ALL ONE, THE SKATE BRAND PROMOTING INCLUSIVITY
WRITTEN BY MARIO ABAD - EDITED BY HOLLIS DE LANEY
The hyper-connected, instantly gratifying world of social media has given people a platform to express their viewpoints and make their voices heard. While many noble gestures have played out on these platforms, social media has also produced many negative side effects. Instagram has been known to be a breeding ground for narcissistic, self-absorbed caricatures who manufacture false illusions and enviable lifestyles. Some twitter users continue to hide behind their desktops and mobile screens to spew hate, vitriol and even threats. Amid all this data, clutter and images, there's a sense that human decency and empathy are starting to go down the wayside.
Teenagers and other young millennials have been particularly affected by this phenomenon. One man who took notice was Rodney Smith, skateboarding pioneer and founder of SHUT Skateboards and Zoo York. Distinctively self-aware, Smith understands the many problems facing youth culture today, as well as the sense of elitism in many industries creating narrow-minded outlooks. "In my point of view, everyone wants to feel important in the world. Everyone wants to feel part of a group where they feel that they matter," observes Smith. "I am not above anyone. We should all give and receive the same level of respect as humans, no matter what your role or job."It is with this mindset that Smith set off to embark on his next project. He partnered with Rob Rodrigues of SURE Skateboards and Jurgen Abergas to form ALL ONE, a brand whose mission is to raise consciousness for youth culture and help them be more mindful and self-aware. The brand's Truth & Awareness Initiative aims to do just that through video content on their website and social media that will engage and inspire young individuals to have more respect for others and think about the greater good of humanity. Users can purchase ALL:ONE skate apparel and accessories on the e-commerce site, where a portion of proceeds will go to support this initiative. The site features t-shirts, tanks and baseball caps among other things marked with the "flower of life" logo.
Rodrigues explains why choosing skate products was an appropriate way to tie it in with the brand's values. "It ties into skate culture and its sense of unity. The merchandise is accessible just like the whole range of the skate community is," he says.
"There is a strong sense of camaraderie. People from every walk of life can pick up a skateboard and be a part of our diverse community. Anyone can be a participant," adds Smith.
In short, ALL ONE is rooted in skateboard culture's long, rich history and evolution, while never relinquishing its sense of togetherness and inclusivity. The next step for ALL:ONE was opening its doors to the world and making its message heard. A launch event was held in New York City during NYFW: Men's this summer. True to spirit, the crowd was an eclectic mix of people of all ages, ethnicities and sense of style. Set against the Manhattan landscape on a lively rooftop, an optimistic air flowed throughout and seemed to signal a promising start for the label.
The partners agreed that the event was a wonderful success and the response from their peers in the skating community was very positive. Smith notes that, in the end, it's all about your outlook on life and strong sense of self. "It's very important to be a leader in your own world. Doing this will attract people from all walks of life. Making a deep impact and being self-empowered really goes a long way."