Sean Pablo is restless. The 25-year-old Supreme skater recently moved home, back into his teenage bedroom in Los Angeles, because he wanted to escape New York. When we speak in early March, he’s chilling somewhere in Florida, because he already wanted to escape LA. Pro skaters are nomadic by trade, and Pablo’s been bouncing back and forth between the two coasts since he was 14. He’s ready to see something new and weird for once.
“I always knew that I wanted to get the fuck out of there,” he tells me by phone, referring to the LA neighborhood where he grew up. And even though he’s back for now, that’s also very much subject to change. “I want to move down to Miami or something because, I don’t know, LA and New York, it’s just too much of the same ideas being circulated around. Everybody’s just kind of circlejerking each other.”
It’s been almost nine years to the day since the 2014 Supreme video “Cherry” sent a then-14-year-old Pablo on his way to pro-skater superstardom. Speaking to GQ back in 2020, Pablo’s pal Chloë Sevigny placed him in the tradition of handsome, stylish skateboarders whose charisma elevates them beyond the sport: “People just crush out on them,” she said. “There’s a mystery and a nuance, and obviously the beauty is captivating as well.”
While he’s still the dreamiest dude on the Supreme team, Pablo is now at a crossroads. In an interview published in 032c magazine this week, he detailed his traumatic recovery from a tibia-shattering street-skating accident last summer. He had already sustained injuries in an earlier incident that eventually led him—guided by his friend, the filmmaker Harmony Korine—to seek treatment for abusing painkillers. “The path to paradise begins in hell,” the famous Dante Alighieri adage, has become Pablo’s new mantra. This makes sense for many reasons, the least consequential of them being that his nearly eight-year-old streetwear brand—which he co-designs with his dad—also just so happens to be called Paradise.
In the latest Paradise NYC collection, which drops online this week, the team riffs on much of the same deep-fried symbolism that they have in the past: screwy Disney characters, Catholic iconography, various New York-centric emblems. But this time, it’s all a little more…Paradise Lost. There’s a hoodie featuring a halo-wearing Mickey Mouse giving the finger. (After all, Disney, billed as the happiest place on Earth, can be a real nightmare.) A pair of sweatpants are printed with images of Virgin Mary statuettes weeping blood. Another tee, decorated with a cutesy Bambi illustration and the words “FUCK EVERYTHING,” is a riff on a previous version that said “HAPPY EVERYTHING.”
The designs, Pablo admits, are kind of shitpost-y. “The Jurassic Christ one is kind of my favorite,” he laughs. “I think everybody wants to make something that’s just purely original, and I want to play with that idea a little bit and just poke holes in it, you know what I mean? It’s almost like people might be like, ‘Is he stupid? Does he not understand that’s just a complete ripoff?’ And so that’s kind of a little joke, I guess.”
Pablo enlisted skater-favorite photographer Sandy Kim to shoot the campaign in the aforementioned bedroom that Pablo returned to after relinquishing his New York City apartment. Apart from some stickers on the window and a couple Supreme x Gremlins skate decks visible in the background, the attic room is pretty blank for a former teenager’s space. And even though he’s been running Paradise since he was 16—again, almost a decade ago—he still doesn’t feel like a businessman. “I think we just want to make cool stuff, and it’s hard to run a business that way,” he concedes. “I know that everybody doesn’t want to say that their stuff is merch, but I think it should be just what it is.” He has aspirations to make some higher-caliber stuff, real cut-and-sew clothes inspired by his favorite vintage pieces, but he also really appreciates where Paradise is at: fun, freaky, unfancy.
“I really like fashion, and I really love to dress. I think skaters really love that kind of stuff, and they don’t really admit it,” he says; nowadays, he just wants to wear “weird-ass shit that you would get laughed out of the skate park for.” (Which is, admittedly, what put him and his “Cherry” high-water pants on the map in the first place.) That includes dressing like Matt Dillon in Drugstore Cowboy.
“Now in skating, it’s just like, baggy pants, vintage shirt,” he says. “We have to think of a new way to subvert it because I don’t want to look like the rest of the skaters. That was the whole reason in the first place that [we were] dressing the way we were dressing and just trying to fuck with people. And if everyone looks the same, you’re not really accomplishing anything.”
Maybe that’s where Florida comes in. Right now, Pablo says, he’s getting into “yacht core,” which so far has basically meant wearing Polo and smoking cigars.
“I have some low penny loafers with no socks and that neck scarf and whatnot,” he says. “I got to get a boat, for sure.”