Brand New Pairs of Roller Skates

Like many hobbies, participation in roller skating rose during the pandemic—about 12 million people in the U.S. partake in the sport—but in this case the resurgence began even before the lockdowns hit, in the late 2010s. The growth was fueled at least in part by nostalgia for both inline skating and, in particular, the four-wheeled quad skates. The latter have become something of a fashion accessory, available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and materials, both from sporting goods companies such as Riedell and a number of specialist skate marketers that put fashion at the forefront.

With fashion comes collaborations. Properties from characters (Hello Kitty and Care Bears), to influencers (Marawa Ibrahim), to artists (Hattie Stewart) have all paired with quad skate brands. A number of fashion labels have also been extending their IP into this category, some for short-term capsule collaborations, a few for longer-term licensing deals, and some through in-house programs.

Among several examples coming to light in 2021 and especially 2022:

  • Authentic Brands Group paired with Yoki Fashion to create a collection of Lucky Brand women’s, men’s, and children’s roller skates, available at North American specialty retailers and online, including on Yoki’s Cosmic Skates and the Lucky Brand e-commerce sites. The styles feature floral prints, washed denims, and bold logos consistent with the brand’s look. The Cosmic Skates brand was founded in 2020 to capitalize on the popularity of the product and offer throwback styles from the 1970s through 1990s.
  • Bottega Veneta launched a line of Quilt roller skates that are firmly on the luxury end of the scale with a price of $2,100 per pair. The launch of the skates, offered in grass, cobalt, and sea salt hues, was part of the label’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection. The skates’ design incorporated uppers of premium lambskin, terry cloth linings, logoed leather insoles, and a webbed heel tab, and were inspired by a pair of shoes that debuted the same season.
  • Footwear label Steve Madden, which has expanded over the years into handbags, accessories, and apparel, is offering a limited-edition collection of SK8R roller skates that come in five colorways: iridescent, pink suede, cow print, black glitter, and rhinestone.
  • Jessica Simpson, the singer/reality star-become-fashion brand, expanded her footwear line (manufactured by licensee Camuto) with a new range of Rollstar roller skates as part of her signature apparel and lifestyle brand. The five retro offerings in the collection, which include two sequined models, a shiny rainbow version, and a leopard print in two different colors, all feature clear, light-up wheels. The product is a nod to Simpson’s 2006 “A Public Affair” music video, which was set in a roller rink.

Some designers were ahead of the curve, entering into roller skate pairings prior to the most recent burst of collaboration activity. Cynthia Rowley, for example, partnered with Impala for a limited-edition floral style back in 2019, when the resurgence in interest was in its earlier days.

Meanwhile, roller skate brands have also been known to extend their own IP into lifestyle apparel collections. Moxi Skate (which was founded by pro skater Michelle Steilen a.k.a. Estro Jen, with Riedell serving as manufacturer) collaborated with retailer Forever 21 last year for a limited capsule collection of retro bathing suits, crop tops, crew socks, fanny packs, and high-waisted shorts, among other items.

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