Today I came across a story on the Internet that truly troubled me. This story bothers me for lots of reasons but I will try to sum it up as simple as I can. For most of you that know me, you know how incredibly passionate I am about the action sports industry, the athletes, and the lifestyle that comes along with it. Boardsports have always been considered a counter culture spanning back to the 1950's and 60's when if you were a surfer or a skater, you were probably an outcast because you weren't apart of some team or league sport or maybe people wanted to call you a dope head because you grew your hair long. Either way, it has taken years to grow this industry, for the punks to be the cool kids so to say, and we are still on the brink of legitimizing the sports. Snowboarding has been accepted into the Olympics and the ASP is changing things up so that event sponsors don't have so much control over what happens in professional surf contests and then there is skateboarding- which is lacking a world tour or a governing body all together with a couple of different large contests in various places but not one big league like surfing. We are all fighting for our industry without selling out and becoming lame, because this industry is all about the true meaning of cool. The fact remains that a big wave surfer has way more balls than some rapper who has over a million twitter followers. He is risking his life for his true passion and pushing the limits of human abilities & evolution all together, ground breaking shit if you ask me. But why are we all still the under dogs? Like I said, things are starting to change and people like Kelly Slater and Shawn White are showing us that there is value in these talents. You don't have to play baseball to be cool. Sometimes you actually might be better than your whole team and therefore want a platform where you are up against nature's elements, a place to show off your true talents and creativity. But the thing is, we are still small in the scheme of things, in the big picture of all the different industries and capitalistic adventures. Yes, clothing brands like Billabong and Hurley have shown us that there is a demand for this. Are we as big as Gucci? Maybe not yet but its going somewhere here. We are fucking cool. We are core because our lifestyle pushes the limits. Zumiez has approximately 400 stores in the US, in malls all across America and this number will probably grow. They support hard goods and provide skateboard decks and wheels in places that may not necessarily have them. Then there is all the "Mom and Pop" stores, the brick and mortar the anti corporate... These are the shops that are supporting riders and keeping our industry core. I have been blessed to work for one of the greatest and most timeless skateboard brands of all time, Powell-Peralta - and I have seen how much skateboarding has trickled into other venues like fashion, art, tattooing, California dreamin' and what not. I have seen how the fashion industry wants to have an edge, a connection to something cool, a lifestyle filled with passion with dedicated followers who live and breathe this stuff and would not like it any other way. I have so much love and respect for board sports and for skateboarding. It bums me out to see a fashion designer who I really liked, clothing I cant afford right meow but still want anyway, rip off one of my inspirations Jim Phillips from Santa Cruz Skateboards in such a blunt disrespectful way. The knock is so obvious, Jeremy Scott didn't even change the color way for fuck sake. I know I know this happens all the time in fashion, in art, bla bla bla. BUT, to think you can get away with it and not have an industry of people, especially skaters and art lovers, some of the most passionate ruthless human beings I know, not stand up for themselves. It's crazy. People want to glamorize action sports and its culture, sell skateboarding without really supporting it. Steal the raw creativity that exists here, lame. All for what? Support your local skateboard and surf shop kids! You would think the guy could have just done a legal collaboration and give Jim Phillips credit as rightfully deserved.
Robert A. Denike, CEO and President, NHS, Inc./Santa Cruz Skateboards
We had never heard of Jeremy Scott until it was brought to our attention. This is not a collaboration or under license, nor did we or the Phillips family approve the use of this artwork on his apparel designs in any way.
It’s obvious to us, the Phillips family, the fans of Jim Phillips Sr. and Jimbo Phillips, and fans of the brand Santa Cruz Skateboards, as well as many in the global skateboard and skate art community that there is clear and obvious infringement by Mr. Scott. We are discussing this with our legal team to determine our next steps.
These two artists and this brand are iconic. Any true fan of skateboarding will tell you how the Phillips artwork style, this brand and the activity of skateboarding has positively influenced their lives. It may just be artwork to Mr. Scott, to be used and thrown away by next season, but these artists and brand mean a lot to many people around the world. And by the looks of the outcry on social media, skateboarders and non-skater’s alike are angry to have two of their most favored artists and one of the original true skateboard brands violated in such a way.
I hope that Mr. Scott sees that his actions have hurt and affected many people, including the Phillips family, and that he has also severely damaged his own reputation. It is not too late for him to do the right thing, as an artist and creative person, and fix his error in judgement.
Many people have concluded that Jeremy Scott must have obtained a copy of Jim Phillips Sr. book “The Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips” published in 2007. There is some obscure art in the book that Jeremy Scott lifted and it could only have come from that book.