Chinos or cargo pants. A hoodie or a tee. Laces or slip-ons. As far as sports are concerned, skateboarding is arguably the most expressive of them all when it comes to personal style, from the type of hat or helmet you wear down to the color of your deck. Perhaps it’s why I’ve always been fascinated by skateboard culture (though admittedly have never been brave enough to attempt more than an amble on a longboard across my driveway.) Still, growing up in Southern California exposed me to the scene, one that was always associated with the “cool” kids — or more specifically, boys, who have dominated skateboarding since its invention in the 1950s.
According to the website Skate Review, only 24% of skaters are women. And while that’s still less than a quarter of the sport, the women who are in it are taking up space — not just with their impeccable skills on the board, but also with their bold and distinctive styles. Two of the women paving the way (on wheels) for the next generation are Briana King and Eunice Chang. Both born in Los Angeles, King’s and Chang’s journeys to finding their way on their boards are not as linear as one might expect. Before they became full-time skaters (and influencers), King was a model and Chang a web developer.
“Women skateboarding wasn’t even a market when I started,” says Chang. “There was Vanessa Torres, Elissa Steamer, and Leticia Bufoni… In Lords of Dogtown, there was one scene where there was an Asian girl skater, and that actually inspired me a lot. I felt seen. Someone that looked like me that was doing it made me feel like I could do it, too.”
Though they both loved the sport, the boys’ club environment wasn’t always welcoming, and certainly not a place where they felt comfortable wearing what they wanted. It wasn’t until they started skating with other women that they discovered their skater style. “The process just came from my community and knowing that people around me did not care about what I look like or anything like that,” says King shares. “I just found myself entirely.”
Ahead, King and Chang open up about how the skate scene has changed, their favorite things to wear on and off the skateboard, and how to find confidence in yourself and your own style.
On Eunice: Nike jacket, $110, available at nike.com; Pierre Blanc top; No Dress skirt, $155, available at nodress67.com; Lizzie Kid harness; Nike shoes, $159, available at nike.com; Ian Charms necklace. On Briana: Maisie Wilen top, $415, available at maisiewilen.com; Landra Lee Dulin pants, $400, available at landraleedulin.com; Lizzie Kid harness; Nike shoes, $166, available at flightclub.com; Fry Powers earrings; Ian Charms necklace.
How did you get into skateboarding?
Briana King: I grew up in Los Angeles, so I’ve always been around skateboarding. Everyone skated around me. My teacher even skated. So, I got on a skateboard, but it wasn’t a welcoming environment. I got out of it because I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel seen. Then five years ago, I ended up moving to New York City and met the Skate Kitchen girls — it’s a bunch of Black girls — and I was like, Alright, this is me. These are people that look like me. These are people that are welcoming. They were just so friendly. They were like, Here’s a new girl, we’re gonna make sure that she’s 100% comfortable. Since then, we blasted off.
Eunice Chang: I started skateboarding the summer between middle school and high school. I just moved to a new town. Skateboarding was a part of what all the neighborhood kids were doing. We all had bikes and scooters and skateboards — it was just a way to get around. I was very aware that I was the only girl that I knew of that skated. Back then it just wasn’t a thing.
How has the skate scene changed since you started?
King: Over the years, it’s gotten a lot better. The community meet-ups, people creating a space where people feel safe… We make that safe space for people to know that they can feel happy skateboarding, whether they’re with their community or not.
Chang: People are way more expressive now, especially in New York. You go to Tompkins or Blue Park. It’s just so diverse. You see so many different outfits and styles. It’s so cool. And then there is social media — and there’s good and bad with it and putting yourself out there, but when you get a nice message, like “I started skateboarding because of you,” that makes it so worth it.
How did you develop your personal skater style?
King: It was because of my community. I was like, Okay, I’m comfortable. I’m gonna wear whatever I want because the people around me are so beautiful and kind. My style before, I would kind of be nervous, like Oh I’m gonna be in this group of people, they’re gonna think I’m too crazy. Especially being a model my entire life. And then I found the skateboarding [community]. Those people are not judgmental. That’s when I found my real style. Like, Okay, I feel good in myself. I feel good in my body.
Chang: I’m still developing my personal style, but it has been a lot more fun exploring and seeing more feminine styles in skateboarding — it’s really inspirational. People skating in dresses and skirts is cool. I can’t wear leggings. I can’t wear shorts. I have to wear pants and long socks. At this point, it’s just superstition. Skaters are really superstitious about the most random things. Like the top of the skate deck — a lot of people don’t ride decks that have red tops. Some people I know, if they get injured while skating, they’ll throw the entire outfit they were wearing out.
On Briana: Kid Super shirt, $180, available at kidsuper.com; Briana’s own pants; Nike shoes; Ian Charms necklace.
How would you describe your style?
King: I feel like I literally wear everything. Like every day, I look different. I like being extra for sure. I like high-end brands and then like stuff that I had forever that’s like raggedy. I don’t like to feel over the top all the time. So I just want to wear something a little extra, just a little bougie, and then a little dusty nasty. Mix half and half.
Chang: Comfort is a big thing for me because, when I feel uncomfortable, it’s really distracting, and I’ll just start hating myself. Like, Why did I wear this, I should’ve worn different pants! It’s so annoying. Comfort is always number one. I usually start with my pants. I’m in my big pants, little top era right now. Then I’ll bring a jacket or hoodie. Some dunks.
On Eunice: Danbi dress; Marc Jacobs pants; Nike shoes, $159, available at nike.com; Fry Powers earrings; Ian Charms necklace. On Briana: Lucille Reynolds top; Mama Virus shirt; Maison Soski tights, $62, available at maisonsoski.com; Off-White shoes, $665, available at revolve.com; Briana’s own necklace.
What are your favorite brands or designers on and off the skateboard?
King: When I’m skateboarding, anything my homies are designing: Gianni Lee, Huey Lewis, Jeffrey Cheung… Having pieces on my body that I know were made for me lets my body shine. Off the board, Eleanore Guthrie at Knorts, Jordin Blair at Nike (his stories behind his pieces are amazing), and Beth Gibbs.
On Briana: Celia B Secret Garden dress; Celia B Secret Garden jumpsuit; Off-White shoes, $665, available at revolve.com; Briana’s own jewelry.
What are the last things you bought?
King: Almond oil for my entire body from head to toe, a wooden brush (Google the benefits now!), 100% cotton white clothing, my gold “MyMind” chain by Lloyd Steven, and silk head scarves.
Chang: Pepper bras, Hardies Hardware trucker hat, Supergroup Unseen sunscreen, Wishful enzyme scrub, and Kosas concealer.
Any advice on how to find your own style?
King: Find yourself first. You really just need to find yourself within and stop looking for your style here and there. Breathe through your nose and then search, and then breathe and play, and breathe and skate.
Chang: You gotta keep trying different things. Be patient. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s going to work or if it’s going to look good. Sometimes, you really have to wear something and see how you feel. And if you don’t vibe with it, try something else.
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