Slowing Her Roll and Helping Get More People On Board(s)
Probably starts with a dream. Craft and craftsmanship are more than the finished product. It’s hands that are moved to create, driven from a place of patience and passion. The good stuff in humans. Blundstone has and continues to dedicate its craft to the creators—making the boots that have pushed early morning work into the late hours of the evening—in studios, fields, factories, and even the Olympics. Or, as we can see here, pushing goofy. Lucy Osinski co-founder of GRLSwirl, which started as a female-focused skate group and has grown into an apparel company and more, shows the dedication it takes every day. Her main mission? Ensure that women can feel empowered to step on a skateboard, whether in Dickies or a sundress.
This is how she rolls in Blundstone boots
We’re asking a few people dedicated to the craft, who have their Blundstones on the ground—or in this case, on a skateboard—where creative sparks come from, how to dig in with dedication and maybe what’s in the boogie van. Lucy Osinski rolls through.
What was your introduction to skateboarding? When did you first take it up yourself?
Lucy: I started skating in early 2017 when I first moved to LA from France (was living there on an organic farm I had started) and fell in love with how I went from feeling so small and fragile, to feeling liberated and badass because of skating. My partner taught me how to skate, and he luckily had a ton of patience and knew how to communicate how to get me on a board slowly and made it seem simple, not terrifying. I always thought you had to be a ripper from California to skate, but turns out you can be an ex-professional ballerina and organic farmer from NY to skate! Skateboarding changed my life, it redefined what I thought was possible both personally and professionally. It gave me direction, clarity, my friendships and profoundly showed me what my true goals in life were.
Did you find it was hard to enter a “traditionally male” space in the skate world?
Lucy: Very much so! When I first started skating it was fine skating with anyone who would not laugh at how terrible I was, but as a I progressed, and wanted to go in more public spaces, I was terrified, especially because there were typically very few other women around the skateparks.
What inspired you to start GRLSwirl?
Lucy: I fell in love with how empowered and liberated I felt from skating and passionately wanted to get other girls on boards in order to experience the same momentous feeling. I started chasing other ladies down if I saw them on boards, made a text chain, sorted out a little get together and that night the woman who showed up all happened to have the same passion and comprehension of that ‘momentous feeling’ except it suddenly grew in power and light as a group—it felt like we were a force, not a minority. That night us 9 co-founders founded GRLSwirl on pure passion, serendipity and synergy!
GRLSwirl started as a skate group and grew to something larger. How do you describe it now?
Lucy: Now we get messages every day from women around the globe saying we changed their lives. Womxn in small towns in the middle of Italy telling us she has never seen ladies on boards, and we inspired her to start skating. We get these types of stories every day from around the world PLUS photos from far ends of the Earth in the dreamiest places with the most fantastic, courageous ladies SKATING! It feels like a dream. We get requests weekly of other women asking to start their own GRLSwirl and we actually opened 2 other chapters in NYC and SD who have 200+ womxn attending their group skates! It has become so much bigger than the original 9 co-founders, it has become a movement about sisterhood, solidarity, freedom and girl power.
When you aren’t wearing your Blundstone boots on your board, what are you doing with them?
I never wear boots on a skateboard, honestly was nervous to try wearing Blundstones while skating steep hills—but surprisingly because they hold your ankles and feet firmly, it was actually super easy to skate wearing these. Would not recommend going for a proper skate without skate shoes, but if you are in a scenario where you are hiking or adventuring and want to jump on a board, Blundstones actually are perfect for this.
A lot of days I meet up with friends to go surf early and the day is open after and this is usually when I put on my Blundstones because they fit for most adventures in and out of the city. Walking, hiking , going to grab a coffee or even jump on a board—it’s perfect for all!
How did the skorts come about?
Lucy: I always loved skorts—I was a ballerina growing up, so always loved skirts and flowy pieces. We recently decided to start making our own clothing and wanted to take on this project. I am the CEO, so daily work more on partnerships, managing all our depts and handling 2393 things, so jumping into creating a piece of clothing was a bit scary, but luckily we have Kelsey (another co-founder) who has a clothing line made from deadstock material called LUKKA LABEL. She was able to teach me the entire process and it ended up actually being so incredible to create a piece from start to finish all in LA— checking all the fabric/production houses was fascinating. We went through the entire process of making a pattern, finding deadstock fabric, hand cutting, producing, getting samples and going through many rounds of samples until we found the style that worked for us. The skorts are super sustainably made all in LA totally handmade – they sold out extremely fast! We are in process of making 3 more colors for winter!
What’s next in clothing from GRLSWIRL
Lucy: Top secret.
Why is sustainability important to you in the line?
Lucy: From almost the inception, we had an influx of brands wanting to work with us. The process of strategically aligning with the right brands and communities was a lot of learning and growing, but initially, it was by setting up pillars of things we stand for and the kind of influence we want to have in this world. Collectively we decided that we will always prioritize sustainability over profit—we even set up brand ethos to safeguard us when hard decisions come up. We’ve had to say no to a lot of great opportunities, but we feel really confident and stoked with the projects and partnerships we have now that reflect our inner values!
My skate friends call me “skaterina” in the bowl
How did being a ballerina influence your skate style?
Lucy: My skate friends call me “skaterina” in the bowl because I definitely have a lot of ballet type qualities. I’ve actually met quite a few amazing skaters who were ballerinas in a past life and totally notice the grace in their movement on a board. Ballet is night to day opposite of skateboarding in every way, but there is for sure a lovely crossover that I’m thankful for.
What are your three go-to places in Venice?
Lucy: Venice Skatepark: the spot
Cafe Brazil: the best
Venice Skateboarding and Stuff: woman-owned skate shop
You recently acquired a new boogie van. Where was your first road trip? What’s the next one?
Lucy: I love this sentence, makes me sound so professional and proper acquiring a van when in reality I got it from an Argentinian homie in Mexico on a total serendipitous whim for 2k! The first road trip was a solo trip up North—just me, the open road and NO plans—ended up in Big Sur miraculously befriending a psychedelic folk band caravan and having such truly special experiences. Van life is pretty special. The next one will realistically be Old Mans…my partner and I basically spent 4 days a week there this summer surfing and living van life—its pretty much our second home these days.
Boogie van soundtrack for the fall?
Lucy: Been super into Gabor Szabo lately!
Describe your first deck.
Lucy: Skate deck? Was a Carver Courtney Conlogue board – I fell madly in love with this deck/board and still have it today covered in so many stickers (including, but not limited to a sticker from Nasa that was in space, an official San Diego police badge sticker I was given for teaching ex-inmates to skate and a v meta printed sticker photo of me and my friends under the Venice sign).
Video by @gabrielnaka