I was once a child. The kind, I’m told, who enjoys drawing cartoons about as much as they enjoy watching them. If there’s a pinpointable, pivotal moment at which the type of art that suits skateboards succeeded the type that suits screens as my principal source of aesthetic inspiration, it’s the moment I first set foot in Slam City Skates. I’d love for you, dear reader, to see that vast and varied board wall, that altar of a display cabinet, slapdashedly adorned with stickers, and that ceiling, with thirty-years-or-more’s worth of names, epigrams and crude illustrations etched into and scribbled upon it, through my 12-year-old eyes, or through your own eyes, for that matter, however old they are… alas, the shop has long since closed.

You’ll understand, given the above, my swelling with pride when, in 2013, the shop started to carry my products. Doing the mental arith’, I’d have just turned 16, and it was then that I first realised my GCSE art project was a brand.

Shortly thereafter, I partnered with Palace Skateboards. Thames did, I mean. I had already been skating and, believe it or not, modelling for the brand for a couple of years by then.  I tend to think of the chapter that ensued as Thames’s adolescent years, meaning it didn’t very well know what it wanted to be when it grew up. But, eventually, I did. 

In 2019, aged 21, I brought the partnership to a close, and the business with it.

Fast forward to September that year, and you’ll see me, Blondey, putting the finishing touches on my first collaboration with Adidas, and pondering how and where to launch it. My own website, from which I’d been selling my art and art merchandise, would have worked, but something was stopping me from wanting it to, and I suppose that something was Thames. I knew, however much it just felt right, that the decision to start again would require careful deliberation. I asked myself what the point or points of it would be, and arrived at three intrinsically linked answers: firstly, to connect with people; secondly, to get my creative fix, so to speak; and thirdly, to represent British skateboarding in a fresh and unhackneyed way.

I looked out of the window, thinking about point three, and was reminded of something I’d once heard of Dame Vivienne Westwood saying in the early ’80s, once Punk had gone off the boil: that the most subversive thing a man could do, at that time, was wear a suit and tie. Well, I don’t know if those words rang true then –– I wasn’t alive yet –– but it struck me that they did in 2019. 

The rest, dear reader, is history.


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