It’s common that content we spot on sites either gets taken down, deleted or in some cases the company/site no longer exists. So when we heard the news about DVS having troubles we remembered this post written about the HUF x Mighty Healthy collaboration back in the late 2000’s and wanted to archive it. The post still exists here but we’ve archived the text and images below.
Made In New York—A Special Project Between Huf And Mighty Healthy
Steeped in decades of East Coast skateboarding and more than 20 years of friendship, Keith Hufnagel and Ray Mate’s latest project through DVS is anything but your run of the mill “Collabo”. As you’ll see, there’s way more between Huf and Mighty Healthy than just a simple “X”.
Eastern Roots, Western Branches
Although he enjoys local status as a San Franciscan, Keith Hufnagel is a native New Yorker. Raised in the heart of the city on 1st and 23rd, Huf cut his teeth on the budding East Coast street skating scene of the late 80s and early nineties. “It was a really big crew back then,” Hufnagel recalls. “ I grew up skating around guys like Keenan Milton, Gino Iannucci, Ben Liversedge, Mike Hernandez, Peter Bici, Chris Keeffe, Jeff Pang, and the list goes on.”
Although Hufnagel’s skate crew was deep, Skateboarding was a relatively small phenomenon during the early nineties. Even in a city as large as New York, the skateboarding population was relatively small in size and skaters would travel from borough to borough to session spots with other skaters.
Skating the streets of Brooklyn in 1988 is where Hufnagel first met Ray Mate. “I first met Ray through visiting my friend in Canarsie, Brooklyn,” Hufnagel recalls. “We used to skate these banks out there and one day Ray invited me over to his house for a microwave Salisbury steak. We’ve been friends ever since.” Their bank session and TV dinner would be the foundation for a long lasting friendship.
Mate remembers skateboarding as a unifying force in New York that brought people from all over the city together. “The great thing about skateboarding was that it brought people together from different places. A bunch of us would meet downtown, midtown, anywhere and shred all day and night. You had people from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Long Island all coming out to session spots.”
From Skaters To Business Owners
Mate and Hufnagel continued skating in New York City together throughout the early nineties. But by 1994 Hufnagel’s professional skating career had taken off. He was tapped by Deluxe Distribution and was recruited to join the newly formed Real Skateboards and promptly relocated to San Francisco.
While Mate could hold his own at just about any session, he admits that Huf’s natural talent for skateboarding was undeniable. “I knew Keith was going to make it in skateboarding,” says Mate. “The dude is super smart and works really hard at whatever he does.”
Mate stayed behind in New York City to pursue his education—balancing class with odd jobs and skateboarding. “I was basically going to school, working, and hating life,” says Mate. By 2000, however, Mate’s love for fashion and his understanding of business led him to Co-found Mighty Healthy in 2004. Today, Mighty Healthy is an internationally renowned streetwear brand sold in some of the finest boutiques globally.
After more than a decade as a pro skateboarder, Hufnagel began focusing on building a brand of his own. Inspired by skateboarding and city life both in New York and in San Francisco, Hufnagel founded Huf in 2002.
The brand began with a single retail store that marketed Hufnagel’s private label brand, Huf. Two years later, Hufnagel would open another San Francisco location and by 2008 would have a total of four door fronts spanning from San Francisco and Los Angles to the cultural Mecca of Tokyo, Japan.
Holding down the management of a global retail chain while maintaining a career as a professional skateboarder is no easy task. Hufnagel says finding enough time in the day is his biggest challenge. “The hardest thing is time,” says Hufnagel. “Usually you have to do both jobs at the same time and it’s really hard to be talking on your Bluetooth and skating a ledge at the same time,” he says jokingly.
It’s been twenty years since Ray Mate and Huf first met skateboarding in the streets of Brooklyn and yet they both maintain that skateboarding influences just about everything they do. “It’s now 2008 and both Huf and I have our own businesses doing different things, but it was those building block years that influenced all of it. It was skateboarding that brought us together.”
In commemoration of their 20 years of friendship through skateboarding, DVS designers in concert with Huf and Mate came up with a special line of clothing and footwear.
“Huf has been riding for DVS for ten years,” says DVS Product Line Manger Craig Chimile. “We wanted to support him, his loyalty, and his brand through this collaboration.”
Alongside Chimile, Mate oversaw a large portion of the project’s design and says that New York City was a major inspiration behind the look and feel of the product. “Growing up in New York is a big inspiration for me in general,” says Mate. “New Yorkers are always hustlin’. Find a way or make one!”
The line consists of several apparel pieces including a reversible grey and black vest, branded T-shirts, as well as two custom colorized shoe designs—the Huf 5 Runner and the Huf 5 mid.
The color scheme used in the line, according to Mate, was inspired by the colors of Xavier High School—a Jesuit school located in the Chelsea Neighborhood in Manhattan that Huf attended growing up.
The product begins shipping in early November and can be found in select skate shops throughout the world.
The original post also linked up Keith Hufnagel’s original sponsor me tape (embedded below):