the 90s skate looks and brands that inspired jonah hill’s ‘mid90s’
The fashion in 'Mid90s' takes in many of the era's biggest brands.
Today you don’t have to be a skater to wear a Thrasher tee. You can wear Supreme, too, and never set foot on a board. There are no rules. Back in the 90s, though, the cultural lines seemed a little more defined. To wear a Girl shirt or shredded éS shoes instantly set you apart. It basically said: I hereby pledge allegiance to this tribe. You were a skater, no question, the clothes your membership to this secret society. When you’d spot someone else in the uniform, an exchange of knowing nods would follow: you’re a skater, I’m a skater, whuddup.
Jonah Hill’s Mid90s gets this. It pays close attention to the looks and brands that shaped that era’s skate culture, some still current, like Girl and Chocolate, others older and perhaps more niche, recognisable only to those who remember a time when skateboarding felt like a genuine subculture. So here are some of the brands and looks that inspired Hill’s directorial debut, many of which were painstakingly reproduced from the era by costume designer Heidi Bivens, some of which were sourced from eBay, and all of which wouldn’t look out of place in today’s 90s-obsessed culture.
This notorious skate brand is East LA to the core. Described in VICE’s Epicly Later’d series as “thuggy and kinda dangerous”, Menace is the crew that Jonah Hill called “the biggest influence of this movie”. In the film, the now-defunct brand is glimpsed on a T-shirt worn by Fuckshit. It’s a bright blue star on a dark blue tee, the brand’s first logo. Menace, some of whose members did time in jail, were skateboarding’s outlaws, throwing gang signs and skating to Wu-Tang. As for the vintage pieces in the film, they’re hard to come by. A lot were reportedly tracked down from older skaters and collectors on eBay.
Another defunct and key skate brand in the movie is Droors, the San Diego-based clothing company that sponsored the likes of Sean Sheffey and Danny Way, among others. The brand’s vibrant tracksuits and sportswear arguably signposted later gear by Supreme and Palace. In the movie, you’ll spot Fuckshit sporting a black Droors beanie and a host of other skaters sporting other pieces in the background. The vintage pieces look as if they’ve been torn straight from the pages of an old Thrasher magazine. Fun fact: the “DC” in DC Shoes originally stood for “Droors Clothing”, showing how Droors was the root of DC. Fun fact #2: rumours of a Droors Clothing reboot have been circulating online this year.
The black Vans Half Cabs with white laces
If you skated in the mid to late 90s, chances are you owned a pair of black Vans Half Cabs with white laces. These were the shoes that defined the era. Those mid tops. That white vulcanised rubber outsole. The simplicity of those white laces on black suede. Really, though, it was seeing the shoe – Steve Caballero’s second signature model for Vans, released in ‘92 – on the legendary feet of Guy Mariano that did it. Every kid who saw Mouse worshipped at the altar of Mariano. And Jonah Hill was no exception. 20 years after the shoe was released, Vans re-introduced the Cab to celebrate its anniversary. But like Chuck Taylors, these Cabs never really go out of style.
Like Menace, Shorty’s was an LA skate company at its peak in the latter part of the 90s. Chad Muska, the boombox-wielding face of the company, also happens to have a small role in Mid90s. In a nod to Muska and the legacy of Shorty’s, Hill had Stevie don a blue tee with the iconic box logo. The brand name was nice and big so you could wear it proudly, as was the trend of showing your allegiance to your favourite company. Though today you don’t see the brand much in skate parks, or even in the street, there are signs of a low-key comeback, with a new website selling old school items.
White tees and denim for days
There was a hot minute in skateboarding where everyone wore white tees, typically logo-free, oversized, and hung loosely over saggy jeans. Maybe skaters were imitating pros like Guy Mariano in Mouse, or Andrew Reynolds in The End. Either way, Mid90s pays tribute. You’ll spot Supreme pro Na-Kel Smith (Ray) in said look, topped off with black Adidas, his other sponsor. It’s also worth mentioning that the movie’s ‘skate consultant’ was Aaron Meza, who, along with Spike Jonze, made the aforementioned Mouse back in 1997.
Blind Skateboards was another core skate brand in the 90s. Its Video Days, the brainchild of Spike Jonze, is arguably the most legendary skate video of all time, listed by pros the world over as a firm favourite. In Mid90s, character Fourth Grade wears a black vintage black Blind tee with the OG logo. Also popular back in the day was the Blind Reaper, a menacing cartoon character that the brand, still going today, is bringing back. If you saw a kid wearing this back then, you’d definitely shoot them the obligatory and smug “hey man, I skate too” look.
'Mid90s' is out in UK & Ireland cinemas 12 April 2019