Jimmy Gorecki has an impressive resume. He was a sponsored amateur on Aesthetics, which, to this day, is still one of skateboarding’s more celebrated brands of yesteryear. He was an original member of Pharrell’s Ice Cream skate team, which allowed him to travel the world and opened many doors for him. He served as “Skateboarding Coordinator” for the popular Disney show Zeke and Luther, earned a degree in business marketing from Temple University, and is currently handling the marketing duties at Greg Lucci’s fashion shoe brand, Gourmet. He’s a Street League judge and has a daughter with pop star Dev. To top it all off, in 2013, Jimmy launched his own line of sweatpants called JSP, which has been growing at a surprising pace. Not only is Gorecki extremely talented, but he seems to have the Midas touch as well.
Talk about growing up in Philly; how did you first discover skating?
I grew up in a small town seventeen miles northwest of Philly. It’s the typical small town story. My town had a local skate shop and when I was super young I would see older dudes skate around the neighborhood. That was the initial point of interest for me. As I got older, I was lucky because there was such a big skateboarding push in Philadelphia. That scene was so close to me, and those were the guys that were obviously the most influential. Early on, after football or baseball tournaments, my mom would just drive me downtown and park at Love Park. I would just skate until we got kicked out. Eventually my buddies and I would hop on the train to Love—it was only a twenty or thirty minute ride. Being around that scene was crazy—there were a lot of New Yorkers and guys from Jersey coming down and a handful of guys were coming up from Philadelphia. I was in the right place at the right time. It was during that Sub Zero skateshop and video era; those were the guys that I looked up to and helped push me as a kid.
Sal Barbier was a huge influence on you. How did riding for his brand Aesthetics go down?
From hanging at Love, I became really close with Kevin Taylor. He was like my mentor. Kevin told Sal and Clyde Singleton about me. I was a freshman in college, so this was like the summer of 2000. At the time, Aesthetics was a really good, small company. Initially, Kevin was like “Sal wants to put you on.” I was a little intimidated at the time. I was psyched, but I didn’t want to just get thrown out there and not be able to hold it down for him. So, I kind of worked on it a little bit. I got some footage out there and photos out there. Eventually, I went out to LA and stayed with Clyde for a week. It ended up being the funnest week of my life. The very first day, Clyde took me to a bump over a flat gap in Brentwood. J.B. Gillet, Chris Roberts, and Robbie McKinley were all skating—these were guys that I looked up to growing up. I ended up getting a photo that day too. That was pretty much it—Sal was like “Go back home and shoot an ad and then you’re fully on.” Aesthetics had a huge impact on me. When we all went to ride for Zoo York afterwards, a small part of my desire to be a professional skateboarder left me because Aesthetics was the only company that I ever really wanted to skate for.
Speaking of that Zoo era, right around that time you got picked up by Ice Cream. How did you link up with Pharrell and what was that experience like? A close friend of mine from Philly had been working on Ice Cream with Pharrell for a couple of years. I also had a really close relationship with Terry Kennedy, who rode for Ice Cream, from skating with him over the years. It was kind of the tail end of the Zoo York deal. I was finishing up school at Temple and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but had to make a decision. I don’t think I had given up on skating just yet. I was eager to get into it and see what the program could be. It had its ups and downs. It was something that the skate industry wasn’t ready to take on yet—to accept someone like Pharrell getting into it. But yeah, it was good man. The traveling was good and it eventually lead to a lot of major opportunities personally and professionally.
Around that time when you were finishing school, you hooked up a job at Disney being the skate coordinator for Zeke and Luther. How did that happen, and what exactly does a skateboard coordinator do? That was actually the biggest lifesaver. We were in LA working on something for Ice Cream with Jeff Tremaine from Jackass. Jeff hit me up one day randomly and was like, “I have a buddy that’s working on a skate project for Disney. He just needs someone who’s brain he can pick that will give him some ideas for the show.” I took the meeting and it ended up being Fred Savage from The Wonder Years. He was like, “Yeah, I’m directing this pilot and it’s going to have skating as a part of it. Can you give me some ideas on how to make this thing authentic?” After that meeting he asked me to come work on the show with him. It was cool. I would explain to the wardrobe people what type of clothes would be the best fit for the skaters from a functionality standpoint, but what also looked authentic. I worked with the props people and let them know what types of boards the main characters should use compared to what the stunt guys needed to actually skate. I’d consult with set construction to ensure what they were building was actually skateable. We ended up shooting something like 90 episodes over the course of three years. It would’ve gotten picked up for a fourth season, but I guess they were gonna have to pay everyone double—so they canceled the show.
So then you jumped into the fashion industry and got involved with Gourmet Footwear. What is your role over there?
I’ve been working with Gourmet since May 2013. [It] originated with Greg Lucci, who was actually one of the designers at Aesthetics back in the day. He started it with John Buscemi, who’s an East Coaster and worked at DC for a while. I had a relationship with those guys from skating. When I started working for them I was already a fan, so I knew the different silhouettes and styles like the back of my hand. From skating, you understand grassroots marketing and that approach to things. I knew the ins and outs of advertising, so it was kind of easy for me to step in there and implement what Gourmet needed as far as imagery and branding. I’m just trying to tell the story from a product standpoint.
Let’s talk about JSP. I know the name is a play on Earl Sweatshirt...
Back when Twitter first got big, I would always write posts about sweatpants—like legalizing them in the workplace. At that point, there were always these little jokes, like in that one Seinfeld episode... you’re giving up on life if you just wear sweatpants. When Street League started, I would show up to every event in sweatpants to be comfortable because you’re just sitting there all day for the most part. Scott Pfaff, that kid Big Cat from Rob & Big, kind of threw it out there one day: “There’s Earl Sweatshirt and there’s Jimmy Sweatpants.” I just kind of ran with it.
In 2013, I met a local manufacturer through the guys at Diamond. He showed me the costs and really taught me the about of manufacturing and we just started doing it. At the time, when I started it, I could feel that the trend was gonna hit heavy. The reception has been good. I try to keep it authentic and based on an original idea. The jogger and fashion sweatpants thing, I really enjoy it, but that was never the intention behind JSP. This came from the early skate and hip hop influence, that old Josh Kalis and Aesthetics era approach to wearing sweats. I want to keep it true to that. We’ll see whether or not there’s longevity to it. That’s definitely something that I lose sleep over.
Talk a little bit about your relationship with Dev. How did you guys meet and what was it like having MTV document that period of time leading up to the birth of your daughter?
We met in September 2009. We actually lived in the same neighborhood. We always had a really good relationship and got along really well. Initially, when we first stated hanging out, we both weren’t in good places to really date; but after a couple of years of such a cool relationship between the two of us and having a certain understanding of each others’ lives and our personal feelings for one another, we just gave it a try.
Dev was at a really big stage in her life. Then we found out that our daughter was going to be born with a particular stomach condition—a very rare condition and there’s not much information on it. From a medical standpoint, we had to do a lot of digging. It took a lot for us to really wrap our heads around what the doctors were explaining we would have to go through.
With the MTV thing, we made a conscious decision. We had no frame of reference on how to care for or approach what we were going to have to deal with regarding our daughter. I think that both of us were confident that doing something like that could help other families that had children born with this condition. It’s a stomach defect that, depending on the severity, can be super simple to deal with or it can be a nightmare. For our daughter, it was a pretty complex situation. We kept our fingers crossed and shot the documentary. The production company was really cool and we just had faith in our daughter and knew her resiliency. I think doing the documentary helped more than it hurt, because we still get calls and text from friends and families that are going through the same situation. A group called Avery’s Angels, which is a nonprofit that raises money for doing research on gastrosquisis, just posted something on their website and social about our daughter’s story. They posted Devin’s special a couple of times also. So to be able to support awareness for something that we had to go through in terms of putting our life out there on front street on MTV wasn’t a negative thing.
I have to ask you about your Instagram posts skating in Jordans. Is that a regular thing for you? Some sneaker heads would get real tight about that.
Haha, yeah man—the way I look at sneaks is that whether they’re super rare or something regular; how much can you really enjoy them if you’re watching your every crease? Even back in the day, wearing a pair of Air Force to a party, you’re gonna beat them up. So, I just took that same idea and applied it to skating. There are certain shoes that are built the same as skate shoes, so you might as well just utilize them. Even early on, I was skating in Jordan 1’s. There’s just something cool about seeing somebody beat up a pair of those things. I always liked that clip that Levi Maestro did skating in the Yeezys, I thought that was really cool. Plus, at this point in my life, what do I look like calling up somebody for some free shoes. There’s definitely some 12-year-old kid out there that rips and deserves them way more. I’d rather just go in my closet and pull something out that’s going to be sitting there collecting dust and use it for something. It’s good that people get a kick out of it. I mean I’m 33 now, what am I gonna do with a bunch of sneaks stuck in my closet on ice? It’s fun getting a response out of people. I think even Berra said something. I walked into the Berrics yesterday and he said, “The Hypebeast kids are gonna get mad.” I’ve skated through so many pairs of Jordan 1’s that I know are worth a ton of money now, at least a half dozen Jordan 4’s—the military blue ones in particular, and some 5’s. I think all of those lower numbers are way better to skate in. If I could skate in any pair, it would be those Jordan 2’s. I’ve always wanted to skate in those, because that shoe seems like it would skate really well.