This September, Recovery Skate Co., a clothing company that works to support those in addiction recovery by fostering a supportive community and introducing newcomers to skateboarding, will launch its first ever merchandise, a limited edition collection of shirts and tote bags. The company is led by founder Brandon Laferriere, a Toronto resident and recovering addict.
Brandon has always had the goal of starting a clothing company, and after experiencing the benefits of skateboarding within his recovery, he realized that he could merge his interests by using his business to help other recovering addicts to use skateboarding as a tool to maintain their sobriety and provide serenity. He is aiming to achieve this by allocating a large portion of the proceeds towards addictions service charities as well as towards hosting bi-weekly workshops for recovering addicts in Trinity Bellwoods Park, which will include providing skateboards, teaching attendees the skateboarding basics, and garnering a community of recovering addicts within skateboarding.
In his teenage years Brandon had been an avid skateboarder, however, once he became involved in drugs and alcohol, skating was set on the back-burner for nearly a decade. Since getting clean and beginning his recovery 2 years ago in 2019, Brandon began to find himself with newfound free time, and began to try to rediscover old passions. Thus, after reintroducing himself to skateboarding, he quickly realized that skating could act as a source of meditation, while also providing physical activity, a sense of accomplishment, and a supportive community. “When I go out and I skate, that’s all I’m really thinking about. I’m not thinking about using, I’m thinking about the tricks I’m doing. It’s a way to be mindful and in the moment for me, and the community that I’ve grown through skateboarding is a very supportive one”, Brandon said, explaining the multifaceted nature of the positive impact that skateboarding has had on his recovery.
Learning from his journey with skateboarding in his youth and later falling into substance abuse, Brandon strives to show others, and especially the younger generation, a side of skateboarding that focuses on self improvement, community, and wellbeing. A common stereotype about skateboarding that often rings true is that the sport goes hand in hand with excessive binge drinking and partying culture. However, Brandon and his community, many of whom are recovering addicts and who are looking solely to enjoy the sport and strengthen their bonds with each other, have been able to cast skateboarding in a light that contradicts how most people traditionally view the sport. “For the newer generation of skateboarders, I wanna show the side where you don’t have to fall into that [substance abuse] to have a good time, you don’t have to go out and party to be a successful skateboarder, skateboarding can just be what it is”, Brandon explained.
After reaping the benefits of skateboarding immensely throughout his recovery, Brandon hopes to give back to the skateboarding community as Recovery Skate Co. sees its launch. By hosting meet-ups and workshops for addicts as an expansion of Recovery Skate Co., his aim is to help to create a community within skateboarding that is occupied by those in addiction recovery looking for a support system, and excludes what could potentially be a dangerous underbelly to many.
To learn more about Recovery Skate Co., please visit their Instagram page.