Hamilton Harris was one of the many of the young skaters who joined the cast of Larry Clark's influential movie Kids. Back in 1995, Harris was a 20-year-old skating the streets of New York repping Zoo York, and was picked to play himself in the cult classic. Now 20 years later, Hamilton is producing a documentary on the film and the teens who inspired it. In honor of the project, which was recently funded through Kickstarter, Hamilton talked with The Hundreds about the role the film played in defining an era and how skating in front of Supreme helped put the store on the map.
Harris, shares how he first met Rodney Smith in Washington Square Park before he went on to found Zoo York in 1993.
"Rodney would come to the park," he told The Hundreds. "He was a bike messenger at the time, but he was cooking up the whole Zoo York idea. He would come to Washington Square Park and see us skate. We came up under SHUT, so he knew who we were—and we were coming of age in our own way. One day he told us that he was starting a company and asked us to ride for it—we didn’t have sponsors at the time. He took us to his place on the East Side of Manhattan and showed us the prototypes. He gave us blank boards and we would just put Zoo York stickers on them—that’s how it started."
To attract some attention, he and his crew would skate in front of Supreme after it opened on Lafayette Street. The costume designer for Kids has previously shared how the store actually hooked up the actors with clothes. Harris expands on the close link between the brand and the kids in the film, explaining that since that the guys who were skating outside the store were also the ones in the film, it created a lot of buzz around the brand.
"Then in ’94, Kids was being shot and Supreme opened. So, the film comes out and Zoo York is poppin’—and Huf, Gino, and Keenan are blowing up in Cali. Everyone was paying attention to New York when Supreme first opened, we would skate in the street in front—we were known as the kids that skated in the street," he said. "Then the movie came out, and it became a hit. People in New York realized that we were the same kids that they saw skating in the street on Lafayette...what really put Supreme on the map was that the very guys that hung out in front of the shop, who were in this film, that was creating all of this buzz."
According to the Kickstarter page, the documentary The Kids is set to drop in November. Stay tuned for details.