuban music and Reggaeton. I grew up in the '90s, obsessed with TLC, and it shows. When it comes to fashion, I try to dress true to myself. My go-to pieces are vintage denim, worn-out cotton T-shirts, my gold Our Lady of Guadalupe cadena, and my late grandmother's hoops, which I rarely take off. While skating, I like to wear dance-inspired athletic wear for everyday — think wrap tops and unitards, like the Paradise skate-tards. I'm still daydreaming about these colorful sets from Hara The Label, and I also love a costume moment. I'm not averse to unexpected fringe, especially from Fashion Brand Company by Penelope Gazin."
"I would describe my style as a '70s pop star or disco queen. I'm inspired by icons from that decade — Diana Ross, Pam Grier, and Farrah Fawcett. I love a retro vibe, so I search for clothing items that are vintage-inspired, such as halter tops, bell bottoms, and anything colorful with fringe detailing. All you need are a couple stand-out pieces in your skate wardrobe to spice up any look. My favorite is my pink and purple Nasty Gal fringe jacket. I also like to be comfortable while I am skating, so that's why when purchasing bottoms, I tend to get pants that have a softer fabric, like denim with stretch or a jersey knit. I've been eyeing a pair of Topshop trousers for a comfy yet cute look."
"I would associate my fashion style with a '70s funk child. I grew up listening to a lot of funk and soul vinyls with my grandma, and seeing their album covers now, I can definitely tell that has influenced my style. Spending a lot of my childhood at Mission Beach in San Diego with my cousins reminds me of the colors mustard, orange, and the blue ocean on the boardwalk, so I tend to wear a lot of those colors. My everyday style and skating styles are exactly the same. I like to wear my different colors of bell bottoms from a brand called Madcap England. I can't leave my house without wearing a headband from I'm With The Band because it really holds the sweat coming from my Afro. I'm also way into thrifting; a lot of my T-shirts are vintage men's button-ups, or from Electric West, which is a great woman-run shop out of San Diego. My Clementine Moxi skates will always be my classic skate 'til I can't skate anymore. I'm definitely looking forward to skating in my new Moonlight roller skates in the near future."
“I’m really interested in sustainable fashion and art — most of my clothes and roller skates are vintage or thrifted! I enjoy different time periods of fashion, specifically of queer and radical historical context. I’m obsessed with the aesthetics of turn-of-the-century feminists, and am very inspired by the women and femmes of the French Resistance and Mujeres Libres in Spain. My favorite roller skates are my vintage Riedell 130’s that I Angelus Suede-dyed a rust color and a thrifted pair of Vans Sk8-Hi’s I modified into custom sneaker skates for street skating. My go-tos are button downs layered under a sweater or cardigan paired with my Aloha boots!”
"Fashion plays a large role in my lifestyle. What I'm wearing not only gives me confidence but also shines a glimpse of my personality. The right outfit gives me superpowers. It's all about confidence when you skate. When I get ready, I normally have music playing in the background or my favorite anime shows to inspire me. Some of my favorite shows include Neon Genesis, Cowboy Bebop, and Dragon Ball Z. Ultimately, a successful outfit is one that channels my inner Sailor Guardian on skates — cute but savage. As far as clothes, you can never go wrong with Paradise's stretch denim high-rise shorts, a few staple thrifts from Buffalo Exchange or 2nd St USA on Melrose, and some Moxi Lolly skates with frilly socks — a must!"
"One of my favorite parts of my skate journey is that each person in my skate squad has a different style. It's like we are all different characters in the skate movie in my head! Loads of people refer to me as 'The Disco Skating Queen.' I'm heavily influenced by disco and '70s fashion. 90% of the time, you'll see me in bell bottoms or flare pants. Groovy pants are like the heart of my style. Even if it's a 'practice day' and all of my mates are wearing athletic clothes, there is an excellent chance that I'll still be wearing lit pants. I love walking along Melrose and going into various different thrift stores. I tend to find lots of winners at Crossroads Trading for a great price! I always leave there happy."
"As a person who's constantly on the go — traveling and teaching yoga and roller skating — I'd describe my style as boho wanderlust meets witchy chic. I love wearing bright hair colors, mixing it up with an all-black outfit and often topped off with a wide-brim hat. When I'm not in all black, I enjoy sporting warm earth-tone colors, like olive, maroon, and burnt red. For shoes outside of skates, I often enjoy wearing over-the-knee boots and lower-heeled shoes that allow me to be stylish and comfortable at the same time. I would say my inspirations are AllSaints and Alexander Wang."
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