(Journalism, Copywriting, Social Media Marketing & Strategy, Graphic Design)
In Winter 2021, revered skateboarding publication Thrasher Magazine collaborated on a clothing collection with Slam City Skates. As Slam City’s Editorial & Content Manager, I oversaw the project’s marketing which included a press release, creating and deploying assets across social media channels, and producing an exclusive interview with Thrasher editor-in-chief, Michael Burnett for Slam City’s blog.
The press release I wrote to mark the launch of the collection and accompany its online lookbook.
Words by Farran Golding / Photography by Slam City Skates
“From a downturn which saw the then-leading Skateboarder Magazine abandon ship, Thrasher Magazine debuted in 1981 – founded by Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello. Forty years later, having survived print publishing’s (digital) wilderness years, Thrasher now encompasses a unique cultural space as the seminal skate mag, a last bastion of monthly print, an online media empire and cult clothing brand.
Still operated from San Francisco, the city that gave way to the magazine has long occupied its pages. The first issue featured an ode to S.F.’s kerbs alone whereas over the years hills, bowls, DIY, handrails and the wider Californian landscape all became typical ‘Thrasher’ hallmarks. Spurred by Geoff Rowley’s appreciation, a European presence took root during Flip Skateboards’ Sorry era as Rowley won their ‘Skater Of The Year’ award in 2000. Arto Saari, his Finnish brother-in-arms, landed it in 2001 off the back of his definitive “would still be amazing if it was released today” video part.
Michael Burnett, current editor-in-chief, believes that period and the connection Rowley gave to his ilk, was integral in shaping Thrasher’s post-millennium incarnation. Fast forward, and the success of Tom Knox’s Vase part would launch Jacob Harris’ ‘Atlantic Drift’ series, drawing further eyes to the U.K. and instigating a shift of focus for Thrasher towards platforming scenes and crews outside of the United States.
“British skaters, I always thought of them as kindred spirits with Thrasher,” says Burnett. “Those I met early on were Howard Cooke, Geoff Rowley and Jagger [Dan Ball]. Tough, salt of the earth types, who appreciate what Thrasher appreciates – raw skating, taking great pride and joy in being a skater, and loving all the things that come with it. Traditional ‘thrashers’, basically.”
A staple London souvenir, the bulldog is a piece of British iconography which too encapsulates notions of toughness and resilience, yet one whose sterner connotations are offset by thoughts of friendly slobber and kitsch figurines of the creature finding a home on grandparent’s mantelpieces.
Drawing on Slam City’s musical heritage from our days above Rough Trade Records, the Thrasher X Slam City collection reconfigures the bulldog to pay tribute to skate videos of the early 1990s and one of our culture’s most celebrated musical contributors, Dinosaur Jr. The pet bulldog of frontman J Mascis takes pride of place on the cover of their 1991 compilation, ‘Whatever’s Cool With Me’ and the handwritten lettering accompanying Beefy’s image informed the typographic queues for our name and timestamp across the Thrasher X Slam City collection.”
Social media assets I created and deployed across Instagram and Twitter incorporating copy from the press release and the collection’s lookbook imagery.
(Tools: Adobe Photoshop & InDesign)
Online Content: Longform Interview — Michael Burnett talks Thrasher Magazine
An interview I conducted with Thrasher editor, Michael Burnett profiling his life, career and providing an exclusive insight of the magazine’s inner workings to accompany the Thrasher X Slam City collection.
(The following excerpt can be found in full at: blog.slamcity.com/michael-burnett-interview-thrasher)
In the summer of 1986, Michael Burnett walked into a record store and found former Misfits frontman, Glenn Danzig peering out from the cover of a magazine. Alongside it, skateboarder Jesse Martinez was stretched out in a Judo air against a clear blue sky, almost entirely out of context. At this point, Back To The Future had been Burnett’s only exposure to ‘documented’ skateboarding and his first sighting of skating in printed form was also an introduction to the publication he’d one day helm, Thrasher Magazine.
“When you’re at that age, the images resonate and they’re so mysterious and magical. Then you read ‘em and a lot of the magazine was like a secret code. You’re a kid, trying to figure out how everything within this world works,” says Burnett. “In that jump-ramp era, there was a lot of running with a board in hand and jumping into the air. You couldn’t tell that’s how the skater had got there, you thought there was some way you could fly on these things that you didn’t understand. I rode a skateboard for a year before I saw an ollie.”
Skate videos were sparse and despite print being his gateway, circulation wasn’t strong either. “It was trying to find little scraps here and there. I remember I bought a copy of Freestylin’ – a BMX magazine that Spike Jonze, Jeff Tremaine and Megan Baltimore worked on, just because it had three skate photos in it,” laughs Burnett. “Trying to figure out the names of tricks, skaters – it’s mesmerising. Similar to how somebody could get engrossed in comic books, Dungeons & Dragons or heavy metal. You see glimpses and want to put the puzzle together but with skateboarding you’re out, riding around too. You’re not just thinking about it, you’re actually doing it.”
Towards the end of high school, Burnett’s dad got a new job in Denver, Colorado and as the family moved, he relocated to the neighbouring Boulder for university. “Colorado was the most fantastic time of my life. I went from Texas, where all my friends had basically quit skating by the time they were able to drive, to having more skateboarding friends than friends I’d had in my entire life.”
Michael Burnett Interview — Social Posts & Assets
Social media posts to promote the interview with Michael Burnett. Deployed and across Instagram and Twitter, reformatted for each platform, and incorporating text and photography from the article.
(Tools: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop & Premiere Pro)
Asset #1: Instagram Carousel and Twitter Thread
Asset #2: Instagram Reel & Video Tweet
Asset #3: Instagram Carousel & Twitter Post (Personal)
Social Asset — Engagement Content
Copywriting for a social media competition to further promote the Thrasher X Slam City collection and highlight availability at Slam City’s Brick Lane retail store.