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HUF

HUF is a brand loved by many, both inside and outside of the skateboarding community. Here at Flatspot we decided to immerse ourselves into the world of HUF to see how they became the world famous brand that they are today.

Founded by Keith Hufnagel, who grew up skating the streets of New York City in the 80's alongside Gino Iannucci and Keenan Milton. It was during this time that the HUF name was first imagined in the form of Keith's tag: 'HUF-ONE'.

Skating in NYC went through a few ups and down in the 80's, with lots of venues closing down. So in '92 Hufnagel made the decision to move to San Francisco to pursue a career in skating: the city he believed to be the skateboarding capital. Hufnagel told his parents he was going to college but in reality he dropped out after six months and turned pro for Real.

Over the next ten years Hufnagel was hard into skating, he went on tour with DC and then moved to DVS. However, he soon realised that he wouldn't be able to do this forever and he needed a back-up plan. He decided to open a store, although there were risks involved it was a plan that allowed him to carry on skating whilst utilising his creative side.

in 2002 the first HUF store opened. Hufnagel's vision was to bring together the top brands in skateboarding, streetwear and of course sneakers. He wanted Nike, Vans and Supreme alongside some of the smaller skate brands all under the same roof.

Hufnagel kept things real, he wasn't an experienced business man but he knew the market and customer base well and had found a niche. On it's opening day the HUF store nearly sold out of all of it's stock and the store soon became the number one spot in Tampa Bay. Hufnagel maintained a healthy balance of running the store and skating, always setting aside a few hours a day to nail a new trick.

After seeing how rapidly the brand grew and how popular it had become, Hufnagel soon came to realise that he needed to launch his very own range of products and he started off with essentials such as hats and t-shirts. One of the earliest graphics was the now-famed Etch-a-Sketch logo with Benny Gold, which made a reappearance in an exclusive pack for HUF's 10 year anniversary.

Skating is the number one vision of the brand, with Hufnagel saying that ‘he sees skateboarding as more than just another 'hobby,' and something far from simply a 'sport;' he sees it as a way of life’ (Source: https://www.hufworldwide.com/huf_en_us/aboutus/).

With this in mind, HUF’s products are known for being practical and durable; more than capable of withstanding the pressures put upon clothing whilst skating.

HUF started off with heavy graphic inspired T-shirts with references to skate, hip hop and varying other cultures. Although much has changed over the course of the years, Keith Hufnagel still sticks to the same beliefs that have driven him since day one; skateboarding to Keith is a lifestyle.

Alongside their own line they've had many collaborations over the years, including: Nike SB, Converse, Vans, Bronze & Snoop Dogg.

As well as running the HUF store, Hufnagel formed his own skate team. He started off with Brad Cromer, Josh Matthews and a few more that started getting HUF some recognition. However, it was the introduction of Team Handsome: Dylan Reider and Austyn Gillette, that helped change the brands image from core skate to fashion.

The launch of Dylan’s first Lace Up shoe for HUF came in a slick and stylish burnished black leather, partnered by a video part that blended Super 8 ambient footage, a super model and Dylan’s impeccable style all wrapped up with a David Bowie track. The Dylan Lace Up and Slip On, much like his Gravis shoe models took the skate world by storm through the infusion of his taste in high end fashion and effortless style within skateboarding.

It's been 15 years since the launch of the first HUF store and the brand has evolved into an independent manufacturer of premium clothing, footwear and apparel. With Hufnagel's dream for the HUF line to be up there with the likes of Stussy, being recognised worldwide.

HUF offers a unique variety of garments that range and reflect sophistication while at the same time incorporate that nonchalance and don’t care attitude associated with skaters and artists alike.

Constructed for skateboarders, by skateboarders. HUF will always stand the test of time due to Keith’s forward thinking and appreciation for the countercultures that go hand in hand with the skateboarders mentality.

Shop all HUF at Flatspot.