18 East Designer Antonio Ciongoli Is Also a Skate Shoe Historian

On a recent morning at his store in Manhattan’s Chinatown, 18 East designer and amateur skateboarding scholar Antonio Ciongoli sat before a pair of DC Rick Howard 1s, his favorite skate sneakers of all time. Some weekends, Ciongoli spends hours scouring eBay for old DC pro models like Howards, Rudy Johnsons, and Rob Dyrdeks, purchasing only to wear them in front of a very small audience, skating around his home in Asbury Park, NJ. The Howards, specifically, are his grails for a few reasons. They exemplify peak late-’90s DC aesthetics—DC Shoe Co. being the main brand that signaled a break from skateboarding’s old school and ushered in a new, technical, athletics-inspired era of modern skate-shoe design. The fact that they were popular with the sickest skaters (Fred Gall, Spencer Fujimoto, Howard himself) doesn’t hurt. Ciongoli owned multiple pairs when they came out in 1997, and remains captivated by the wavy uppers and icy soles. He sees a Jordan 1 in there. And, vaguely, a hiking boot. Read more at GQ.