Is supporting the industry immoral?

Little equipment produced today is actually new or improved, save a few things. Most gear is molded plastic with 5-20000% production cost markup at retail, often shipped by those who don't actually make or even design anything and simply re-market logo-slapped colors or lines for nominal slave labor factories. There's an abundance of unwanted new or lightly used equipment for cheap or almost free that's otherwise landfill-bound. Price point—rather than experimental high-performance equipment—is necessarily produced to maximize revenue. The capital outlay for a truly new design dwarfs investment for a minimum run of open mold plastic with mildly improved lines.

Virtually all tooling and manufacturing is proprietary (no: “open molds” are not open without CAD files), so there's no guarantee that a part will be available in the future: to buy or even for “brand” owners to sell (see: Salomon, Cozmo, Fiziks, Hardline 40oz T-shirts, etc). The results have proven interesting in the few exceptional cases of “brand” acquisition and continuation.

“Pro” bladers are unable to earn much or anything through sponsors, as the margins and marketing case are understandably uncompelling. Finally, shops are incentivized to move all new product rather than be left holding a bag of last season's colors as it rapidly loses value.

Certaintly there are exceptions to the above. But to recap, supporting most of the industry as it stands currently:

• Produces new garbage
• Potentially induces slave labor
• Generates old garbage
• Preselects for new price point [over performance] gear
• Creates proprietary manufacturer lock-in—both for skaters and “brands”
• Cannot reward marketed talent monetarily
• Keeps the few remaining retailers on a reinvestment treadmill that continues moving, regardless of declining quality or stagnant innovation

What can be done?

• As a wheel addict I realize that wheels are a disposable fuel which must be poured continuously, but maybe they could be fully recycled or made more durable?

• “Companies” could be incentivized to publish the design specifications and formulae for their products in the same way that “blader-owned” “companies” have been supported for being “blader-owned”

• Any gear worth reviving or preserving should be publicly reverse engineered, with component or materials sourcing

• New Old Stock, used and thrift could be favored over newness; except for when something is truly exceptional or offers previously unavailable benefits (this has obviously already been happening for a long time, becoming the norm in recent times)

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  1. BrentonCip

    BrentonCip on #

    good points but immoral is taking it way too far i think...also most bladers that actually skate a lot are broke or cheap and already don't buy that much. would be good if we could get nw salomons tho

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