Recently on our podcast we were discussing the impact skateboarding has had on mainstream culture. While discussing this topic it really became apparent that this is a reoccurring theme in the west. Things that were once considered subculture, or fringe culture become more widely accepted. Like it’s uncool until it’s not anymore. At first there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it, but like all things human it’s not all that simple. I think it stems from the need for youth culture to rebel, but wanting to belong. That youthful dichotomy is what draws youth to nostalgic forms of rebellion, and therefore big business begins capitalizing on the interest of the youth. Then the marketable becomes the norm. Well that’s one theory.
The other theory is from a marketing/design standpoint. Basically the theory is that these ideas are rehashed because of cost, and ease to recreate. I mean its usually easier to imitate than to try to create something new. Isn’t it? Well again it’s not that simple. The idea in mainstream culture is to ride that edge of what’s safe vs what is dangerous. Often the familiar doesn’t seem as risky as a untested idea. Either way this opportunity to create legacy is often understated in the underground. I don’t think it’s realized what the impact an underground movement can have. We are too busy carving our own paths and living our lives to worry about impacts.
Therein lies the beauty of subcultures. The innate need to stand out but yet belong. The beauty in the struggle to find ones voice often unknowingly creates some of the most powerful cultural movements. Those movements have the relatability and staying power to be a part of the mainstream for generations. The beauty of struggling through life’s adversities is the impact we have on society while persevering. The power of the individual inspite of the odds. They cannot deny the underground influence.