Liberté, Égalité, Fatalité

Interview: Benjamin Deberdt

Née pour souffrir: born to suffer… Now, you wouldn’t look forward any of that, usually. Unless the slogan applies to our best friend/enemy, always stuck between sweaty skin and rugged shoes.
Yes, socks. Those that save us from many sticky situations, but always end up stinking up the car trunk, or worse, a whole apartment… Well, this was until now. Until Savate, a French –all the way to the last stitching– company just popped out of the combined brains of three of our most respected characters. Three skaters that you cannot have missed over the years, –even if you never rolled by the Cosa Nostra skatepark outside of Paris– as they have been exploring the whole world for spots for many years now… So, let’s end the introduction now, and get to the business of Savate Skateboarding Socks!

So, what is Savate supposed to be, exactly?
Mathias Thomer: We were toying with ideas to find a new way of expression, just like a board can give you. To be able to add our culture, our roots, and influences in a brand that would be part of skateboarding, but also make sense for others. All of this within a product designed for an intensive practice of skateboarding.
Stéphane Desjardin: It’s a great challenge, such a motivation. We have been wanting to do something for so long, but with no precise idea… Until the sock came up. And since we have nothing to loose, it was now or never!
Olivier Stepniewski: We wanted to do something apart from what we do already: skate, build obstacles, run a skatepark… We were looking for a way to express ourselves, and with socks, it was a fun way to reach out for skaters, by speaking to their feet.

I believe you have quite the team to represent Savate?
Mathias: Vincent Coupeau, Rémy Taveira, Sam Partaix, Guillaume Mocquin, Oscar Candon… Their styles show a strong personality, a really gut approach to skateboarding. They make you want to skate everything that happens to be in front of you. Plus they got that “French flair”, which makes them stand as Savate at first sight. We are really proud to be able to regroup that crew in one team.
Stéphane: We got people we like. We love these guys that can skate anything. Personally, this is exactly the type of skating I love. Plus they are really talented, and don’t just sit around. Our image seems to fit them, so it’s all for the best.
They are go-getters that skate fast and high. You can tell they are enjoying skating everything and everywhere, always with a good spirit. Therefore, we are very pleased to watch them skate, and have them on the team.

 Mathias Thomer

Vincent Coupeau, backside ollie. photo: Mathias Thomer

Seems like a good crew to take on the road!
Stéphane: They don’t have a home, anyway, they’re nomads!
Mathias: That would be a dream… full of spots. As soon as we can, we’ll hit the road.
Olivier: We’ll have to sell lot of socks to do that road trip…

I understand everything is made in France. Was that a conscious decision, or is it just easier?
Stéphane: Both, actually: quality and proximity.
Mathias: a choice made with the heart, and also for the “savoir-faire”. Made in France!
Olivier: 100% French, oui, monsieur! Quality for your feet!

 Benoit Renaux

Oscar Candon, backside tailslide. photo: Benoit Renaux

The whole imagery is quite French, also…
Stéphane: We had been joking around about moustaches and all that for a bit with the whole Tribe crew [the Chelles crew that is responsible for creating Cosa Nostra skatepark, amongst many things, Ed’s Note]… From there, France, moustache, savate… Convicts… Fatality… It turned into a whole language. So, why not run with it?
Mathias: Savate is a French boxing technique, using the feet, that is a hundred years old, that was developed in the milieu of gangsters, sailors, convicts, cops… That era also gave us Art Déco, the Roaring Twenties, the rising of popular culture, the urchin haircut for women, jazz, etc. The whole thing makes sense, and can be found in Savate’s imagery, and also in the team riders.
Olivier: It has an image of tough guys, those convicts from 1900… Guys that had it quite difficult, and would get tattooed with piss and coal in jail to never forget it: quite ballsy! Just like most skaters are, ballsy!

Let’s be frank: are socks some fetish of yours?
Stéphane: It must be… We could have done boards, or wheels, but for what reason? Those markets are saturated.
Olivier: Without your feet, you’re nothing. So, if you can cover them with stylish socks, you win. And it hasn’t been used too much in skateboarding, yet, and makes for a great way to have fun with the designs, the colors…
Mathias: Pure fetish, but affordable by everybody, with a functionality for skateboarding!

Consume French and tough, here!

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