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On International Go Skateboarding Day last month, about 120 skaters from all over the country assembled at the Play Arena Skate Park, in Bangalore. With loud music blaring in the background, these amateur, semi-pro and pro skaters had the time of their lives, skating together and vying for top honours in a range of competitions as well. Looking over that skate park is the cradle of the creative souls, who are playing an indisputable role in the rise of skateboarding as legit shit in India.
Image credit: Haul Apparel India
Image credit: Haul Apparel India
Meet Haul Apparel India. Meet Shovit and Sohan, two ink crazy entrepreneurs, or should I say skateboarders, who are doing their bit to take the counter culture scene in South Asia to the next level. As Sohan says, “Haul was founded with an intention to support and nurture the growing subcultures found in Nepal & India. These include a variety of different activities – ranging from Skateboarding, Surfing, Mountain Biking, Music & Art.”
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Image credit: Haul Apparel India
The madness of counter culture lies in its cohesive brotherhood, and space for individual voices. When we talk of tattooing, skateboarding, surfing or music as different sub cultures within the counter culture, we need to realise that, “Each one of these is unique as they embody different styles and tastes and form a diverse society. The fact that these subcultures accept different styles within them, allow people to develop their own way of feeling comfortable in each society.” Sohan further adds, “This is the basis of how we decide on the styling and design of our apparel. As tastes develop so do our products.”
Image credit: Haul Apparel India
Image credit: Haul Apparel India
Haul’s clothing is exclusively based on western Street Wear style as it represents the urban nature of the things they love. As the look and the style is Western, they aim to merge it with Indian/ Nepalese culture influenced prints. “India is such a beautiful country with so much rich heritage and culture, we often do not appreciate what we see around us. The traditional culture has so much to offer, so we represent it in our Non-Traditional way.”
Image credit: Haul Apparel India
Both Shovit and Sohan were brought up and raised outside of India and Nepal, where they were able to experience the skate culture first hand. Skateboarding as teens, they developed a respect and knowledge of the styles associated with the sport outside India. “However, we both realized that these kind of styles are not present in the Indian Market. With India having such a huge population, we began to see the huge potential for creating something here.”
Image credit: Haul Apparel India
Shovit was raised in Hong Kong where he was introduced to the skate culture at the age of 13. Five years later, he was still going strong. Hanging and skating with friends really build long lasting friendships and a respect for what skateboarding can do for you as an individual. Coming to India, he saw that even though the level of skateboarding was at a very early stage he could feel the same vibes between the skaters here. One of the first skaters Shovit met here was Gautham “Happy” Kamath. He was a corporate worker, who fell in love with skateboarding and walked out in middle of a meeting to become a full fledged skate rat. Meeting people like Gautham and hearing their stories played a huge part in his decision to support these kind of athletes.
Sohan, on the other hand was born and raised in Dubai where he learned on his own for about 2 years, until he met a group of guys from his school who loved it as much as he did. “As close as we were, and as much as we skated, in Dubai we never felt that skateboarding was a culture, but more like an activity to do together. I never got to experience what Shovit did during my teen years skateboarding.”
Image Credit: Haul Apparel India
“After college I moved to India, I didn’t know the language or the culture so I was very intimidated. The only thing I could relate to here was skateboarding. When I first started skating here, everyone was super chilled and welcoming and really made me feel at home. I was very worried that I would not be able to adapt to life here but skateboarding really eased the transition. Because of what skateboarding and other subcultures in India did for me, makes me want to give something back in any way I can.”
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