Streetwear with a femme twist, Proper Gnar was launched by Latosha Stone, a skateboarder who turned her frustrations with the lack of gear designed for girls into a clothing line. We’re stoked to showcase our first skate slut, who gave us a glimpse into her style inspo, sexism in the scene, and what’s next for her brand.
How did you get your start skating? Did you have a crew you ran with or was it a solitary activity?
It started with the neighbor boys and I. The first thing I ever skated was this super old, bright orange penny board. Where I’m from, we didn’t have a skate park for the longest time, so you didn’t meet other skaters unless it was through someone else or there were the street skaters you’d see randomly rolling by.
When did you first notice that there was a lack of femme-centric streetwear? How did that feed into you starting Proper Gnar?
I’ve been buying dude shirts and sewing them tighter since high school. Their shirts always seemed to have the cooler designs. When it comes to Proper Gnar, I try to create rad graphics but also on shirts that fit how I want them to fit. When I started it, I didn’t know of any brands ran by females or that supported chicks in skating, and even today there aren’t that many.
Who are your style icons and how do they inform your designs?
I’ve loved Gwen Stefani and the Spice Girls since I was a kid, I think you can see it in the way I style. I also love Tokyo Fashion so that also has a bit of an influence.
How do you think the skating world has changed since you got involved as a kid?
It’s become way more popular. Growing up, it was kind of like the outcast kid thing to do. Now you see people from all walks of life on boards. You see videos of kids that are 5 years old and better than you. It’s also become more of a fashion thing. People that don’t even skate wear Thrasher tees. There’s brands like Supreme and Palace, who do amazing jobs at merging fashion and skating. I saw Kylie Jenner in a Palace jacket the other day and was like whaaaaaaat….
Is it more gender inclusive or is there still a level of sexism?
Girls are more accepted nowadays but there’s still lots of sexism. People assume that you can’t even really skate, and if you can, you get, “Oh, you’re good, for a girl.” Or they think you’re just doing it to get dudes. If you’re doing better than a guy on a trick at the park, it’s “but she can do it, and she’s a girl.” Nyjah Huston, one of the biggest skaters right now, said skateboarding isn’t for girls at all. Lacey Baker, one of the best skaters I’ve ever seen, was just talking about how even though she’s had all these parts in videos and even placed in Street League (a skate competition by Rob Dyrdek), she hasn’t gotten paid from her sponsors and actually makes a living being a graphic designer. You would think that girls who are succeeding at it would be making the same as the guys are, but they’re not. Most of the skate companies and magazines are run by dudes. There’s also the guys that can’t leave a comment on the team rider videos I post without referring to the way they look. It’s just like…these girls don’t care about what you think about their ass. They’re skating, they’re having fun.
If your brand had a soundtrack what would it be?
This is probably the hardest question in this whole interview!
What’s next for Proper Gnar?
Right now I just sell online and at festivals, but I’d love to open my own shop. I’d want to be more than just a shop though, my dream is to have a shop/ art gallery/ indoor skatepark/music space all in one. I already sponsor some talented skaters, but I’d like to start a non-profit to help out inner city kids learn to skate and get the gear they need. I’m currently working on a fundraiser for Flint, Michigan, too. I’ve been looking for ways to use the brand to help people.
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