One Short leg?


You ever seen a Hip Hop video, or a crew on the street walk with one trouser leg rolled up? Maybe you’ve even caught glimpses of David Beckham in the papers with one of his trouser legs half rolled up to the knee too? The more you look around the more you see it. Its subliminally right in front of so many peoples faces, I’m sure its seen as one daft fashion that only the super confident would dare to wear out.

i’m also certain most of these people have no-idea where this trend comes from. They might think they know, but I really doubt it. Why? well because it all started in about 1992 with skateboarders.

Skateboarding tricks exploded around that time with the invention of ‘switch’. This is the equivilent of riding the skateboard the wrong way round, and therefore multiplying the difficulty level massively. Think about if it all a sudden it became popular to write with your other hand? Then you’ll start to understand the level of technicality it brought to the ‘street sport’.

Well where does the trouser leg fit in you’re asking? It began to be used in competitions, because ‘old school’ skate judges had no idea what they were looking at when judging competitions… riders would show off a ‘switch’ trick and the judges wouldn’t notice and mark them accordingly (just as if the move was done the regular way). It didn’t take long for the skaters to realise that unless they made it obvious to everyone competing and judging them, that they were riding the other way round, then they were never going to get the points needed to win a competition.

This is where the trouser leg got introduced, and the simple ‘semi-rolled’ trouser leg played a huge part in giving the talented skaters the credibility they deserved. It was now obvious to everyone which way round the skaters were riding.

Street skaters naturally adopted this trend when practicing to show to friends and new skaters when they were riding ‘switch’ … and of course many skaters, just left the trouser leg rolled up all day and didn’t rolling it back down afterwards. Eventually it become a symbolic ‘skater’ look… and in turn fed into the high street and fashions surrounding hiphop and bboy scenes and also some extreme martial arts (tricking) and free running groups.

So it wasn’t some ‘gangster’ thing, or even a ‘catwalk experiment’ by some random Joe designer… nope, it was actually born from a practical necessity.

Simple really, once you think about it 🙂

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1 thought on “One Short leg?”

  1. Interesting you site “a Hip Hop video, or a crew on the street walk “. Back in the day, we would roll up one leg so that while riding our bikes, our pant leg wouldn’t get caught in the chain. Later this was seen as a status symbol in that only those that could afford bikes (or those that acquired them) were the ones with the leg rolled up.

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