Stacking itself alongside other great New York staples like 5boro, DQM and Zoo York, Mighty Healthy has been slowly and steadily carving a name for itself on the New York City streets since 2004 and has since been making an impact across the world with its products and projects. Drawing much of its design inspiration from the culture and art of the city itself, Mighty Healthy grabs that New York essence in ways few brands can—an aspect of its direction and personality that sets it apart from the pack. Backed by a loyal team of skaters, musicians and artists from all over, Mighty Healthy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We caught up with Mighty Healthy Team Captain, Ray Mate, this week to find out a bit more about the company, where it’s been and where it’s headed. Check it out.
Photos Courtesy: Mighty Healthy via Van Styles, Chris Whitaker and Everything You Love To Hate.
Give us the quick and dirty of where Mighty Healthy came from and where it’s going?
Mighty Healthy started in 2004 as a skate lifestyle brand. We started doing Tshirts at first and they started really picking up and we eventually grew into a full blown brand. Our main inspirations from the beginning and now have always been New York, music and skateboarding. As for current news, this year we’re going to introduce some new denim in a full range—everything from different washes to waxed. We’re also going to throw some camo pants in there as well. We’re currently redoing our site too with a big launch around our Fall line. Our new site is going to launch in June. It’ll be a big week on our site.
(Mighty Healthy Team Rider Chris Colbourn)
What separates Mighty Healthy from what other brands are doing right now?
I think Mighty Healthy has always taken a very natural and organic approach to branding. We’re not making stuff cause it’s trendy. This is a culture we’ve been a part of for two decades. We’re not jumping on it cause streetwear is trending or skateboarding is trending—we’ve been involved since the beginning and still doing it today. Our main team guys right now are Pete Eldridge, Chris Colbourn, Connor Champion and Danny Montoya. We also have a lot of flow riders that we support as well. We send them gear, try to help them get shoe and board sponsors and whatever else we can do to help them out.
What does New York City have to do with that evolution?
I was born here in 1975 and everything started here for me. I got into skateboarding in the late 80s and was always around people who were doing stuff in terms of hip-hop and music in general. Everything creative for me came from New York. New York has always been the fuel for the fire for me.
What’s the major difference between the New York lifestyle and Mighty Healthy compared to what’s happening on the West Coast?
I think over here it’s a huge hustle. Everyone is always rushing around and has somewhere to be. New York is on the go and it’s all hours of the day. People are attracted to our brand based on their attraction to the New York lifestyle. Say for instance, if you’ve never been to New York before but you listen to Mob Deep—you can get a pretty good picture of what it might be like to live in Queens Bridge. It’s almost like we’re painting a picture of that New York lifestyle through our brand and our projects.
How do you decide who to work with in terms of collabs? What have been some of your favorite projects?
Doing collabs is really something I like doing when it makes sense. I like to collab with brands that I like or have a relationship with. For instance, I’m long time friends with Arsen at Hall Of Fame, Keith at HUF and Chris at DQM, it’s always cool to work with someone that you have a personal relationship with. You can both bring your input and the next thing you know you have a product that’s special that you both put together.
Let’s talk about some of the Mighty Healthy items CCS currently has in stock. Can you speak on the Bigge Almighty T-Shirt? That obviously has a huge New York City connection, right?
Biggie put Brooklyn, New York on the map for hip-hop. I don’t know anyone who listens to hip-hop who doesn’t know who Biggie is. I got to see him perform live at the Palladium before he even had a name. At that time he was called The Notorious BIG. It was one of the most frightening shows I’ve ever been to. Everyone on stage was in black and then a riot broke out. Biggie will always be one of the best rappers in the game.
How about that Cracked shirt with the broken deck graphic?
The Cracked board represents what I want to do every time I go skate because I can’t do any of the tricks I used to. [laughs] Everyone knows the frustration of being on a skateboard. It’s a gift and a curse. You’re pretty much competing with yourself. Some days you have good days and some days you have bad days.