Celebrating the Underdog: An Interview with Doyenne Skateboards

We’ve always been huge fans of the brand Doyenne. Founded in 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland, the anonymous duo produces a genderless clothing brand while maintaining ethical and local production. Doyenne has trickled into the states a bit, and we’ve always been proud to support their pursuit of equality and unity. We sat down to talk to them more about what’s been going on on the other side of the pond.



 

How was Doyenne started?

Doyenne started when we realized there weren’t many skateboarding brands that supported skaters like us and there was a general lack of representation of womxn, LGBTQI+ and disabled skaters. We wanted to create a brand that would support the unsupported and represent the underrepresented, and so we did.


What is the skateboarding scene like in Glasgow?

It is a small and pretty tight scene, which can be pretty daunting if you are not a “local”. Since we have started Doyenne and organised our beginners session we have seen a massive difference in the scene, it’s bigger and more diverse now. Some started from our sessions and some other new skaters just saw others like them doing it and started too. We don’t realise how radical can be just only the act of being in a skatepark as a minority.


How have you been able to expand your brand outside of your local community?

Doyenne is a community that anyone can belong to, no matter where they are in the world. Social media has been a very useful tool to expand our community and we have been traveling and organised events and skate sessions in many different places and hoping to do much more of that in the future. We also have worked with organisations and charities from Palestine to Cambodia, and we are in touch with many other communities around the world.



“The very existence of Doyenne is based on the need for inclusivity. “


 

How does Doyenne establish inclusivity in fashion and skateboarding? 

The very existence of Doyenne is based on the need for inclusivity.


We started our brand with minorities in mind on a mission to make clothing regardless of gender, whilst donating part of our profit to charities. Through our platform, we created a space where our community can feel empowered, connected, and represented. We understood that you can’t have diversity without equal opportunities. That’s where our free beginners’ lessons came to be, providing a safe space for people to learn how to skate and meet like-minded people. Within the years, we have collaborated with a number of creatives coming from very different backgrounds and touching on the themes of sexuality, mental health, LGBTQ+ experience, and disabilities. From a fashion perspective, Doyenne is for everyone that shares the same value as we do. Our clothes are genderless, ethically produced, and our sizes are accessible (the next collection will have a XXS – 4XL sizing)

Most of our campaigns feature friends and folks from our community, as we think that they are the real representatives of what Doyenne looks like.


Our brand establishes inclusivity by questioning ourselves and our environment, but most importantly opening conversations with our community and taking the time to listen.


Walk us through the beginnings of Doyenne to the brand now?  How has your focus shifted? What have you learned? What have you changed? 

We have started Doyenne focusing on womxn in skateboarding but very quickly understood that was not enough representation for other marginalized communities so we grew towards being more intersectional in everything we do. We learnt how to look at things from different perspectives and ask ourselves how, from our small platform, we can help with the problems that our community face. Mostly, we listen to people and learn from them.  We still have a lot to learn and we are grateful for all the people that promote awareness and talk openly about what is wrong that most of the time our privilege obscures.


How has COVID19 impacted your business? 

We’ve been home for a long time and we have not been able to organize any beginners sessions or events which are our way to bring people together. We tried to find ways to keep the connection with our Doyenne x Everyone Isolation project and with social media, waiting for the day things can go back to normal. We have been slowed down in production and collections have been delayed, but we still had great support from our community during these times which we are so grateful for.


Your color choices are always bright and seem very intentional. What is the emphasis on color if any?

You caught us, colors combination are definitely our forte. We think that colors are incredibly powerful tools to communicate and there’s so much potential to play with that. Since Doyenne represents who is often not visible in the community we felt that wearing something  that makes you shine brighter than anyone else is a pretty empowering move. You’ll see the Doyenne colors come through the grey concrete wherever you go.



“There are no such things as prejudice or judgment in nature and this allows a sense of freedom that is hard to find elsewhere.”



Tell us about your new collection. What goes into the design process? Was there any specific design or graphic focus with this ?

Our new collection “Come as you feel”, as the title suggests, it’s an invitation to simply be ourselves unapologetically. The main inspiration for this season has been the natural landscape and the authentic spontaneity that comes with being immersed in it. There are no such things as prejudice or judgment in nature and this allows a sense of freedom that is hard to find elsewhere. Our design process took a lot from this sentiment, the collection features very earthy tones, paired with a brighter palette symbolising the rebirth of nature and prints promoting acceptance.


You’re producing your first series of Doyenne boards. How did that decision come about? What are the boards featuring? How was that process?

We have been wanting to produce boards since the start, we were trying to figure out how to do it locally and more sustainably. As a skater, the board you decide to skate is a commitment and we all want to skate boards and brands we support, and we feel the support should be reciprocal. One of the graphics on the boards is the illustration part of our Doyenne x Everyone project where we asked our community to design something with the theme of Unity during the COVID-19 lockdown, and picked the one we felt resonated better with the theme and brand aesthetic. It was great to see all the submissions and showcase them through our platform and be able to involve everyone in the design process.


What do you see for the future of Doyenne? 

We see Doyenne growing and blooming, because us and everyone around us is growing and blooming too. This is a very new and revolutionary chapter for skateboarding and we are so happy to be part of it. We also see a more sustainable future, for the world and our brand will work towards it and alongside it.


Photo by: Dominic Manderson


Tell us more about Across the board?

Across the Board is our brand giveback to the community. We have been organizing beginners skateboarding sessions in Glasgow for three years now, donated to many charities and collaborated with many artists. Everything we put into our brand was in order to be able to give back, and so Across the Board is a project that will let us expand this more worldwide and literally “across the board”.


Do you feel like there’s a connection to artists and skateboarding? How do you express your creativity in skateboarding?

Skateboarding is a creative engagement of the body and mind and art is the same. We believe that often art and skateboarding connects through the same feeling of freedom of creation and with seeing inventive potential in mundane objects to turn them into something completely different from the original purpose. Personally, we think that there’s been too many rules within the way people should skate (push mongo if you like it, fuck it!) and we think breaking those rules are creatively redefining what skateboarding can be.



Follow Doyenne Skateboards here
Shop Doyenne here

RELATED POSTS