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Unlocking our Skate Spirit at Chopova Lowena SS24  

18 September 2023

Of the five minutes I ever spent on a skateboard I remember feeling fear. I wasn’t prepared to ride along the cul-de-sac, hit a dip in the concrete and fall. I didn’t have the strength to tumble and tear a hole in my skinny jeans. My idea of skateboarding was evidently naïve for it overlooked the indomitable spirit with which it takes a rider to climb their board and disembark from earth’s floor. If this spirit were to take physical form, what would it resemble?  Perhaps it would be wearing fishnet socks that artfully ruffle before the knee, or a black Georgian petticoat with pockets and gothic clasps, or hand-embroidered anglaise dresses. It might embody a punk aesthetic, securing its green and red tartan full-body skirt to matching tartan pants with safety pins. Perhaps its hair would be intricately braided, interwoven with shiny ribbons.

It could be cloaked in shades of red—a vibrant crimson with hints of orange and yellow—or deep shades of white and black. I envision the spirit as fluid, soaking with ease. I imagine it being cheeky, kind of frivolous, maybe sexy, always standing at the mark, ready to set and go. There’s a slightly whimsical quality to it, as it embraces the peculiarities of dragons and nymphs, mermaids and elves, devils and sea ladies alike. I suspect the spirit leaves a lasting impression with its beauty and style, captivating the hearts and souls of those intrigued. Clad in Chopova Lowena, it comes alive, breathing easily.

Amid a period of economic gloom, this spirit served as a guiding light for British designers Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena-Irons. In a manner akin to 2023, Chopova drew upon her memories of Bulgaria and New Jersey, while Lowena-Irons recalled her experiences in Somerset, where she spent her formative years. For their Spring/Summer collection, however, the spirit kept them away from London’s grim Brexit-ridden streets and led them to the Cornish Flora Festival, a day-long event in the village of Helston where they found their muses. Their journey resulted in forty-two striking looks showcased at a skate park beneath the Westway, signalling a deepening of their creativity. With fearlessness, they embraced the path ahead, ready to stumble and rise again.

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Grit. The word was chosen because it has multiple meanings: the fine, stony texture of earth or sand; the firmness of character; the clamping of objects together; a person’s courage and tenacity. It’s also an idea that is integral to the making of a magazine, for it takes a lot of perseverance and passion to create these 176 pages. It takes a lot of work.

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