How an Insurgent Skate Squad Wound Up in a Polo Campaign

How an Insurgent Skate Squad Wound Up in a Polo Campaign

If you don’t know IC or somehow even Mikey, two of the guys might still look familiar: Sunny Suljic played the leading young man in Mid 90s—and is the first person to do a kickflip on The Tonight Show. And Aramis Hudson acted in NoHo, playing the protagonist’s less-able but most-supportive best friend, a wrenchingly conscientious role that made him the stand-out in a film full of stars.

The new guy, meanwhile, is Santino Guzman, 20—skater, LA couch-surfer, and aspiring model. He met the boss the way everyone meets the boss: he skated well. Mikey had in fact flowed an IC deck to Tino’s brother, who gifted it to Tino, who skated it, then posted on Instagram. That clip found Mikey.

“Sometimes I see people’s clips and I don’t give a fuck,” said the boss. “But I saw Tino and was like damn!”

“It’s a blessing. Really,” says Tino, on the phone, en route to film at a schoolyard, since it was Sunday.

(He’ll also appear in the long-awaited fourth IC video, tantalizingly titled “Hell Week.”)

And how was this, his first modeling job, for Ralph Lauren?

“Unreal, honestly,” he says. “I didn’t know what to expect. But it felt good. It motivated me.” He either cut-out or trailed off, then concluded: “I’m . . . speechless.”

This isn’t Polo’s first go-round with this most physical street art (see the collab with Palace Skateboards released in 2018—the same year Mid 90s came out). But it felt special for Mikey, who has testified for years that RL is his favorite big brand.

He first visited RL HQ, the one on 5th Avenue in 2014—so he was 19—flying out for the day while a homie named Tyshawn waited in the lobby. And, of course, he explains, somehow he met not HR or PR but with an executive named Maura Manning. They talked for three hours, while Mikey took notes and laid out his ideas on world-domination.

So should anyone be surprised, since this was the plan all along? Or part of it?

“They styled us,” says Mikey. “But I look classically Ralph. So next time, I wanna style myself.”

Next time?

“My dream would be to get paid by Ralph Lauren to send me boxes of clothes, which I’ll put on the coolest people—whether that’s skaters, celebrities, whoever…”

“And then I’ll make the videos.”

Cole Louison is a skateboarding and streetwear historian, and the author of a forthcoming collection on American DIY cultures.

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