We are stoked to have Chinatown Hardware Co. available in our online shop. Brand wise they're arguably the best thing happening in blading right now. Here's a Q and A with co-founders Spencer Eckl and Malcolm Heard.
28 years old
22 years old
Q: Ya’ll are from Chicago, right? Why did you move to LA?
A: Chicago is my home, but currently relocated to Los Angeles to escape the winters. After 28 years they get exhausting. I didn’t really have much going on in Chicago with my career is in the fashion industry. So basically it was either move to New York or LA. LA was more appealing to me. Malcolm is out here working on a music project.
Q: Why start the company?
A: Our rational was why not start a company? We wanted to do something to represent the real street skating happening in America. We felt that if we did anything, we would at least be contributing, and hopefully improving on the current state of the industry. We hope to influence others to share their vision of skating. It also made sense since I was working in fashion and having access to all the resources needed to do clothing. Which is also relative to developing products in general, i.e. hardware.
Q: Why Chinatown as a name for your company?
A: Our aesthetic is influenced by yellow-pages/newspaper advert style businesses, typically family owned and operated. We wanted something non-offensive and relatable by all demographics. I live in Chinatown, so it's Chinatown Hardware Co. It has authenticity. There’s also a Chinatown in almost every city, so its just fun to compare. I think all Chinatowns' have a pretty rad vibe in one way or another. We wanted something to speak for itself. While the name is simple, it doesn’t force anything down your throat and lets one interpret it however you want to. Even on instagram we refrain from commenting because we want it to speak for itself, unbiased.
Q: Is it a clothing brand? Or a hardware company? We notice you don’t have any hardware yet.
A: We’re in the development process of frame bolts and we have a few more products in the works. We’re both into clothing and that is a strong focus of the brand as well. We’re starting with frame bolts, but we also plan to collaborate with more established brands to share resources and make some fun products. Being a hardware company allows us room to explore and be more focused on product as a whole, and not lock us into a specific market, such as a wheel company, for example.
There’s an amazing documentary floating around on Youtube about Senate. The product they made was incredible! Marketing wheels in a cologne box, with actual cologne… just for example; that kind of product is so conceptually great and fun! We want to design and develop cool products how companies like senate, medium, fiction, etc. did… the stuff I loved as a kid and is missing today. The silent bolt is coming soon!
Q: What are your inspirations?
A: Our inspiration comes from all the skaters we’ve met around the world (usually visiting from overseas or other states, staying in our Chinatown apartment), and especially the boys in Chicago. There’s so much talent to be showcased. We are the mobile that gives our skaters a platform, because until now there hasn’t really been a company to represent the current state of real street skating.
Q: Love the high-end stuff y’all are making. Is it all cut and sew? Do you plan to only release cut and sew items?
A: We currently have one cut and sewn shirt in the first collection, but as we grow we intend to move more in that direction. For now we have to keep things affordable and we’re kind of testing the market to see if there is a place for higher end products in the skate industry.
Q: Do you have a team?
A: No team. Honestly, we don’t have anything to offer a team currently. It would just seem fake. We’re a family, and I think anyone that has been involved understands that. The sense of camaraderie is like no other team. If we had a team, I think that would get messed up. Chinatown is for the homies.
Q: Plans for a video?
A: PAYCHECK drops Novermberish. It features, but is not limited to, Robbie Pitts, Pat Ridder, Michael Decker, Malcolm and myself. We’re pulling in some wringers too, so there will be some surprises.
Q: Best thing about rollerblading?
A: It’s underground.
Q: Worst thing about rollerblading?
A: Rollerbladers… Just kidding. In all honesty though, we are pretty divided and that's fine. There is no right way/wrong way to skate. The fact anyone puts skates on is cool. There’s different demographics in skating. There’s no need for bitterness. Skating should be fun.