Mens concept stores are an obsession around here at Labeling Men and HUF is the cream of the crop. Residing in the heart of Soho at 125 Crosby Street, HUF has that perfect spot that isn't overly commercial yet easily accessible. Founded by Keith Hufnagel who was an original skateboarder from New York City, Hufnagel turned skateboarding into a profession where he saw a prime opportunity. In the 1990's, he opened up a store in San Francisco aptly called HUF. His mission was to bring the skateboard, streetwear, and sneaker communities together under one roof. Years later, the concept evolved when Hufnagel decided to launch his own line, bringing his own unique vision into the skateboarding world. One of the credos that set HUF apart from other similar brands is Hufnagel's philosophy that the brand is "Made by skateboarders, for skateboarders." Currently with five stores in Japan, and one on each coast (LA & NYC), HUF has taken its core message and found a devoted fan base who sticks with the brand through and through.
One of the most interesting aspects of HUF is their collab-capsule collections. We have two personal favorites that range on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. First is the HUF x Peanuts which features Snoopy & the Gang taking over the HUF collection. We particularly like the Charlie Brown Beanie which is an easy, stylish fall-winter accessory most men need but don't have in their closet. The comic-inspired Long Sleeve Shirt is also a favorite of ours because it truly incorporates what HUF is known for with the Peanuts collaboration in a subtle yet clever way. Our other favorite is the HUF x Spitfire collection which is two brands with similar lifestyles blending into one collection. We'd recommend the Spitfire Racing Jacket which is comfortable, sleek, and elevates a white t-shirt and jeans ensemble. Their high-tops are in a unique grey-black Zebra print with a geometric-tread vulcanized sole and HUF's enhanced grip and stability.
We wanted to find out #BehindTheSeams what made this unique mens concept brand work and the HUF team answered our questions and more. Find out about why they decided on their Soho location, in-store events, and when they will release a second collection for women.
How did you decide on the location- Soho- of your store?
Our founder Keith Hufnagel grew up in NYC and always wanted to open a store in the city. When the opportunity came, HUF looked for a location that was in the premier shopping destination in the city and also nearby other like-minded brands. Crobsy Street offered both.
Did you do anything specific to tailor the store's offerings based on the neighborhood?
We do create NYC exclusive product for the store – product you can't find anywhere else outside the NYC location. You will also find more of HUF's premium and cold-weather appropriate pieces in this store.
We love that your "Huf Team" looks the part of your concept store, expand more on how that organically happened?
It’s very important to the brand that we authentically represent the skate and street culture with everything we do. The staff are a reflection of that authenticity.
Tell us about the collaboration with Peanuts you currently have and one of your favorite pieces from the collection?
This is the second time we’ve collaborated with Peanuts. It’s a fun one for the brand and it always does well for us. Who doesn’t like Snoopy, right? The Cheers Football jersey is a favorite from the collection,
Tell us about the Spitfire collaboration and any future upcoming ones?
Spitfire is a respected core skate brand that has deep roots with HUF. We share mutual team riders and have a similar point of view on skate culture. We are getting a ton of requests for the accessories we made for it – the weed grinder, ashtray and BBQ beer cooler.
What makes your store stand out from other similar concept stores?
HUF has a distinct aesthetic and a unique brand story. Both are well represented in the space. It also has the Haroshi ‘Big Apple’ sculpture on display right in the middle of the store.
What is one go-to item from your store that every man should have in their closet?
Our Holiday 18 collection just dropped. Here’s a few marquee styles from the collection that you will find in store:
Do you plan on having any in-store events?
Yes definitely. We’ve held art shows, video premieres and other community events in store. We see the store as both a place to shop, and space to celebrate the local skate/street community.
Anything else to touch you would like to touch on? How about the women's collection?
The HUF womens collection launched exclusively through our flagship stores and has been getting a great response. We are almost completely sold out. The next collection is coming early 2019.
Visit HUF today at 125 Crosby Street
By Nisim Frank
All pictured provided by HUF & Seventh House PR.