Pants, pants, pants. All anybody ever talks about when you go skating these days is pants. “Are Big Boys overpriced?” “Did you see that idiot try to sell pants for $1400?” “Tights pants are going to come back, just watch.” I don’t know when our discourse started focusing so heavily on pants, but I’d say pants are the most talked about article of a skater’s fit these days.
We all know fashion trends are cyclical, and clothing from the ’90s was bound to come back, but around 2017 John Shanahan sped up that cycle by busting out some baggy ass denim and swishy pants that pair so perfectly with his reissued DCs and skating. It’s practically impossible to leave him out of any conversation regarding the importance of pants and skateboarding.
Early in 2021, the world finally got a taste of his company Pangea Jeans. Needless to say, the pants sold out almost immediately. We hit up John to hear more about his new promo part for Pangea, and to find out what he has to say about this neverending pants debate.
Do you think Pangea had any good skate spots back in the day?
There must have been some skateable rock formations. Maybe some volcanoes.
Why start a denim company and not an easier lane, like a griptape or hardware company?
I started a clothing company because I genuinely like clothing design. It’s been a passion of mine for a while now. A few years back I was sewing my own pants and making one-off pieces. It was a lot of work and hard to keep up with. Especially when my skate career picked up a bit more, but I didn’t want to give it up because I loved it so much. I wanted to try a different approach that was a little less time-consuming (so I thought).
It also just made sense for me to merge my two favorite things–skateboarding and clothing–into one project. Starting this brand has motivated me to skate more than ever.
With the company, who is the lead designer? Are you designing or have a friend following your direction?
I come up with all the designs and concepts for graphics and my friend, Jayson Chacon, is the graphic designer. My background in design consists of thrift stores, old skate videos, and just being out in the street.
I get my influence from a lot of different things. I’m a hands-on learner so going to thrift stores and antique shops and things like that are very inspirational to me. You get to see such a diverse range of clothing in a thrift store and you also get to feel the materials and look closely at the details. Vintage skate videos and magazines are filled with inspiration. Also, with being out in the street skating all day, you come across a lot of interesting things and see a wide variety of styles.
How are you gonna beat out the Big Boy craze?
I’m not doing this to compete with other brands. I just want to have another creative outlet for myself and enjoy the process. If people catch on that’s great. If not, that’s okay, too!
If you already have a clothing sponsor like Bronze, does this conflict?
Bronze is a hardware company! And it’s all love over there. Everyone at DC has been really supportive of Pangea too. That’s family! I’d like to think the brands complement each other.
Is the brand name a reference to how prehistoric the look of these pants is?
[Laughs] Nah, I never really thought of it that way.
Are pants the most important part of the fit for a skater?
When you’re watching someone skate, it’s kind of the main focus. Your eye goes to the board, shoes, and pants. So, yeah, I guess you can say that.
What do you have to say to skaters who say baggy pants and big shoes are a rip off of the ‘90s?
I would say that maybe it is a rip-off of the ’90s! But also, maybe it’s just a classic style and reference to the greatest and most genuine era in skateboarding.