Creative Inspiration: Roller Skating & Roller Derby

I thought it would be fun to write a few posts about interesting niches and activities I’ve stumbled upon over the years. There’s lots of inspiration to take away whether you’re looking for a new hobby or a starting point for a creative project. This article is a shout out and high five to all the Roller Derby kick-ass peeps around the world a few of them being wonderful women I’ve met, the ex-bosses with a childhood history of winning roller disco prizes and to a dollop of other awesome roller skating influences, that I think you’ll enjoy discovering or re-discovering. If you’re already into roller skating, I would love to hear your tips and suggestions for newbies to the sport or stories from an expert, tweet me @JayneKitsch or leave a comment below.

Some Reasons Why I Wish I Could Roller Skate…

I’m sure many people can relate to the story of sports being ruined for them due to some (usually high school related) childhood bad experience. Before I went to high school, I was very active and enjoyed it. I have medals and grades for dancing, fencing and archery and have experience sailing, horse-riding, trampolining and gymnastics. I have so many good memories of being active as a child, but when you hit high school and new pressures and rules come into play it’s easy for it to cause you to take a confidence hit. I remember being excited about sports at high school before I got there, it meant I got to learn new skills and try sports I hadn’t done before. It took less than 6 months of trying to join sports teams, to realise that sports as a teenager are not so fun. P.E was were people could disguise their anger outbursts or physical bullying acts, paired with the natural awkwardness and nastiness that comes with having to get changed in front of other kids during puberty. Anyway, I could go on about that for a long time and I’ve yet to recapture the magic of those childhood exercise experiences that was lost thanks to high school. I’d love to be more active, but I’m not quite there yet.

I love the colour, creativity and retro styling associated with roller skating. Perhaps I watched too many episodes of That 70’s Show, perhaps I liked that roller skating could combine my existing dancing skills with another format. Either way, I’ve always thought roller skating was cool, I have no idea if I’ll ever get around to giving it a go properly, but here’s some roller skating themed inspiration that I thought I would share.

The Nostalgia – A terrible introduction to roller skating…

I’m pretty sure most kids at least in the West, experienced a roller skating introduction that was in a plastic Tomy form as below or something equally as crude. I had hours of fun with these for many, many years and so did my sister. But it wasn’t really roller skating was it? It was kind of shuffling around a bit, with minimal risk of something going wrong. Just look at those wheels, even a handful of hours watching skateboarding videos will tell you that they’re supposed to be rubber, hard plastic is not what professionals use. So, with an introduction to skating like this, there’s no wonder that many of us didn’t go back to them.

Whip It! – Drew Barrymore & Ellen Page cult movie magic…

If you haven’t seen this 2009 comedy drama yet, you’re missing out. Whip It! is Drew Barrymore’s debut directorial role, bringing us a story about Roller Derby in Texas, inspired by the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross. Starring Ellen Page in the lead role and supported by a diverse, kick-ass female cast including Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, Eve and real-life stunt woman, Zoe Bell. Whip It challenges ideas of female identity, questions stereotypes and really celebrates the community and punk rock, alternative style of the Roller Derby sport. Although Roller Derby naturally existed long before the movie, Whip It! certainly has a part to play in the increasing popularity of this female driven, high intensity contact sport.

Marawa – Hula-hooping, high-heeled roller-skating cabaret beauty…

Some of you probably don’t know that I have a degree in Cinema, Photography and Television and spent about 5 years shooting predominately cabaret, burlesque and vintage style models and performers. I’ve had my photos published in industry magazines, flyers and on various online and physical portfolios. During my time exploring the cabaret scene I stumbled upon Marawa, who some of you might recognise from Britain’s Got Talent. Marawa Ibrahim or Marawa the Amazing is a high profile hula hooping and rollerskating professional who holds TWELVE World Records! Famous for her over the top facial expressions combined with excessive uses of hula hoops and stunning costumes, Marawa is keeping roller skating fun, ambitious and creative with bags of sparkly showgirl style, whilst bringing it right up to date with her wonderful persona. I love Marawa’s addition of the hula hoops, an alternative sport that I have actually tried successfully and loved..

FRIDAAAAAAAAY!! ? Stacks in heels, my favourite kind of training.

A post shared by Marawa Wamp (@marawa) on

Roller Derby Teams – A diverse global community that’s empowering people…

I’ve seen a few friend’s Roller Derby journeys thanks to Instagram and blogging, I love the inclusive community that it’s come to represent and it relates closely to other alternative subcultures that are close to my heart. I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to take part myself, but I have massive respect for those who do and would love to see a Derby in action real-life one day. Shoutout to the Preston Roller Girls below, based in Lancashire, UK and very close to where I grew up, who in addition to their sport, spend time helping in the community and towards good causes.

Colourful, Vintage Inspired Quad Roller Skates…

As a colour lover and a fan of a retro, vintage aesthetic, it’s only natural that a huge part of the appeal of roller skating to me, is the outfits! Call me shallow, I don’t care, I wish I could skate so that I could switch my normal shoes for these stylish booties. Alas, I don’t think I’d spend much time upright without a insane amount of practise. If you want to treat yourself or try a new sport, you can spend anything from £60- £400 for a pair of retro styled quad roller skates, so it’s not unattainable if you’re keen. There’s plenty of choice and the colour options, are all very exciting, sure does beat all the pink options we used to be confronted with when shopping for affordable trainers for high school P.E classes! I swear shopping for high school sportswear has scarred me for life. There’s an awesome selection of roller skating and other skating sports clothing and accessories with free delivery from Skate Hut,including all of the above styles. Check out the sick skateboard deck designs whilst you’re there, I’ll write a story about that alt sport love another time.

A little history lesson in Roller Derby…

Did you know that roller skates have been around 1760 and Roller Derby since the 1930s? Cue, excellent and interesting archive footage and photography through the ages and from around the globe. Whether you’re into the glitter and kitsch of the 70s Roller Disco or prefer the punk rock attitude of 20th Century Roller Derby, there’s a roller skating phase that’ll inspire you. There’s a podcast on Polygon that talks about the history of Roller Derby and I found this neat trailer on YouTube for an indie documentary about the Stateside origins that inspired Whip It! and the book it was based on. You can see a lot of mainstream fashion trends from recent years reflected in many aspects of roller skating style.

Here ends my little journey of roller skating themed research, I hope you found it interesting, if not a bit random. I’ll be bringing more posts like this to CMK in the coming weeks, as well as news as some exciting new adventures, stay tuned! If you’re looking for more creative inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards for all kinds of colour, sparkle and retro infused pics.


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