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Editorial

Fucking Awesome: The Brief, But Quite Long History

The story behind Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen's company...

Fucking Awesome: The Brief, But Quite Long HistoryPhoto by Michael Schmelling, GQ.
Posted by Neil Chester4 min read
Saturday, May 18, 2019

Fucking Awesome is not new. If you didn’t know it’s about to turn in to a full-blown adult. One that can drink, smoke, and be punishable for a crime. Yes, Fucking Awesome is turning 18 years old.

The Fucking Awesome story starts back when Jason Dill was living in New York during the mid-to-late nineties, think legit Zoo York era, Robby Gangemi, Ryan Hickey, Harold Hunter and the early Supreme crew. During this period of time, Jason Dill was, let’s say, living an experimental downtown lifestyle, soaking in all the city atmosphere and taking each day as it comes. This was also at a time when he rode for the Alien Workshop and they were filming their seminal video, Photosynthesis, so in all, a busy man.

Being the highly creative individual he is, Dill, alongside close friend Mike Piscitelli, started messing around creating the odd item of clothing here and there. They began by silk screening their own t-shirts, in their apartment on Canal St, whenever an idea sprang to mind. Whilst out skating all over New York, Dill would find random things in the trash. Once finding an Amnesty International poster featuring a group of very questionable world leaders who were in power at the time. The poster was taped to his wall for months with a strategically positioned FA sticker before he made the decision that it needed to live on a t-shirt. Once a batch of tee’s was ready he’d walk the 10 minutes up Lafayette to Supreme and drop them off. Sit back, go skate, and enjoy the far wilder place that New York was pre 9/11, then repeat over and over. This repetition lasted over 10 years.

Aside from the experimental lifestyle, Dill had a pro skate career to deal with. As we all now know he certainly came through in Photosynthesis, alongside putting out a career-defining video part he also dropped some way-ahead-of-their-time, Prada inspired, pro skate shoes for DVS.

The sporadic Fucking Awesome releases kept coming and the operation slowly moved out of Dill’s apartment, with orders now getting shipped and not hand delivered. There were collaborations with local NYC based friends, such as aNYthing and Dash Snow, but it was still small and the supply hardly met the demand. This was perfect for Dill, he was no businessman and Fucking Awesome was all his, he didn’t really want others to have it.

Dill dropped some way-ahead-of-their-time, Prada inspired, pro skate shoes for DVS.
Jason Dill joined Etnies in 2007 and released the first ever Fucking Awesome collab shoe a year later.

After putting out a slow-burning part in Skate More around 2005, Dill left DVS a few years later as the company was changing direction. In a surprising move, he joined Etnies in 2007 and released the first ever Fucking Awesome collab shoe with them a year later. Dill got out of the city and moved from NYC to the warmer and mellower Los Angeles, and with it parted ways with Etnies to join Vans.

Around 2011, a major fork in the road came with two historic moments in skateboarding - the demise of the mighty Alien Workshop after most of the team quit and the rise of a new official Supreme skate team comprising of then-unknown kids from NYC and LA. After many rumours regarding where Dill, AVE and other ex-Alien riders might go to get their boards, for Dill, the answer was obvious. Combine his situation with those new kids filming for the first ever full-length Supreme video, Cherry, which his close friend and old Alien filmer Bill Strobeck was making. It was all right there in front of him as if the stars had aligned and the universe had pointed the way. Fucking Awesome was being reborn. The first Jason Dill and AVE Fucking Awesome boards dropped in 2013. Cherry dropped in 2014 and those previously unknown kids fast became household names.

2014 was a big year for FA. Dylan Rieder, who also had a part in Cherry, was on a serious charge changing the game in his own unique way. Dylan was also without a board sponsor post-Alien, naturally, he joined his old friends at FA, as did Kevin Terpening. A major surprise came when Gino Iannucci left Chocolate Skateboards to also board the train. All of a sudden Fucking Awesome had a team of established legends alongside these cool young Supreme kids. It was all set up, and the transition of Fucking Awesome into a full-blown ‘proper’ skate company was immediate and clear.

The Fucking Awesome logo was playfully lifted from Hulk Hogan’s weird brand of Hulkamania.

Fucking Awesome has always played on the idea of American dystopia, fallen heroes and supposed ‘icons’. Old graphics had featured Muhammed Ali boxing with Superman, world dictators, and various images of graphic violence that, in Dills’ mind, mirrored the realities of life.

The Fucking Awesome logo was playfully lifted from Hulk Hogan’s weird brand of Hulkamania. WWF, after all, is a fine example of American media creating icons from idiots for idiots. The late comedian Bill Hicks also shared this outlook, if you don’t know him, look him up. He arguably mirrors Dill’s vision of FA - don’t take what is spoon fed to you. Go out, find, create, learn, fail, experiment. Fucking Awesome adheres to this one hundred per cent, refusing to limit its behaviour. Even if it is just a teenager.

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