New Brand: ALIS
Words: Sebastian Nicu
Everybody knows this feeling. Trying to find what’s on and poppin’ in music and streetwear, you browse your favorite online shops and stores to discover a supposedly new brand that catches your eye. Especially younger generations might ask themselves the question: Who the fuck is ALIS? Another Instagram brand with the uncreative idea to write its name in a red box in italic letters? Not at all. As an unsuccessful skater who was always rolling down the streets of Germany from the early 2000s on and embodied the nightmare of many senior citizens, I always knew ALIS, because the boys and girls from Denmark did more for the community than most other brands. But you shouldn’t reduce ALIS to skateboarding because they offer so much more.
Now, I want to answer the question of who the fuck is ALIS: ALbert Hatchwell and ISabelle Hammeris, two friends from the free city Christiania in Copenhagen. Together they founded their label in 1996 with the clear vision to stir up and shape the Danish skateboarding scene. In 1998, only two years later, with the help of their friends, they managed to create the Wonderland Skate park, which still exists today and attracts skateboarders from all over the world. True to the motto »Do it Yourself« both the locals and the ALIS crew keep on expanding the wooden bowl in Christiania with new obstacles, like the recently constructed concrete loop and the roof equipped with solar panels.
The Wonderland (that’s a creative name because of Alice in Wonderland, you know?) is much more than »just« a skate park like any other. The place unites everything Street Culture has to offer and reflects the lifestyle of the hippie community Christiania. Skating, hanging out, festivals, contests, hip hop jams, independent events. As I said: everything. The locals learn new tricks, meet old friends, make new ones and express themselves freely. Artists, musicians, photographers and street artists are just as often here as skaters, while exchanging ideas, planning projects and inspiring each other. So the social aspect plays a big role in Wonderland, because that’s how you get young people off the streets. »Less Hate, more Skate«, as they say at ALIS.
But the Bowl is not all the Copenhageners have done to preserve subcultures. In 1996 they organised an 18-day Hip Hop Festival, they hosted the Scandinavian Open, an important series of skateboarding contests in the early 2000s, for many years and helped build numerous skate parks in and around Copenhagen. Together with the Belgian organization Make Life Skate Life they also built skate parks in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Jordan and other countries. Thus ALIS brings a piece of western subculture to countries where you would least expect it and pushes the respective skate scenes there. The example of Wonderland has shown what such a place can do for the culture of a city: The skate scene in Copenhagen has brought us big names like Hjalte Halberg and Jonas Skroder and hasn’t had to hide behind Barcelona, New York or Paris for a long time.
ALIS never wanted to be a mere streetwear label. Neither did they want to devote themselves exclusively to skateboarding. But they don’t do that either. At first the two friends wanted to draw attention to themselves with stickers, but later they also began to print their logo on caps, hoodies and T-shirts. As the brand began to grow, collaborations with artists from their immediate environment followed, as one hand washes the other. With ALIS you can be sure that your money will be in good hands which directly invest it into the community. Similar to HHV, where you can buy the new collection from now on.
Visual Content: ALIS / Cover HHV