Jimmy Gorecki Talks Skateboarding's Influence on JSP and Collaborating with Vans

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Shannon Brown / ONE37pm

Jimmy Gorecki is the founder of JSP and a partner in Standard Issue Tees. A former sponsored skateboarder from Norristown, Pennsylvania, Gorecki rode for Sal Barbier’s influential brand Aesthetics before moving onto global brands Zoo York and Pharrell Williams’ BBC Icecream imprint. Now living in Los Angeles, California, Gorecki’s foray into fashion seems like a familiar lane in the modern context, but in reality, it was an angular path with only his earnest determination as a constant.

jsp pharrell image
Peter Kramer / Getty Images

“I feel like anytime you do something that feels so far from the community that you come up in, it’s going to be under a microscope, but I was confident in making that move to Icecream,” he says. “It definitely hurt when you’d hear people pick you apart, but I'm so thankful that I did it, man, because so much of what I’ve done in fashion benefitted from being on Icecream—having a relationship with Pharrell and the reach that it had. You think about how many kids would have never picked up a skateboard if it wasn't for that brand.”

In the Spring of 2008, Gorecki found himself without a sponsor, with Zoo York not retaining him and Icecream dissolving their skate program. At 26-years-old, he decided to head to Miami for a break and found himself taking an unpaid internship at his friend’s wife’s PR company. The self-described “oldest intern ever,” Gorecki felt like he was on top of the world and now humbled, writing press releases by the stack, but he says that he was not only grateful for the opportunity but that it quickly brought all his marketing muscle back. Though he was only there for three months, it put a lot of pieces together for him—the past and future all came together. 

“The beauty of skating is we're so resourceful we can pivot really easy,” he says. You have all the resources in a big company, but it’s so much harder to pivot because there's so much planning and so many people involved. As skateboarders, we set very hard parameters and guidelines that we're supposed to abide by for not for the sake of not selling out skating, right? But, you know, if you really break down, you know, if every skater lives by those fucking guidelines, it's really hard to progress in life. You make it what? 25? 26? Then what?”

Then what was a bevy of retail jobs and brand work in footwear and marketing before starting his own brand JSP in 2013, producing high-end sweatpants, earning him the moniker Jimmy Sweatpants and later co-founding Standard Issue Tees. Folding all he’s learned in skating and fashion together, he’s worked with several celebrities and global brands to create products. Still, it’s the limited run capsules, such as his recent work with Gino Iannucci’s POETS Brand and a Vault by Vans “A LOVE’ Story” collaboration that keep him not only keep him grounded in skate but in his unique point of view.

Vans x JSP
Vans x JSP
Vans x JSP
Vans x JSP

“Nothing feels more authentic in skateboarding to me than Vans. I picked the chukka boot because it always reminded me of the Vans ads in the back of Thrasher Magazine,” he says. “When we were going through the design process, I was thinking about how sacred a place Love Park was and how the city had this influential hub that they didn’t have to do shit to maintain. They never understood how special it was. It brought together so many talented people from different walks of life with skating as the conduit.

Love was a place, kids from tough Philly neighborhoods could escape those realities. Hard communities like Kensington or Southwest. When the city pushed us out, it pushed a lot of the kids from the city back to those blocks to face and overcome what was happening right outside their front door. A lot to overcome in those sections. That's why I asked Joe Lee to help us with the outsole graphics. He’s an amazing artist who had to work hard on so many levels to navigate Philly streets.

Some people never know how influential they really are to others.

- Jimmy Gorecki

Perhaps his path might not have been so hard had the city embraced the Love Scene.  I hope the collaboration can open up new opportunities for him and bring visibility to the current generation skateboarders holding Philly down. I got to put my friend J.R. Nieves' name on the box. He passed away back in 2009. I don't have too many regrets in life, but that was one where I regretted letting that relationship drift apart. He was an amazing skateboarder and person and taught me so much. I don’t know if he ever realized how special he was. Some people never know how influential they really are to others."

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