The Duct Tape Years


Scott Nelson is a longtime friend of Brendon’s and an originator in the skatewear/streetwear scene. The two first met in Miami in 1990, via their involvement with Pervert and Don Busweiler’s clothing store, Animal Farm, and eventually worked together (along with Acapulco Gold’s Geoff Heath) on Scott’s brand, MANKIND. In 1994, MANKIND became the first streetwear label to make an entire collection in Italy, presaging the contemporary elevation of the genre by twenty or so years. Scott went on to launch a second iconic brand, MIKE, at New York sneakerhead haven Clientele in 2006, which rocketed to worldwide fame via the explosion of interest in streetwear facilitated by an evolving Internet. This sudden global visibility brought corporate scrutiny to what would have formerly been a niche market of savvy skaters, and threats of litigation from both Nike and New Era effectively shut down his operation. Scott has since become the Senior Designer of Apparel at BRANDBLACK, but his studio is full of artifacts from his long career.
Scott grew up skateboarding in Orlando, and had his own vert ramp from from 1983 to 1993, which became his passport to the skate scene in central Florida during a special time in the sport’s history. With skateparks closing in rapid succession and popular culture moving on to other fads, skateboarding was pushed into a backyard underground. Kids would come from miles around to skate Scott’s ramp, which led to him traveling to skate theirs, as well as finding out about spots, bands, and the fervent, DIY skate community exemplified by the tone of Thrasher Magazine in those years. Skate and Destroy wasn’t just a slogan, it was a command skaters took to heart. Everyone had to do their part to keep the sport alive, and the more looked-down-upon they were, the better.
The Duct Tape Years is Scott’s tribute to those times of struggle and dedication in skateboarding, and the camaraderie and authenticity they bred. Contests and concerts were held at people’s houses. Kids made t-shirts and stickers with one-color graphics because it was cheaper. Visiting a new city meant finding skaters and asking to crash. Money was not flowing, so the day you blew a hole in your shoe or ripped a pair of knee pads, you had recourse to one thing: duct tape. It was during Scott and Brendon’s time together in the resurging 90’s New York skate scene that the idea for The Duct Tape Years was born. Noah is proud to offer a platform for a capsule collection of t-shirts to be offered to the public. Featuring an 80’s aesthetic and a color palate limited to black, white, and red, these shirts have been enzyme washed to give them a super-soft, vintage feel. The graphics evoke the proud spirit of that era, when nearly everyone had helped build a homemade quarter pipe, put together a ‘zine, and covered their knee-slide holes with layers upon layers of duct tape.

What is the inspiration behind Duct Tape Years?
That would be the 80’s -from about 82-89 to be exact, this time in history was special for music, skateboarding and art...it was the music - (hip-hop, reggae,punk rock & hardcore) going to  shows and seeing friends in bands and underage drinking at spots like NEGRIL COVE -Reggae Club.. Watching Yellowman, Eek-a-Mouse and others while swilling on Red Stripes with fellow skateboarder and surfer teenagers…skateboarding - building quarter pipe with my older brothers and further building a vert ramp in the woods by our house as a teenager…the endless missions, searching for spots to skate…..discovering backyard pools…art - street style was something I lived and breathed and still do to this day…this was the beginning of Street Style and I was right there in the mix since the get go…back then there were was a real small crowd of individuals who were at the forefront of Street Style and they were the pioneers of its very essence...making my first skateboard stickers in 1984 and selling them at school….then first screen t-shirts a few years later…creating my first clothing line in 1989 with HOMEGROWN….then MANKIND….then MIKE23….. 

At what age did you start skating?
I started skating in 1975, I was 5 years old... 

How long have you been working in the clothing industry?
Since 1992… 24 years...

What do you think about skate culture today and how is it different from when you were growing up?
Skate culture is every where you look today… So many people nowadays are able to do their thing… So I would say that the skate culture today is good… In the past you were the outcast and the weirdo… You were never really socially accepted in the 80’s by the masses… The masses were lame anyways... Lets just say people were ignorant in their attitudes towards skateboarding and skateboarders in the 80’s… 

What inspired you to start Mankind? What did you think was missing in the streetwear culture?
I was living in Miami and working and hanging out with Don Busweiler of PERVERT and Animal Farm clothing store…we were going to trade shows and went to a 432F trade show in San Diego, California and that was the beginning when the Street Wear brands had their own shows in a hotel…I was in the scene and already creative and cooking up concepts and designs so it was something I wanted to do and the 432F trade shows opened up my mind and motivated me to launch my own thing….when I got back to Miami, I bounced in 2 weeks then went and visited my Aunt who had her own advertising agency in Mississippi…. here I self taught myself how to work on my first Macintosh computer and use TYPESTYLER and a scanner…a friend of mine came and was down for the cause and we were working together; finding some small manufacturing, screen printers and embroidery spots… during this short time I cam up with name MANKIND, while listening to the Jungle Brothers…2 months later I was trademarking the name and living back in Florida….Mankind was born and I did my first trade show in San Diego at the 432F store…the year was 1994…