You’d have to be new or dumb to think the blading industry isn’t more broke than the average rollerblader.
But before you go investing in your sport, let me tell you the importance of always reading the labels.
Case in point: the “skate” in Bulletprufe Skate Denim is now meant for skateboarders.
They were though, as most blading products typically are, not without their faults. I’ve bought three pairs and been extremely satisfied except for one large flaw I’ve never experienced before with jeans: the fly goes down on its own.
Not cool if you look like me and there’s a child around. People look around to see if you own one of these…
Again, not cool.
Despite that, I was a set to order a few pairs off their new line because while they are pricey, the money’s going into rollerblading and that’s more important than anything else.
That was last Tuesday—also payday, or I as I like to call it “hood rich day”—and I went to their site and was given a huge reminder…
Bulletprufe doesn’t do rollerblading.
(Which has since changed since last Tuesday. Rollerblading images are now featured with skateboarding and biking, as you can see in the screen grab below. Their Facebook page, however, is split between Bulletprufe Skate Denim [rollerblading] and Bulletprufe Skate Denim Worldwide [skateboarding])
Kind of sucks to realize that the limited money I have has been going to now promote skateboarding as well. It’s bad enough I’ll eagerly ride Eulogys, which do the same thing, but maybe there’s something to say about that formula.
So, last Tuesday night, I sent Will Fisher, owner and proprietor of Bulletprufe a few select questions…
No. 1: Am I wearing skateboarding jeans right now?
No. 2: If not, why is there no blading on your site an(Y) longer, nor why do you post such things on your site? The only photo I saw of a blader on http://www.bulletprufe.com/ was Gripper and he was in a chair.
No. 3: If Bulletprufe is a skateboarding company now, what do you have to say to bladers who paid full price (including the problems that went with $80 jeans with zippers you wouldn’t dare go commando in) so you could test your products on a poor industry to run to a richer one?
No. 4: No one doubts money is an issue in our industry, but why? Really, why?
No. 5: How do you plan to make money in skateboarding when your brand can so quickly be associated as a blading brand?
No. 6: How many times do you walk by Black Sheep Skate Shop in your home turf of Charlotte, see your jeans there, and not fall over laughing thinking of the old Mindgame ads where skateboarders were all the white sheep and blading was the… the uh… You know, I can’t think for the life of me what the rollerblader was right now. Do you remember, Will?
No. 7: What’s the hardest part about rollerblading?
I should make a very important note about my line of questions to Will, who has never been anything but a nice person to me, came as a customer and on the same night two of my friends were hospitalized by a group of skateboarders.
Also Last Tuesday…
That Tuesday night, two of my friends—Omar Ontiveros and Rob Antaki—went to a skate park in Walnut Creek, Calif. I used to be fond of that park because that’s where regular Tuesday Night Skates occurred when I moved NorCal four years ago. Went there, met tons of homies, always had a good sesh.
What’s worse, is that in preparing for the Oakland Blade Jam and then hanging out after the Valo V premiere, I spent extra time with these guys. Real funny dudes. Hella hard workers.
For fun, here’s his entry for AMall’s Cash Clip contest…
So, when I received texts that they were jumped by a truck full of skateboarders who specifically who came to the park to blader bash, well, I didn’t like what I saw.
You already know the words they said to get shit started.
You know those fucks used their boards as weapons. And you know they had the numbers.
Last Tuesday wasn’t one of those nights where we hit Walnut Creek en masse. Rob and Omar were the only two bladers at the park. This Tuesday, you can sure as hell know they won’t be.
I don’t give a fuck what anyone says, you show up somewhere specifically to beat people, for whatever reason, that’s a fucking hate crime. Pure and simple and should be viewed with the same tolerance as bigotry.
What happened to Rob and Omar was simply nothing more than a continuation of bullshit defensive mockery from a sect of people who’ve been told one too many times that they’re the kings of counterculture.
Seriously. Think about the realities of life in American culture—skate parks aren’t where the bad kids hang out anymore. It’s where negligent parents leave their four-year-olds unsupervised usually without incident because no matter how much we adults think we’re fucking bad asses, when a little kid rolls in, we all have to work to keep the little thing out of the hospital.
It’s a shame we haven’t quite figured out how to do that to other adults.
We’re too busy endlessly talking shit (guilty as fuck right here) to the point where anyone thinks it’s even reasonable to mob up on people. That’s how far it’s been going—because I know of enough stories to know this shit isn’t isolated—and it fucking disgusts me.
Why do that shit? To teach someone a lesson?
Here’s the lesson: that shit ain’t going to fly very far.
It’s hard to stomach the possibility that someday a group of guys may jump out of a truck looking to hurt my friends and they may be wearing the clothing that got its beginning from the very sport they’re bashing.
That would be too much sweet fucking poetic irony for me to bear.
Just thinking of it makes me fart.
Edit: No, no, no, and no. If anyone thought it was possible for the two to be related, other than what was stated repeatedly through this column, then we apologize for the confusion and respectfully request you read it more carefully.
These two events happened last Tuesday when I was looking to buy some skate jeans.
That’s why my questions to Will were more loaded than Paco Ass Dre and The Steel Seagull on a Sunday.
Will had sent the following response by the next morning…
Brian, it’s purely a business decision. There were two options: 1) close the doors or 2) start fishing in deeper waters. Bulletprufe, or any company for that matter, is not a hobby; it’s a business and has to be run as such.
Running a denim company is not like selling t-shirts; you can’t just get five or ten pairs printed up whenever you need them. You have to order months in advance and there’s real money at stake. Nor am I a single 22 year old anymore; I have a wife and three kids to support and I can’t spend my time, or risk my family’s money and security, on a project (a small niche blading company) that not only does not make a profit but rather loses money.
So, if you were me, what would you do? Pack it in and look back fondly on the times you lost tens of thousands of dollars trying to run a blade company or buckle down and do what needs to be done to make your company successful? Yea, it sucks that the sport is not the size it once was but there were two options and I chose not to go the way of the dinosaur, like so many other blade companies before us.
I understand people’s concern and I am more than happy to discuss this in further detail via email, over the phone, etc. any time.
Thanks – Will Fisher
In all reality, I feel like a dick for passing judgement on Will’s decisions to promote his brand to skateboarding because were I in Will’s shoes, I may have come to the conclusion and I know Will didn’t make it without seriously considering personal longevity.
That’s smart because he has a family and I don’t, but what from I’ve learned from parents my age is that “you won’t understand until you’re a father.”
I’ve been fortunate enough to pad myself away from as much responsibility as I need to mainly because I’ve stuck to my guns. I don’t believe in many things in life, but those causes I feel like are worth fighting for, I’ll sacrifice more than I should for them.
I’m probably just too overprotective of my sport, my friends, and the people who I genuinely believe that if we continue to stick together, we’ll be better off at the finish line.
No matter what, I still stand by the statement I made on this site that Bulletprufe uses on theirs…
At least from now on if I’m going to buy skateboarder jeans, instead of shelling out $80 for a pair that could get me an indecent exposure ticket, I’ll walk down the street to the sporting goods store and pick up a pair of clearance Volcoms for $45.
I do have to be smart with my money, after all.
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S. — Want to make me sound like a complete hypocrite? Buy my books. Will has already been nice enough to do it.