As people in parts of the world are cautiously resuming group or individual athletic pursuits, brands, designers and luxury houses are looking to sports for inspiration and market share, and H&M is the latest to take the plunge.
The Sweden-based retailer will launch a skate and surf-inspired collection next week. The company has unveiled a campaign featuring members of Black Girls Skate, a nonprofit committed to creating equity, visibility and safety for all skaters who identify as Black. To relay a message of freedom, empowerment and togetherness, Black Girls Skate members will share personal stories in an editorial in H&M magazine.
In the early 1950s, skateboarding gained popularity thanks to surfers who were looking to ride the streets when the waves were flat in California and Hawaii. After the first commercial skateboard was manufactured in 1959, the sport gained momentum. Three years later, the surf shop “Val-Surf” in Hollywood sold the first self-produced skateboards. Vans, Etnies, Converse and DC Shoes developed skateboard-ready footwear and apparel.
Aligning with Black Girls Skate gives H&M access to the skater and surf community, but the union has messages that extend beyond the world of sports. Founded in 2019, Black Girls Skate also is committed to skaters who identify as womxn, nonbinary, trans and Black, African or of color. With 15 ambassadors in three countries, the group’s programs aim to start dialogue about skater visibility, safety and equity.
Events led by Black Girls Skate are open to all, but the focus is on minority communities and individuals between the ages of 16 and 25. Representatives at the organization did not respond to a request for comment about the H&M alliance.
Cropped T-shirts, tanks, sleeveless tops, Bermuda shorts and swimwear are among the offerings, which include some items made from partially sustainable materials. The collection debuts at H&M stores and on the company’s site on May 13. However, local launch dates may vary in certain regions, due to shipping delays caused by last month’s blockage of the Surz Canal, according to the company.