Connecting you with the people of Scotland by sharing their stories
Hi Danny, can you please introduce yourself and your business re:ply to our readers?
Hi! I’m Danny Aubrey and I’m the founder of re:ply skateboards, based in the east end of Glasgow. We aim to address social and environmental issues through creativity, using skateboarding as a medium to do so.
Can you take us back to the start, how did the idea of re:ply come about?
We came up with the idea of re:ply on a damp summers day in July, when we couldn’t be out skateboarding and decided to reshape an old deck with some sentimental meaning – so didn’t want to throw away. Without any substantial tools, or expertise in woodwork, we spent 3 days cutting, plaining and hand sanding until we produced the first re:ply board (without realising the potential the idea held). Soon enough, our friends and the wider skateboarding community started to ask us to reshape their old boards. We soon realised many of our friends had stacks of old decks not being used or thrown out and saw the potential for our idea to develop.
How has the business developed over the years, and are there any standout moments in your journey so far that you would like to share?
In the beginning (and still true to re:ply today), we hated to see skateboards going to waste and aimed to give every single part of a used skateboard a second use. Examples of this would be using grip tape as sandpaper as well as using offcuts to make trinkets and jewellery.
Sustainability and environmentalism then became the forefront of our everyday lives and we discovered that skateboard production contributed negatively to our climate. Since then, we’ve made it our mission to encourage sustainability within the skateboarding industry by recycling skateboards where possible and shopping locally to avoid unnecessary logistical emissions.
We also realised the social benefits that re:ply could provide to people who don’t have easy access to skateboarding by promoting creativity, health and wellbeing.
A defining moment for me was taking this ethos to Palestine to deliver skateboard recycling workshops with local skateboarders. The idea of sustainability was highly valued here due to the lack of skateboard supplies and infrastructure within the occupied territories. The experience also opened my eyes to the power of what skateboarding can provide to less privileged communities.
We did a series of exhibitions named re:deckorate where we asked creatives to design one of our recycled decks and over 2 exhibitions, we managed to raise over £10k which went to the Palestinian skateboarding community through the charity SkatePal. This was specifically eye opening as it introduced re:ply and myself to to the global skateboarding community, working with some high profile artists and skateboarders alike.
Since our work in Palestine, we have been invited to do similar workshops with communities in Nepal, Cuba and various countries in Africa, but unfortunately all plans have been postponed due to the Pandemic.
Can you talk us through the process of upcycling and rejuvenating the old or used skateboards, and what makes this process unique?
The boardmaking process is relatively simple. With no background in woodwork or any trade, the whole process has been and still is a big learning curve. Certainly made easier with the right tools and the power of the internet.
We start the process by removing the old griptape to assess the condition of the raw materials (old skateboards) then we draw out the template of the shape and size of skateboard we want to create and cut out using a bandsaw.
The rough shape is then sanded to smooth out any of the bumps left by cutting and edges are rounded off.
We now have the exact shape that we want and remove the old graphics and scratches made by use of the original skateboard, leaving a new blank deck.
To apply the designs we do so by the process of screenprinting – only using water soluble inks that don’t harm the environment.
Finally we coat the board with a few layers of varnish – again eco friendly. This is the process in a nutshell and we encourage people to try it!
You also work with artists whose graphic illustrations and designs are part of the re:ply offering. What is it that you look for when seeking out artists to work with?
The artists we have worked with have been personally selected by myself and the re:ply designer, we select creatives who:
Can you share some of the artists you have worked with and what they created for re:ply?
We have had the pleasure of working with over 200 amazing artists from all over the world in all the previous exhibitions we have curated- some of which im still amazed that they said yes to, due to them being very prolific- So it’ll be hard to mention all of them, however i’ll shout out some of them and will provide a link to see a list of the names from the most recent exhibition we did over COP26 in Glasgow, raising over £22,000 for environmental charity- The environmental justice foundation.
Toby Paterson – A local Glaswegian artist and Skateboarder who has had great success, winning the Becks future award and will be doing some work on other projects with re:ply in the future.
As well as the graphics produced by our amazing in house designer – Paula Grant. There is a list of amazingly talented creatives who have designed for us in the past- you’ll be able to see them all by visiting our website.
More recently the standout collaborations have been:
re:ply x NoComply. We collaborated with another Scottish based skateboard recycler who makes jewellery and homeware using old skateboards to create wall art skateboards with various beautifully designed inlays.
The Boycott greenwashers collection. Our latest collection designed by Eilidh Dickson aka Big Ginge.
We have loads of other collabs and designs in the pipeline and are super excited to be working with Under the skin in the very near future to raise some awareness and hopeful cash for some animal charities in the future and make some really cool board graphics in the process
Since starting out, you have achieved so much, including raising money for charity and organising an exhibition for COP26 with over 65 high-profile skateboarders and artists. Can you tell us more about this?
For me, sharing the hidden (or not so hidden) talents and treasures of the skateboarding world have been a great way of maintaining great relationships with the creative people in the skateboarding industry and also opening the public’s eyes to this great talent.
re:deckorate was a great way of doing this, and was great to see people’s enthusiasm when supporting a great Charity.
In November 2021 the Cop 26 Global climate summit came to Glasgow, I thought it would be a great opportunity, so applied the same idea when organising the “For Cops Sake” exhibition in collaboration with Route One, this time donating all funds raised to the Environmental Justice foundation – an NGO working to address climate injustice by exposing environmental human rights abuses and defending the vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of the climate crisis.
With more people able to help me organise this exhibition I was able to reach further than I ever had previously. This meant we could get many more people involved to contribute their work from a bigger spread of countries across the world – including some massive names (legends such as Jimbo Phillips, Don Pendleton, Steve Olson, Shepard Fairey, Mark McKee etc).
In Total we managed to get 65 artists from all over the world to donate a piece of their work and received sculptures, video and audio art as well as some amazing works created on re:ply decks.
London auctioneers- Forum Auctions- known for working closely with Banksy offered their services to auction off all the works at the end of Cop26. The auction raised £22’000 for the Environmental Justice foundation and is certainly one of my proudest moments!
As well as this, you have recently been selected as one of the first recipients of a new mentoring programme, along with funding from Tennent’s Light which will support, develop, promote and celebrate Scotland’s grassroots creative talent. What does this mean for you and your business?
Receiving the Tennent’s Spotlight funding has been a great boost for me and re:ply, It’s great to have a local (Globally recognised brand) support and believe in something that was originally a small idea in my garage – less than a 5 minute walk away from the famous Wellpark Brewery. Its been a great eye opening experience being able to chat to the other winners and mentors seeing the amount of creativity being supported in Glasgow.
When I think of creativity I typically think of the art, film and music industries- being supported by Tennent’s and the mentors that chose me has reaffirmed my belief that skateboarding is a great platform of joining all creative industries together.
With the support and funds I plan on looking at the original process of skateboard production and looking at where elements such as Timber usage, skateboard recycling and logistics and how the skateboard industry can have a smaller impact on the environment as well as continue to encourage people to reuse and recycle their old skateboarding equipment.
By organising fun events, exhibitions and workshops, you aim to encourage freedom of expression and creativity. Can you share with us the type of events you put together and what can people expect from attending these events?
We’ve realised that sharing our process can be a great eye opening experience for anyone, not just skateboarders. In previous workshops we have worked with community groups who are interested in getting their communities riding riding skateboards, giving the creation, recycling and design process side of things to people has made them appreciate and enjoy everything that goes into what we feel skateboarding is. This has been especially well received in areas where skateboarding is less accessible. We’ve been working with a kids group in Dennistoun where re:ply and Tennents are based with the hopes of also getting a skatepark built in the area to support the young eager generations of skateboarders growing up in the east end of the city.
Other than re:deckorate exhibitions we have also run events for skateboarders. The one that sticks in my mind was Cultural Canons and Kickflips- an event I actually put on for my final degree in a Music degree. I was encouraged to think outside the box and did exactly that.
The two week exhibition captured the creative minds of Glasgow and Scotland’s Skateboarding culture with Photography, Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures and Skate Obstacles in form of an interactive, skate-able art exhibition in an empty Victorian swimming pool whilst DJs and scottish band PAWS performed on the stage (showers) the event attracted over 250 people on the opening night.
Do you have any special events coming up in 2022?
2022 has already been a very busy year- I can’t believe it’s May! This year i’m planning on diving head first into all the collaborations we have lined up with artists and brands (don’t want to spoil the surprise), recycling more skateboards with new designs and finally finishing and releasing a documentary being made about our trip and work to Palestine by @codewordzebra. So there will be some exhibitions, workshops and Film premiers I imagine, I just don’t have any exact dates in the diary yet.
We have to ask, where in Scotland do you like to Skateboard? Are there any spots that fellow skateboard enthusiasts should know about?
The lovely all year round sun in Scotland (sorry i meant to say lack of) means that outdoor skateboarding can be difficult for a large part of the year. Fortunately theres plenty of indoor skateparks such as:
The Loading Bay (Glasgow)
Unit 23 (Dumbarton)
Transition Extreme (Aberdeen)
When the weather is good, Scotland is a great place for skateboarding, there are multiple skateparks in and around all of the big cities, Livingstone has to be one of the most iconic places where skateboarders around the world will pay homage to.
In Glasgow there are multiple places for street skateboarding and skateparks, there are even some community DIY skatepark builds dotted around the city. A few of my favorites are:
The Riverside Transport Museum
Kelvingrove Skatepark and Art Museum
Where can our readers find out more about re:ply, shop, and follow your onward journey?
We even started a Tiktok account, but I fear I’ll be too old (30) to get my head around it. For more info about what we do; the products we offer and to have a look at previous projects on our website.
re:ply will also feature in The Tennents Spotlight event at SWG3 on the 22nd of September where i’ll be talking about re:ply and the opportunities that the funding and mentor sessions have given me.