Alfonso Rawls EverybodySkates Awesome Totally Awesome

SHINE: ATA’s INTERVIEW WITH SKATEBOARDING ICON ALPHONSO “ALF” RAWLS ON SKATING, HIS STREETWEAR COMPANY #EVERYBODY SKATES, AND HIS ART

Our latest Shine subject is Alfonso “ALF” Rawls.  ALF is a skateboarding legend and really good soul who can still rip everything with freaky styley style.

Check out his recent skate video below showing his iconic skating throughout the years and connecting it to his philosophy and vision behind his lit clothing company, #EVERYBODYSKATES.

Alf also has a tremendous heart.

Check this Berrics video showing him skate like a stylish beast, while also making a legend out of cool kid he met at his local skatepark.

While #EVERYBODYSKATES is an iconic underground brand, it is one of the select few brands that Supreme in Los Angeles sold other than Supreme.  That alone speaks volumes.

Moreover, celebrities like Joe Rogan routinely cop and flaunt their limited #EVERYBODYSKATES shirts.

Alfonso Rawls EverybodySkates Awesome Totally Awesome

Check out his IG @EVERYBODYSKATES and you’ll understand why we here at ATA cop almost every limited drop ALF releases through #EVERYBODYSKATES and why we featured the brand twice in our Grails photoshoot.  Everything he creates is hype-worthy.

We recently caught up with Alf and asked him about everything going on in his life from his continued iconic skating to his awesome yarn art (That’s right–yarn art).

ATA: You’re pretty much skateboard royalty.  You’re known for ruling and styling at everything: street, mini, vert, any transition. Your H Street “Next Generation” part still stokes out kids today?  What are you most proud of regarding your contributions to skateboarding?

ALF: I don’t know what I’ve contributed to skateboarding but I’m appreciative that people recognize me as a skateboarder that is able to skate everything and not limited to any one discipline.

ATA: I saw your Everybody Skates promo video from a few years back, and you still rule.  Skateboarding is obviously a necessary outlet for you even after all these years, what makes it so?

ALF: I’m still driven by the creative aspects of skateboarding and enjoy setting small goals and achieving them. I also like doing tricks that may not be expected of me

ATA: Are there any tricks you are currently working on?

ALF: I have a long list of tricks on my phone notes of trick ideas for various obstacles that keep me inspired …I was working on frontside 270 to frontside noseslides on a little quarter pipe at the park the other day, not sure if I will get around to doing it but I dabble with a few tricks every session to see what feels right and start working towards it.

ATA: It seems like you are always learning and pushing forward—taking chances. What is it about you that has made you adapt excellence into a variety of different mediums?

ALF: Creative curiosity, exploring boundaries and possibilities.

ATA: How did you get into stitching and yarn work?

ALF: I was tasked with creating a trade show booth for our first trade show and wanted to showcase something that represented my brand, @everybodyskates , which is known for our unique embroidery designs so I came up with the idea to create an enlarged version of our embroideries and came up with the idea to stitch yarn through a framed canvas. I created 5 pieces (2ft X 2ft) and presented them at the trade show and it seemed to spark a lot of interest. I will be working on more and hope to have future art shows.

ATA: Your Thrasher x Michael Jackson stitched piece is incredible.  I’ve never seen anything like that before.  Sounds weird to say but putting out yarn art is really fucking ballsy.  What was it that made you think you could pull that off?

ALF: I never looked at it as ballsy really, I just thought it was a perfect interpretation of my brand which in turn is an interpretation of me and my sensibilities. There was no reference point for me when I began creating these pieces.

ATA: Are you working on any other yarn pieces at the moment?

ALF: I have a couple small ones that I’ve been chipping away at when I have the time …just haven’t had much time lately.

ATA: Do you have any art exhibits planned?

ALF: Not at the moment

ATA: How did #EVERYBODYSKATES start?

ALF: #EVERYBODYSKATES Started on Instagram with me creating photoshopped images of pop culture icons riding skateboards and posting them for “shits and giggles”. They caught on quick through my audience who began sharing them which helped to grow an audience that began requesting t-shirts with the images I was creating… hesitant at first but as the buzz got louder I obliged with a small run to supply the internet demand.  Shortly after I made that run Supreme in LA expressed interest in carrying my shirts …when that happened I knew I had something worth perusing.

ATA: I’m sure you realize it and have been told the same, but you have captured dope, rad, sick, fresh, legit, lit, fire, and of course #ATA with many of your Everybody Skates designs.  I’ve been obsessive with T-shirts and kicks since the nineties, and I don’t think there is any company out there (Supreme included) past or present, that hits it out of the park as consistently as #EVERYBODYSKATES.  Anytime I wear Bawse (Rick Ross), Smith Grind, Bruce Lee, or Blunt Slide I can be sure to have someone comment, “Where’d you get that?”  I saw my attorney the other day and was wearing Smith Grind, and he was all, “What a great shirt.”  I’ve known the guy for fifteen years, and he has no interest in fashion whatsoever, but somehow your shirt moved him, to the point where it mattered, even for a second.  How much work and detail goes into each of your shirts?

ALF: To tell you the truth up until recently I didn’t spend too much time on them I really just threw them together.. some of the photoshopped ones are a low resolution because I’m at the mercy of the image quality I am able to obtain.  I’ve been drawing them lately and it allows me to create my ideas more freely the drawing takes a bit more time but has been more gratifying.

ATA: How do you know when a shirt is ALF approved?

ALF: I mainly draw from subjects that are familiar with or grew up to.  I’m very inspired by 80s and 90’s popular culture icons, ones who have stood the test of time …or even some random ones that most people may not be familiar with as a nod to the people who get it …But sometimes a person’s facial expression that “makes” the edit… That’s why it’s been awesome drawing them because I have more creative freedom with the details.

ATA: How do you decide, what situation or trick to put each of your subjects into?

ALF: Its too easy to just crop someones head off of their body and put them on a skateboarder… I like finding images where a person’s body language speaks to me …as a skateboarder I can usually identify several scenarios for an image.  I’ve had folders of images that I’ve set aside and I start pairing up variations that I think will work.  I usually come up with several variations of each design.

ATA: Do you plan on bringing back (from time to time) any of your past designs for a limited run? (My Bawse Rick Ross shirt is finally starting to wear out)

ALF: Yes, I’ll do limited re-releases from time to time.

ATA: What are your favorite Everybody Skates designs?

ALF: It’s hard to say… #EVERYBODYSKATES’S creative language has consisted of photoshop edits, embroidery art, and hand drawn Illustrations which is all a slightly different execution of my idea but I think some of the most recent had drawn ones are like the “Hearts and Hammers” or the one I did as a parody to Obamas national portrait.

ATA: How difficult was it for you to transition from pro-skater to designer?

ALF: I never had to transition, I’ve been involved in the creative process of most of the brands I rode for since my H_STREET days. I’ve designed everything from ads, apparel, footwear, graphics etc between then and now.

ATA: How long have you been designing shoes?

ALF: I’ve been designing and developing footwear for over 20 years now. I’ve worked with over 20 brands and have created over 100 manufactured shoe styles.

ATA: How did that start?

ALF: I was approached in 1996 by an upstart footwear brand that wanted to give me a signature shoe and allow me to design it.  I agreed and during the creative process of designing my shoe I knew it was something I wanted to continue doing after skateboarding.

ATA: What are some of your favorite shoe designs?

ALF: I had an awesome time working with the guys at Gravis and favored a lot of the shoes that came out of that process… I designed Dylan Rieder a loafer that I really liked a lot.

ATA: I understand that you designed the Stevie Williams shoes.  I had the Stevie Williams in wheat and was one of my all-time favorites.  There was no skate shoe like it.  Did the Jordan 12 have any inspiration in that design?

ALF: Yes, Most of Stevie’s shoes at the time were inspired by Jordan’s.

ATA: How did you go about designing that shoe?

ALF: The Design brief for the Stevie shoe I design called for a basketball-inspired design but due to the time restraints on that project, the design would utilize the bottom part of his prior pro model. I drew and presented several ideas and the one that came out was the one selected by the committee.

ATA: Are you still designing shoes?

ALF: Yes, I’m working on several projects for a new client, details are under wraps at the moment.

ATA: What is your opinion on the state of streetwear today?

ALF: I think it’s interesting to see 90’s fashion come back… Its rad to see kids wearing the same clothes I cringe at in old photos of myself.

ATA: What is your opinion on the state of kicks today?

ALF: For me I’ve always appreciated shoes with midsoles especially as I get older …I cant see how some of these guys are doing what they do in vulcanized shoes.

ATA: What music or artists are influencing you now?

ALF: To be honest, I’ve just stuck to the same stuff I’ve been listening to since the 90’s. I’ve always had an eclectic taste in music that ranged from punk-rock, r&b, hip-hop to ska and everything in between.  If I had to pick one person who has remained a consistent favorite I’d have to say, Bob Marley.

ATA: Who inspires you?

ALF : Family

ATA: What do you hope to be doing in five years?

ALF: More fine art.

ATA: What is the future of #EverybodySkates?

ALF: Expand and produce more content

ATA: Any big news for Everybody Skates coming up?

ALF: You’ll have to stay tuned!

ATA: How can our readers follow you and purchase Everybody Skates?

ALF: You can check us out on Facebook and Instagram @everybodyskates and online at www.everybodyskates.com

Alfonso Rawls EverybodySkates Awesome Totally Awesome
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