Rest In Peace- My Favorite Hoodie


I used to have an almost unhealthy obsession with Deathwish. In fact, had I not been in college when I first developed an affection for the brand, I likely would have devoted most of my creative energy to becoming the kind of fanboy you typically see in a Deathwish tour video—the person who gets into grappling matches during a product toss and then has his favorite pro autograph his forehead –you know, the guy everyone just loves to talk shit about.

I became in-the-know to Deathwish around mid-2010, after another unfulfilling experience with a skateboard which just didn’t feel right. After reflecting on my displeasures, I took my board size into account, and then made the choice to move up from an 8.25 to an 8.5. Of every board I could have bought, I decided on a Deathwish because it was the only board 32.5 inches long. In my mind, an 8.5 was best paired with a length of 32.5 or greater. It just made sense, and I still don’t like riding anything shorter. Anyways, it was a team board which had mini, multicolored Deathwish logos spiraling around a much larger and centered logo. While the graphic wasn’t quite my style, everything else about it was perfect: the symmetry, the concave, the amount of space between the outer bolts and dip of nose and tail, and above all, the construction. I consider my style to be more heavy-footed, yet my Deathwish responded quickly and kept its shape and pop until I eventually bought a new board, for no reason other than wanting something new. That Deathwish had convinced me enough to not only continue riding 8.5s, but to also continue riding Deathwish.

You see, what I perhaps value most when I make a purchase, whether it be skate-related or not, is having my standards for consistency and quality met. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than finding a skate product you love, only to buy it again and have it be a piece of shit. That never happened with any Deathwish I ever bought. Ever. End of story. But not really, because I can no longer buy their boards.

I still like Deathwish. Their team is great, the Deathwish Video was solid, their art direction is strong and their overall image and branding has been consistent since day one. The problem is that as of 2013, they stopped making my size. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ve been mad ever since; just a bit upset.

I couldn’t think of a better way to start writing what I really mean to say, which is that my hoodie of all time, a Deathwish “Gang Fingers” zip-up, no longer zips up. I have tried with every ounce of my patience and will to get its cheap metal teeth to connect, but my efforts are unsuccessful. My history with this hoodie begins seven years ago, when I bought it off the clearance section of a now-defunct online store for $20. The moment I removed it from its clear plastic bag is the moment it became my favorite. How could it not be? The graphic is so badass it makes me sick. More importantly though is that it makes me feel like a badass when I wear it, especially when I have the hood up. I’ve worn this hoodie to work, to school, to family functions, in my bed when I watched the Deathwish video for the first time, to likely hundreds of skate sessions in both hot and cold weather, and even now as I write these words.

It didn’t matter that the zipper had turned yellow from sweat, that it started getting small holes in the elbows, or even that it thinned out enough to no longer keep me warm. As a small child clings to a blanket for comfort, I turned to this hoodie for all the same emotions. I don’t skate nearly as often as I once did, or as much as I should, but this hoodie preserves the sentiment and attitude of growing up as a skater. I fear that if I were to replace the zipper, I’d be tampering with the emotional connection to skateboarding that is slipping further and further out of my reach. If I sound dramatic, it’s because I am a very dramatic person.

Whether I wear it at the gym or to the grocery store, this reminds me of an intense love I still hold on to and long to feel more frequently.

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