This interview was originally published in October 2019. We're resharing in light of recent news that Evan Mock has been cast in the 'Gossip Girl' reboot as, assumedly, very soon many more people are going to want to know more about this aspiring Octopus.
“The fact that you can FaceTime and see your friends is fucking epic,” says Evan Mock. It’s the skater’s preferred method of communication. And when he’s got friends traveling around the globe, he appreciates how amazing it is to pretend your homies are always right there. “I'm such a social butterfly that I want to see them, and I think it's just so much more turnt up when you can see the reactions on their faces.”
Plus it solves another problem—when people read texts the wrong way and think you’re being a dick. “I don't have time for your insecurities,” he continues. The other day, his close friend and fellow Hawaiian, stylist Taylor Okata, recalls how Mock put him in his place when he didn’t pick up a FaceTime call because he didn’t feel like his look was on-point. “If you're not going to pick up a phone and see your friend because of what you think you look like, you probably shouldn't be friends with those people,” Mock says in jest.
Mock himself is wearing a pair of Travis Scott Jordan 1 Lows (we talked before the kicks were even out yet), a pair of knee-length black shorts, and a silk shirt from another one of his homies, the designer Alex Digenova. The shirt is a long-sleeve black button-down with a hot pink print featuring electric guitars and Disney-esque dalmatians. It perfectly matches the shock of pink hair that’s become a bit of his trademark. Okata just helped him re-dye it at his Chinatown apartment a few nights before.
Before that, Mock was on tour with Travis Scott. He shows me a few videos on his phone from Scott’s O2 performance, a perspective that clearly positions him behind the stage instead of in front of it. It was his first time on a private plane.
“I was just on tour with him for two weeks. I was afraid to shit,” he jokes. He describes a hectic travel schedule that includes stopping in LA for a spell, followed by a day trip to Larvik, Norway before returning to London. “It's next level. I mean, indescribable,” he says. “It just doesn't feel like a plane. It feels like a bus that you're with your friends at school.“
The elevator pitch for Evan Mock is that he’s a handsome, half-Filipino skater who looks really good in clothes and has bright hair that got co-signed by Frank Ocean, another colorfully-coiffed cool kid. He got on Ocean’s radar via another high-profile co-sign, the artist Tom Sachs, who recorded a quick video to send to Ocean after encountering Mock at a skatepark.
“Tom was like, ‘Hey, my friend Frank has cool hair like you, say what’s up to him!’” details Mock in a previous Vogue interview charting his rise. But there isn’t really any secret stuff that’s led to Mock’s success. He’s a charismatic, super-excitable young man that’s a pleasure to be around. That’s it.
And sure, he’s also the skater-slash-model du jour, following after one of his idols, the late Dylan Rieder (earlier skate videos of Mock feature him with long, brown Rieder-esque locks), and contemporaries from across the pond like Blondey McCoy and Lucien Clarke. But man can the kid skate. Take for example, a recent clip that was jaw-dropping enough to impress both hard-to-please skate snobs and the clout gatekeepers who run WorldStarHipHop’s Instagram account.
I think surfing and skating kind of teach you exactly how to be a human in the real world.
Mock effortlessly defies gravity when he absolutely nails a 360-degree loop. That alone is enough to impress normies, but it’s the last few seconds that blow veteran skaters’ minds. He manages to do a powerslide and reverts while still in the loop to exit fakie, which in layman’s terms, means he does witchcraft with his legs to turn the board around beneath his feet while totally upside-down.
Mock, like many native Hawaiians, began swimming and surfing as a child. He doesn’t remember exactly when, but he and his siblings pretty much grew up in the water. Learning how to surf in Waimea Bay is like learning how to rock climb on El Capitan. That beach is known for its steep shoreline drop, and is a mecca for big wave surfers. He was 11 when his local skatepark was built, and he’s been on one kind of board or another ever since. I ask him about the transcendental side of surfing and skating—being at the mercy of nature versus carving your own line in the ground—admittedly a lame question, but he humors me.
“I think surfing and skating kind of teach you exactly how to be a human in the real world,” he replies. “Persistence, never giving up, and all that cliché kind of shit, but it really is true. Practice makes perfect, and you're not going to be able to learn anything if you don't try it.”
I'm just young and I want to have my hand in literally everything. I pretty much want to be an octopus — every limb in a different world.
Right now one of the things Mock is trying is acting. He’s been going to acting lessons, and I bring up Johnny Tsunami, a 1999 Disney Channel movie about a talented Hawaiian surfer kid who moves east and becomes something of a snowboarding phenom. “I wanted to be in that movie!” exclaims Mock. He goes as far as describing how he tracked down the lead actor Brandon Baker on Instagram, and is still waiting for him to answer his follow request. “He's got like 200 followers. I don't think he uses Instagram much at all,” he says. It’s not hard to imagine Mock starring in a modern remake of the film.
But before he makes his Hollywood debut, he’s busy tearing up campaigns for brands like rag & bone, and walking on Parisian runways for labels like Matthew Williams’ 1017 ALYX 9SM, and Virgil Abloh’s men’s collections for Louis Vuitton. In a few days, he’ll jet back to France to be immortalized as a statue to be displayed in LV stores worldwide as part of Abloh’s Spring/Summer 2020 campaign.
“I'm super honored to even be considered in Virgil’s world. Obviously I love what he does. And he's just got a cool crowd of kids around him,” he says. “To be one of those kids that he's looking at is cool because he’s one of the biggest designers right now. He's just a crazy visionary, and he put so many people on which is so sick. That's all I ever wanted—get to a certain point to where I can just hire my friends and give them bags. I want to have my hand in literally everything, and I pretty much want to be an octopus — every limb in a different world. I think through social media, through how accessible everything is, it's definitely become a little easier for that to happen, because I think it's easy for people in any part of the world to see what you're doing.”
Evan Mock’s Instagram speaks to his octopoid tendencies. There’s Mock skitching across Times Square behind one of those minivan taxicabs, surreptitiously passing his own campaign poster atop the ALDO store. There he is in Haleiwa, Hawaii, snorkeling next to a giant shark while professing his reverence for what he calls “these beautiful animals.” There’s artist Daniel Caesar wearing pieces from Mock’s low-key clothing line, Sorry In Advance. The fledgling label makes rhinestone-studded dad caps, hoodies, and T-shirts, and in true hype brand fashion, everything’s long sold out.
There he is standing behind Travis Scott at a passport control line, previewing some film shots from his budding photography career. On October 5th, he debuts a photography exhibition with Jeff Weins, a culmination of two years' worth of work aptly titled “No Time for Insecurities.”
Mock credits skating with helping him train his eye. One of his cousins used to work at Birdhouse Distribution and blessed him with a Tony Hawk complete. But even back then, he was aware of brands like Jeremy Klein's Hook-Ups, although his dad wouldn't let him own a board with a buxom, nearly-naked illustration of an anime character on it. “Back in the day when I was first starting to skate, I thought the better of the graphic was, the better the board was,” he admits. “I was just picking it off what was on the bottom, or who was on the bottom, and obviously I found out that's not true, but I kind of wish I still thought like that.”
Skate culture kind of controls every culture. If you think about cool kids, every cool kid is a fucking skater and looks good.
His first sponsor was Hurley when he was around 15, and he's ridden for a few sponsors here and there ever since, including Honolulu's In4mation, Jason Celaya's Welcome Skateboards, and had a phase where he was super into Altamont Apparel. He currently has a shoe deal with Converse (Mock's dream CONS collab would be his own version of the Jordan 1-esque FastBreak) and still rides for Welcome. He thinks skateboarding's induction as an Olympic event will be a good thing overall — especially for smaller skate labels who can benefit from the exposure.
“People hate on skating being in the Olympics, but they're going to be having their boards broadcasted to the world,” he says. “It's funny that it takes something like the Olympics to legitimize skateboarding, but it’s interesting because it's just like how weed's legal in L.A. Now people's parents are so much more into it because it's at MedMen — like they could go into an Apple store and get whatever strength they want. The presentation of it changes the way people think about stuff.”
On the other hand, skating is almost SoundCloud for a different set of kids looking to glow up. It functions as a platform to get into other industries. For Mock it’s led him to his side hustle in fashion, but for him it only speaks to skating’s adjacency to anything that’s ever been cool.
“I feel like skate culture kind of controls every culture. If you think about cool kids, every cool kid is a fucking skater and looks good,” he surmises. And despite skating’s pop-entertainment progression, he thinks its tendency to police itself culturally is what will keep it relevant. “Skating is very opinionated. [Skaters] definitely let their voice be heard when they think something's wack.”