How Supreme Inspired This Professional Skateboarder to Launch His Own Luxury Men’s Shoe Brand

“It’s a perfect time to launch an elevated footwear collection that caters to individuals who have been influenced by skateboarding,” says Erik Ellington, founder of new brand Human Recreational Services, adding, “but not necessarily skateboarders themselves.”

The 42-year-old professional athlete’s goal was to create a line of men’s shoes that represented skate culture, including those who are exclusively spectators. “HRS is inspired by skateboarding, has everything to do with skateboarding and nothing to do with [it] all at the same time.”

On the heels of brands like Supreme gaining worldwide recognition from the luxury sector, it seems only fitting that HRS would aspire to have a seat at the table. Ellington showcased his admiration for the coveted streetwear brand as well: “Supreme has kicked the door down for people and labels like mine to be taken seriously now.”

HRS lace-up leopard design.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Technically speaking, HRS footwear can be worn to skate, but the shoes are not specifically constructed for such feats. Plus, its core styles stray far from the sneaker. Ellington, who launched the men’s brand in late 2018, is focused on delivering a curated collection of loafers, primarily made in Italy. The Del Ray boat shoe, for instance, is its signature silhouette, available in black patent, red and white leather, as well as suede. The style pays homage to classic fashion houses, according to Los Angeles-based Ellington.

To help grow his brand, the company has a handful of partners, including Vaz Rajan, an executive creative consultant, who oversees artistic direction, design and sourcing of the company’s manufacturing in Italy.

“HRS offers a bold and unique proposal that marries the personal and cultural interests of Erik and his entourage of skateboarders with the execution of a [men’s] luxury brand,” said Rajan.

HRS recently celebrated its first anniversary and hasn’t looked back since debuting online offerings for its direct-to-consumer collection.

Human Recreational Services.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

As a self-funded venture, going direct allowed HRS to develop organically and make freshman mistakes without investment pressures during quintessential growing years. However, Ellington is aiming to have global retail distribution this year. “I would love our shoes to be sold at stores like Très Bien in Sweden or Maxfield in Los Angeles,” he said.

Past price pointed landed in the low $200 range with an expanded collection launching for fall ’20 that stretches to $600.

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