Mark 'Fos' Foster - 11 Questions

Mark 'Fos' Foster - 11 Questions

Supposedly if you don't know your history then you're doomed to repeat it, and that's something we see a lot in skateboarding. We're not the first here and we probably won't be the last, skateboarding is eternal, shops are ephemeral.

Having worked within the UK and Global skateboard industry for more than two decades Mark 'Fos' Foster has a good view on the current state and the history of UK skateboard retail, and with that in mind he created a graphic for us acknowledging our local forebears - Air, Wisdom and Exit.

In an effort to initiate our #content and synchronise branding for the Welcome x Fos collection we spoke to the Heroin Skateboards & Snot Wheels creator about some stuff.

1. What was your first experience of a skate shop?

Split Skates in Manchester, legendary shop. You were scared to take your parents there because they’d be cranking Black Flag and loads of the T-shirts had the word "Fuck" on them. It was kind of a "right of passage” I think really. They had 500+ boards in all the time, you could choose any colour of Natas that you wanted. It was incredible.

2. What makes a good skate store?

The staff really, if you have good people who are passionate and knowledgeable about it all then they’re the ones who push to get the good brands and the customers can see that they’re backing them and in turn feel like they’re being directed in the right place.

That, and having a good range of Heroin boards.

3. How many collaborations do you think that you’ve done altogether?

As an artist, maybe 40 or 50. With Heroin Skateboards maybe 20 or 30.

4. Other than this one which was the best?

I liked the Emerica x Fos Ridgemont shoe.

5. Any regrets?

No time. I have friends who sit around and mope about stuff that happened in the past “They shouldn’t have done this, or they did this and are bummed” I don’t think it’s a good mind set to have.

6. Why haven’t you stopped?

Cos I love this shit, why would I stop? What would I do, get all fat and hang around the same pub for 30 years talking about how much I used to love skateboarding, or actually go out there and skate?

7. Do you believe in life after love?

Ha, I do. See number 5.

8. If your team was utilised for personal security who would you pick as a lead bodyguard?

Deer Man of Dark Woods.

9. Would it be worth cryogenically freezing Dead Dave so the future can have him for experimentation?

I think it’s the only way that the human race has any chance of survival.

10. What’s the secret to having a skateboarding brand like Heroin last so long?

It helped with a super sketchy name so that all the mums go, “I’m not buying you a board that says that on it” and about half of the shops go “We’re not carrying that” so it gets rid of all the crybabies right from the start. Then you can focus on doing whatever the fuck you want with the brand for 20 years and having fun with it. I love doing this shit, I’m sharing my vision of skateboarding with the world. If I can bring attention to the Osaka Daggers, Barrier Kult and Dead Dave, then it's a win for me. Also Heroin was never about one or two riders, it is a culmination of everyone that rides for it at a certain time. So someone can leave, and that would be disastrous for some brands, but it doesn’t even bum me out really, we had about three or four guys leave a few years back and it allowed me to put Zane and Dave on.

Both of those guys went Pro this year, it’s been great. People really decide their own level of involvement with the brand, Chopper has ridden for us for 20 years, other guys just last a couple of years, it’s all fine. Pulman rode for us (The first time) from around 2000-2007 or so, he had two great video parts and a few boards out. It’s a great legacy. I think it helps having partners like Power Distribution and Baker Boys, who really let me run the company however I want and trust me.

11. True or false? Snot wheels are made from recycled magic sticky hands?

That’d be telling...

Shop the Welcome Skate Store x Fos collection here

Email Interrogation by Fraser Doughty

Designs by Fos