You might associate adidas with fresh workout gear and a laid-back aesthetic—after all the label’s logo is modern, streamlined, and to the point. But Europe’s largest sportswear brand is also one of the leading international skateboarding companies. Founded in 1998, adidas Skateboarding’s global network of team riders includes artists and personalities like Mark Gonzales, Dennis Busenitz, and Na-Kel Smith.
To help launch adidas’s new summer skateboarding shoe, the 3MC, adidas Skateboarding selected creatives from New York City’s skate scene for a month-long wear test. Arming the skaters with a Polaroid camera and photo diary, adidas asked their team to keep track of their memories and document the wear test. Stops included New York, Barcelona, Paris, Pittsburgh, and Austin. To culminate the experience, the photos were presented in a group photo exhibition on view at Lower East Side bar, restaurant, and skater hangout The Flower Shop in mid-July.
Frankie Spears is a skater from New York who rides for the adidas AM team and takes pictures to document his daily grind.
Nestor Judkins is a skater for the adidas Global Pro team. He started traveling early on in life, which helped launch his career as a travel photographer.
Yaje Popson is a skater for the adidas AM team. After an injury, he returned to Brazil, his native country, where he went through a “spiritual healing,” before returning to New York to skate full time. Currently, he’s a New York-based artist and photographer.
Culture Trip (CT): How would you define your look?
Frankie Spears (FS): I would define my look as plain and simple. I enjoy black pants and basic T-shirts.
Nestor Judkins (NJ): My look is very simple: solid colors, dark chinos, and poker T-shirts or button-ups.
Yaje Popson (YP): I’m Brazilian and a New Yorker, which makes my look hard to define. This city [New York] is a melting pot for literally everything, infinitely inspired by the diversity of street culture. It’s constantly changing. Being human, we also carry every spectrum of emotion, so on any given day my look may change. Sometimes you want to be loud, other times invisible.
CT: Does your look change depending on where you travel? If so, how?
FS: My look doesn’t change much depending on where I travel. I usually pack the same clothes for trips.
NJ: My look hasn’t really changed at all in the last 15 years or so.
YP: It’s easy to walk around egoless when you are traveling, so I like to experiment on trips and make it fun with a new outfit every day, especially on road trips or international travels, which is probably the only time I am shopping.
CT: What is your favorite city?
FS: My favorite city has to be New York.
NJ: My favorite city is Berlin.
YP: I love New York City. It is home but I did just get back from Paris and I find it comparable.
CT: How has skate fashion evolved in your generation?
FS: Skate fashion in my generation has evolved to all the hottest trends people wear. Colored cargos are a huge no-no, though.
NJ: It’s constantly going through cyclical trends. Right now, I see it going back to the early 1990s, mimicking the era right before I started skating.
YP: Even if fashion tends to cycle back around and trends repeat themselves, I appreciate the blending of genres and how colorful [skate fashion] has become.
CT: What does it mean to be part of the adidas family?
FS: Being part of the adidas family is a huge deal and something I could never take for granted. I’m happy to be wearing three stripes for as long as I can.
NJ: I feel very lucky and proud to be part of a brand I care about and would wear even if I wasn’t sponsored by them and would buy myself.
YP: I feel blessed to be involved, definitely life goals. [I’m] grateful to skateboarding for giving me a second chance.
CT: What is the latest fashion find you copped?
FS: A Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and [vintage] adidas sweatshirt.
NJ: I’m into buying T-shirts from art museums with artists I like. I bought a Tarō Okamoto T-shirt in Tokyo a few months back.
YP: Private information.
CT: What was the most memorable experience of the 3MC wear test and photo project?
FS: Hanging with the homies, enjoying the day skating, and having fun.
NJ: It was a fun crew to work with. It felt really natural.
YP: I had a lot of fun shooting Polaroid in New York City and exercising my creative eye. [A highlight was] skating the 3MC in Barcelona and beaching it every day.
CT: What are your thoughts on the adidas 3MC?
FS: The adidas 3MC is a great looking sneaker that feels amazing and helps you skate better. A must cop!
NJ: The 3MC is my new favorite shoe. It’s the shoe I’ve been waiting for all these years.
YP: It’s the real all-purpose skate shoe. It slips on with no break-in needed and is ready to go.