This story expands on some of the themes from Blondey McCoy's cover story in Issue 19 of Highsnobiety magazine. You can buy the new issue here.

Arguably the best-known skater to emerge from London’s Southbank skate scene over the past decade is 22-year-old Blondey McCoy.

Much like his friend and former teammate Lucien Clarke, McCoy is your textbook new-age multi-hyphenate, juggling his career as a professional skateboarder with several passions that he's managed to parlay into legitimate careers. Art, publishing, jewelry design, modeling, and fashion are all on Blondey’s agenda, which he fits in between running his brand, Thames London.

Blondey was part of the infamous PWBC (Palace Wayward Boys Choir) crew that formed the backbone of the now all-conquering UK skate brand Palace. Still barely a teenager, McCoy was the youngest in the crew and stood out for his style, fearlessness (have you seen that footage of him getting hit by a London cab?) and classic British look that soon saw him front campaigns for Burberry, adidas, Valentino, and Supreme. Joining the Palace skate team aged 14, Blondey soon became one of the skate company’s most prominent figureheads, featuring in many of the brand’s lookbooks and magazine ads.

While representing both Palace and London skate institution Slam City Skates, Blondey was sporadically working on his own brand, Thames London. Started in 2012 and named after the famous river that winds its way through England’s capital, Thames was an outlet for the 14-year-old McCoy to express his ideas and artwork.

Like a lot of fledgling brands, graphic T-shirts originally made up the backbone of Thames' early collections. In a similar vein to Jason Dill’s Fucking Awesome, much of Thames' designs featured cut and paste style artworks that lent it a refreshing, almost home-made aesthetic. The British-centric vibe included imagery of Her Majesty the Queen, banknotes, coins, London boroughs, softcore porn mags, newspaper clippings, and Princess Diana. Aside from the London iconography, there were also references to old movies like Metropolis and Maniac, not to mention raw reworkings of the classic Disney characters Blondey loved to draw as a child.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

In 2015, having spent three years producing his own small runs of clothing and stickers, Blondey enlisted Palace founders Gareth Skewis and Lev Tanju as partners at Thames. Although removed from the design process, the Palace crew brought their experience in production to the table, with Thames soon expanding its offering from printable tees to a varied range including embroidered hoodies, shorts, pants, rugby tops, polo shirts, jackets, and tracksuits.

Thames' reputation grew with each season, and some choice collaborations followed. There was a jewelry collection with Stephen Webster (featuring some London "geezer" signet rings), three capsule collections with British heritage brand Fred Perry, and two sets of skate decks with the closely affiliated Palace.

With each season, Thames broadened its range and aesthetic while channeling eclectic influences including Vivienne Westwood, the 1970s New York punk scene, Italian tailoring, and somewhat inevitably, Brexit.

With the future looking bright, a couple of announcements earlier this year came as a surprise to everyone. Firstly, on January 31st, McCoy posted on his Instagram saying that Thames was officially on pause. Around the same time, Blondey's newly launched “Blondey” company began to release clothing alongside artwork and books, focusing on smaller production runs and more limited releases, rather than traditional seasons. Thames' final, Gully Guy Leo fronted, FW18 collection featured an umbrella, scarves, a denim work jacket, knitted cardigans, and embroidered pajamas.

Then came the next Instagram bombshell in April 2019, when McCoy announced his departure from Palace. In a classy post, Blondey said goodbye to his former mentors and thanked them for nurturing him from a young age.

Over half a year on, and Thames is set to be reincarnated as a skate brand.

Earlier this week, McCoy gave the world a sneak peek of some skate decks from the rebooted venture. The set of five metallic graphic decks — slated to release in October, around the same time of Britain's Brexit deadline —  feature an image of the UK House of Parliament when placed together, a not too subtle comment on the state of the country's current political situation.

Alongside the likes of Alex Olson (Bianca Chandon/Call Me 917), Sean Pablo (Paradise), Jerry Hsu (Sci-Fi Fantasy), and Dill and Anthony Van Engelen (Fucking Awesome), McCoy is part of a movement of skaters who are distilling their creative backgrounds into business endeavors. Thames is back, and McCoy is just getting started.

We Recommend
  • Marilyn Monroe Military Bomber Jacket
    From World Wars to Notorious Subcultures: Charting The MA-1's History
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Earthquakes, War & an Empress: How Porter Became Japan’s Cult Bag Brand
    • Art & Design
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    21 Black-Owned Brands to Shop All Year Round
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    Kia's Immersive Exhibition Proves It's More Than A Car Brand At Milan Design Week
    • Design
    • sponsored
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    This $2.6k New Balance 2002R Is a Slice of Sneaker History
    • Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • Snow Peak x New Balance Winter Boots
    Have Snow Peak & New Balance Made The Greatest Winter Boots Ever?
    • Sneakers
  • Palace x C.P. Company Fall/Winter 2023 collaboration.
    Palace x C.P. Company Is *the* Collaboration of the Year
    • Style
  • Marshall and Patta Celebrate Sound System Culture
    Marshall and Patta Celebrate Sound System Culture
    • Culture
    • sponsored
  • balenciaga fall 2024
    Is Balenciaga...Back?
    • Style
  • dapper dan dap gap collab 2023
    EXCLUSIVE: DAP GAP's Next Drop Is Huge & Dapper Dan Knows It
    • Style
  • INVINCIBLE x New Balance 1906U collaboration.
    INVINCIBLE's New Balance 1906 Is Patched to Perfection
    • Sneakers
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.