Starting out the New Year with a load of fresh new brands in the shop for your shopping pleasure, we bring you Poetic Collective - one of the most exciting brands from the wintery depths of Sweden.
What the F is a Poetic Collective?
While combining skateboarding and art is far from an NBD, Poetic Collective differentiates itself by drawing inspiration from art outside of skateboarding, rather than within it; taking input from art history, and referencing fine art within their graphics as opposed to producing 'Skateboarding Art'. Of course, Poetic Collective also draws inspiration from within skating, with founder, Tom Botwid, citing other European skate brands that helped open the door to the wider world - like Polar, Magenta, Isle, and Palace - as influences.
Poetic is currently distributed in the UK by the legends over at Workshop Distribution - who have been working tirelessly over the last few years to bring countless lesser-known skate brands to the UK market, including Studio, Killing Floor, Hoddle, and Hopps - and if they've got the backing of Workshop then you know they're not to be overlooked.
Like all of the greatest skate brands, Poetic Collective is centred around a close-knit group of friends who skate together, hang out together, and support each other. However, rather than sacrificing individuality in favour of the brand's identity, Poetic encouraged the team to focus on their own unique creative process when filming for their full-length video, 'Fluid', in order to convey their own identity through their footage, resulting in videos that are creative, unique and highly enjoyable.
As you'd expect from anything hailing from Sweden - the country which brought us IKEA and Polar Skate Co - Poetic Collective specialise in producing premium quality hard and soft goods, including some beautiful skateboard decks inspired by their love of fine art, tastefully minimalist caps and beanies, and a range of bangin' trousers that can rival Sweden's reigning overlords, Polar Skate Co. I mean, just look at the sag.
History of Poetic Collective
Founded by artist, skateboarder, and all-round creative, Tom Botwid, in Malmö, Sweden, Poetic Collective is inspired by Tom's love of art, drawing influences from the worlds of fine art, art history, poetry, and everything in between. The brand first began in 2013 and evolved organically from Tom skating and filming with his mates while making the odd bit of product, until around 2018 when the endeavour began to crystallise into a more tangible brand.
Following their first video, 'Labeled', in 2014, Poetic's next major offering was a full-length video split into three contrasting sections titled 'White Black Colour'. Released in 2015, the three sections - White, Black, and Colour - represent the different 'moods' captured in the video and the subsequent changes in pace that these 'moods' reflect, alongside visual effects to match their respective segment. Throughout the video we're treated to snippets of wisdom from leading Dadaist, Marcel Duchamp, which lends the video some serious intellectual vibes as well as grounding the video within the context of art history, one of the central tenets of Poetic's identity.
Rather than simply using skate videos to document the performance of tricks, Poetic's videos often explore an overarching concept or theme. Their video, 'Movements', shot in the museum of modern art in Malmö, is a particularly conceptual video which displaces skateboarding from its traditional urban setting and instead situates it within the immediate context of art, asking the questions: 'What happens if we strip away everything but the actual act of skateboarding? What happens if we put it in a space where we highlight the expression and movement as any other artform?'. Likewise, their collaborative video with Levi's Skateboarding from 2018, 'On Land', captures the start of the Scandinavian spring in Stockholm, with the sun still hanging low in the sky and the gloomy techno helping reflect the lingering chill of winter.
It's not all about arty and intellectual concepts mind, Poetic Collective have released their fair share of more traditional skate videos and tour edits. The Poetic gang have taken their unique brand of street skating to a number of top-tier European destinations, including Marseille, Paris, and Budapest, resulting in extremely enjoyable videos which make a nice change from their usual Scandinavian setting.
More recently, Poetic Collective released their third full-length video, 'Fluid', featuring full parts from the whole team, including Samuel Norgren, Helena Long, and Simon Kallkvist, which you can check out near the top of this post. Finally, 2021 saw the release of their most recent video, 'Abstract', which returned to their usual montage format featuring clips from the whole crew in a number of locations including Scandinavian, Spain, France, and beyond. While some of Poetic's earlier videos were more concept-driven, these last few offerings veer more towards traditional skate videos, albeit with distinctly Poetic visuals, and arguably feel more polished in their execution as the brand has matured. From watching these videos alone it's clear to see how the brand, and its team, have evolved over time into a truly unique company that seems more than likely to continue on its upwards trajectory.
I've had to gloss over some of Poetic's history, given their intimidatingly large library of videos, so if you're hungry for more Poetic content then be sure to check out their other videos like 'MNMLSM', 'With Love', and their various tour videos. They've also just announced they've got another new full-length, 'Clouds', coming soon so keep your eyes peeled!
Poetic Collective Skateboard Team
Alongside art, diversity is another central tenet of Poetic's identity which is strongly reflected in the brand's distinctive team, both through the broad variety of styles represented, and the strong mixture of male and female legends. While the team, for the most part, is definitely on the trendier side of things, the team still features a solid mix of styles from more traditional street skating, like Johan Bergljung, to full on new-wave trend, like Samuel Norgren, and even a mixture of both, like Simon Kallkvist, which keeps their video offerings fresh and exciting throughout.
While many skate brands have been slow to adapt to the growing female skate scene, often only sponsoring one, if any, female skaters, Poetic have long featured legendary womxn in their lineup, including Sarah Meurle (who has since gone her separate ways), Josie Lori, Helena Long, and several up-and-comers from Scandinavia. According to an interview with Poetic founder, Tom Botwid, the brand aims to foster equality and inclusivity in skating, stating that 'skateboarding is about being together, and that ideally age and gender shouldn’t matter', which is why the company puts such an emphasis on shining a light on talented female skaters and attempting to place them on an equal footing with the rest of the team.
The full Poetic Collective team consists of Samuel Norgren, Simon Kallkvist, Santiago Sasson, Mira Axelsson, Helena Long, Moa Zander, Johanna Juzelius, Peter Johansson, Klas Andersson, Johan Bergljung, Josie Lori, Tom Botwid, and more.
Poetic Collective Products
As you've probably already figured out by now, Poetic Collective's range of skateboard decks and clothing draws heavy inspiration from the world of art, with many of their graphics looking like they belong in the Tate Modern rather than getting scratched up on the bottom of a skateboard - but I guess some people would probably argue that's also art in its own way. Poetic have dabbled in numerous artistic aesthetics throughout their various runs of skateboard decks including collages, minimalism, and, most recently, maximalism.
While their decks belong in a museum, their impeccable range of trousers deserve to be worshipped in a temple. It's safe to say the trou game is pretty competitive right now with skate brands like Butter and Polar battling it out with workwear favourites, Dickies and Carhartt, making it hard for new brands to enter into the fray without immediately being dismissed. Despite this, Poetic seem intent on disrupting this oligopoly with their unique line of premium skate pants which places heavy emphasis on practical design and timeless aesthetics, resulting in them frequently being requested on @whatpantsarethose.
One of the best features of their trousers is the elasticated waistbands, a rarely seen blessing among work pants, which helps provide the perfect fit without having to rely on a shoelace for a belt. With a number of different styles on offer, including the 'Painter' pant with its iconic squared pockets and the double knee 'Sculptor' pant, in a range of different materials - from a standard durable canvas work pant to classic denim, and even corduroy - Poetic Collective have trou to suit any occasion and they're guaranteed to have everyone at the spot experiencing serious trouser envy. Even trouser enthusiast Didrik 'Deedz' Galasso has been sighted sporting Poetic trou in his new part, so you know they're some of the best trousers in the game right now.
That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop now to check out the full range of Poetic Collective skateboard decks and trousers and buy now from CSC, or head to the blog to check out some of our other new brands. Safe.