Articles on Palace
In a fast-paced world where there’s greater pressure and desperate desire to be an overnight success, there are brands like Palace that couldn’t care less. Social media is saturated by people aiming for the kind of hype Palace has gone up to in recent years, but the brand’s beginning wasn’t necessarily aimed towards becoming viral or becoming as big as they’ve become. It’s every bit as indie as the brand is today.
The skate crew Palace Wayward Boys Choir made videos of satirical reporting and commentary on the state of skateboarding back then in 2009 as a whim among friends. Filmed on the good ole’ phone camera and VHS camcorders, it featured the pros in the London skate scene against a backdrop of the city’s subcultures for context.
The mastermind: Lev Tanju. At the time, he realized that he was, in his own words, a bum after a decade of doing spontaneous and fun activities. He made sketches of board graphics, originally for his skater friends and roommates. From there, an idea is born to create a skate brand of his own. Palace is a sarcastic name for their apartments at the time, which they say are miles away and a complete opposite to the actual Palaces found in their homeland.
Places to Shop for Palace
Palace London Boutique
26 Brewer Street
London W1F 0SW
Contact: 020 7287 5048
Monday to Saturday: 11-7
Palace New York Boutique
49 Howard Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday to Saturday: 11-7
For the love of the UK skate scene
When you think of London, images of the London Eye or the Westminster Bridge comes to mind. You hardly think of the street culture in the south and the underground activities it’s associated with. The UK skate scene is not far from its complements across the Atlantic, from its origins in the West Coast and the edgier versions in the East Coast, but it has its own quirks that are particularly British.
Lev Tanju just wanted something that looked good and felt easy to skate with. The focus was to offer quality skating gear and at the same time, for the products to look English. There are brands from the US that capture the indie feel, but Palace wanted to show more of England’s side. He found a loophole in the business and filled the part. He offered skating gear that reflected London’s skating culture and offered it specifically for a British market when there was none.
The boards are reminiscent of ‘90s colors and graphics, which is nostalgic for those who experienced or grew up during the time and retro for the younger market.
Authenticity and family dynamic
There’s no formula to success where business is concerned, unless you count authenticity, which is no formula at all. It’s a natural attitude that comes from a place of innate passion and interest. You can say that’s what brought so much hype to the Palace brand.
This direct connection to the community brought a familial feeling between the team and the customers at the first instant and is what kept people coming back to it. Every customer that they’ve acquired is an organic reach in Internet terms.
Palace would see expansion not only in the obvious business aspect, but also in reaching out to people beyond the skating world. They’ve also attracted and has become associated to the rap and grime music scene in London.
Palace has done multiple collaborations since they started, and those had been a huge reason for growing their global audience. A few of the biggest names in the business they’ve collaborated with are Reebok, Adidas, and Umbro. Still, the reason for collaborating with those brands was more about their relation to the British subcultures more than their international reputation. In associating themselves with another brand, Palace commits to their ethos of bringing British subcultures under the spotlight.
Those collaborations also brought products that are different from their original skating boards but are still connected to the sport. The Reebok Workout Low was a pair of shoes that are easier to skate with than other options.
Other unconventional collaborations would be with the Tate Britain Gallery. According to Tanju, they were open to anything that upholds their brand ethos.
Celebrities got in on palace on their own
An impressive fact about how Palace is run is that seeding, or the act of gifting products to celebrities and influencers to promote their brand or instigate a hype, is almost never pursued by the brand.
Celebrities spotted with Palace’s products have found their way to discover the brand on their own. Some of the most well-known people to wear Palace are Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine, Rihanna, Jay-Z, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Virgil Abloh, and even Kanye West’s daughter, North West.
Palace stands by their principle: “we make things because we like them, not because we know they’ll sell.”