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New York City's First Skateboarding-Inspired Lifestyle Brand: Zoo York


Zoo York, the pioneering skateboarding-inspired lifestyle brand, emerged in 1993 through the shared passion of three devoted skateboard enthusiasts. Since its inception, the brand has been deeply influenced by New York City's ever-evolving skateboarding, music, and art scenes. With a humble beginning as a simple line of skateboards and T-shirts, Zoo York swiftly transformed into a comprehensive apparel collection known for its dark and gritty aesthetic and its ability to withstand the rugged terrain of the city.

The Birth of Zoo York

In 1993, Zoo York was launched as a response to the growing popularity of skateboarding in New York City. Its founders, Eli Morgan Gessner, Rodney Smith, and Adam Schatz, sought to create a brand that captured the unique essence of skateboarding culture in the bustling metropolis. Their vision was to design products that reflected the authentic street style of NYC while also resonating with the skateboarding community.

Influences and Inspiration

Zoo York drew inspiration from the vibrant and diverse subcultures that flourished within the city. Influenced by graffiti art, hip-hop music, and the raw energy of the streets, the brand infused these elements into its designs, giving birth to a distinct aesthetic. The dark and gritty nature of Zoo York's products reflected the urban landscape and the struggles faced by skateboarders in their quest for self-expression.

Expansion of the Brand

As Zoo York gained recognition and popularity, its product range expanded beyond skateboards and T-shirts. The brand began incorporating military surplus styling, creating durable and functional apparel suited for the demanding nature of skateboarding. Zoo York's collections expanded to include jeans, hoodies, jackets, and accessories, catering to a broader audience while staying true to its roots.

The Unique Style of Zoo York

Zoo York's unique style became synonymous with the brand's identity. The fusion of skateboarding, street culture, and New York City's edginess created a distinctive aesthetic that resonated with individuals seeking authenticity and self-expression. The brand's apparel often featured bold graphics, urban motifs, and references to NYC landmarks, showcasing the city's influence on Zoo York's design philosophy.

Building an East Coast Identity

Zoo York's deep connection to the East Coast of the United States played a significant role in shaping its brand identity. The label proudly embraced its roots and developed an unbreakable East Coast attitude and dialect. The brand's gritty and no-nonsense approach embodied the spirit of New York City and resonated with individuals seeking an alternative to the West Coast skateboarding culture.

Zoo York's Impact on Skateboarding Culture

Beyond its apparel, Zoo York had a profound impact on skateboarding culture. The brand became an influential force, showcasing the vibrant and unique skateboarding scene in New York City to the world. Zoo York's team of sponsored professional skateboarders, known as the Zoo York Skate Team, included legendary figures who pushed the boundaries of the sport and inspired a new generation of skateboarders.

Collaborations and Partnerships

To further establish its presence, Zoo York engaged in collaborations and partnerships with notable individuals and brands. Collaborations with artists, musicians, and other skateboard companies helped Zoo York expand its reach and diversify its offerings. These

collaborations allowed Zoo York to tap into different creative spheres and attract a wider audience. By teaming up with like-minded entities, the brand was able to infuse its unique style into various collaborative projects, ranging from limited edition skate decks to exclusive apparel collections.

Sustainable Practices and Social Responsibility

As Zoo York grew in prominence, the brand recognized the importance of sustainable practices and social responsibility. In an effort to minimize its environmental impact, Zoo York adopted eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes wherever possible. Additionally, the brand actively supported community initiatives and skateboarding programs, aiming to provide opportunities for aspiring skateboarders and promote positive change within the skateboarding community.

Maintaining Relevance in the Industry

Over the years, Zoo York faced the challenge of staying relevant in a constantly evolving industry. To adapt to changing trends and consumer preferences, the brand continued to innovate its designs and expand its product range. By embracing emerging technologies and collaborating with influential figures, Zoo York managed to maintain its position as a prominent player in the skateboarding-inspired lifestyle market.


Zoo York, New York City's first skateboarding-inspired lifestyle brand, has made a lasting impact on the fashion and skateboarding industries. Founded in 1993, the brand emerged as a reflection of the city's vibrant skateboarding, music, and art scenes. With its dark and gritty aesthetic, Zoo York quickly became recognized for its unique style and durable products designed for the urban environment. Through collaborations, sustainable practices, and a commitment to social responsibility, Zoo York has continued to evolve and maintain its relevance in the industry, all while staying true to its East Coast roots.

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