At age 30, one wouldn't expect professional skateboarder Alex Olson to have his own fashion label, but Olson has thrived off the unexpected. As the son of skateboard pioneer Steve Olson, he started skating at an early age and became the first second-generation professional skateboarder when he signed with the prestigious Girl Skateboards in 2005. Becoming disillusioned with the rigid structure of the current skateboarding industry and the stifling culture of L.A., Olson moved to New York where he had a quarter-life crisis, realizing he needed to find a life beyond skateboarding. With his natural good looks and sense of style, he found himself moving from the covers of Skateboarder and Thrasher to fashion editorials, including the likes of Purple Magazine alongside fellow New Yorker and cultural savant Chloe Sevigny. Olson also found himself behind the camera more and more after he started documenting the skateboard scene around him at the age of 21. Pursuing outside interests, he subsequently left Girl and began working on what would become his unisex fashion label Bianca Chandôn in 2013, the name coming from his middle name Chandon—after the French race car driver Olivier Chandon—and Bianca Jagger; two cultural icons of the era the brand is tied to, and both former patrons of Studio 54. Looking back to the freedom, subversion and violent electricity inherent in early skateboard culture, Olson saw that the current industry needed to be shaken up and reminded of its roots. With his father largely responsible for bringing together punk music and skateboarding, Olson found his inspiration in the the LGBTQ communities of the late '70s and early '80s, looking to house music pioneer DJ Larry Levan's decade-long residency at Paradise Garage and Tom Bianchi's polaroids of Fire Island's gay community at that time. While skateboarding has always had an air of inclusivity, Olson found this as an opportunity to push the industry out of its comfort zone and openly connect it with the LGBTQ community. For one series of skate decks, Olson donated proceeds to an advocacy group for LGBTQ youth. To tie in the fashion industry, Olson had Viktor Vauthier photograph female models, rather than skateboarders, in the clothing as part of an ongoing lookbook released through the brand's Instagram. The brand has since been embraced by patrons of both the fashion and skateboarding industries, having been worn by the likes of Virgil Abloh, A$AP Rocky and Frank Ocean. Last year, Olson launched Call Me 917 to operate as a traditional skateboarding brand, allowing him to stock merchandise in skate shops, sponsor a new team of riders, and give back to the industry that gave him his start.

Tags: bianca-chandon