Paterson League was founded in 2014 by New Jersey based veteran skater and designer German ‘Germ’ Nieves. The aesthetic of the brand takes influence from New York street fashion, skateboarding and, unusually from tennis.
Growing up, skating, and getting into the industry
Having grown up in a town in New Jersey State called Paterson, he was not far from NYC and spent a lot of his youth in the city, hanging out, skating, and watching some of the best skaters in the game cutting up the city. The early ‘90’s style of these days had a lasting influence on Nieves.
While chasing sponsorship for his skating for several years, Nieves gained a graphic design degree from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and soon landed a job with New York based brand 10 Deep in their marketing team, running their skate program. Not bad for a first gig. He later went to being a sales director for established men’s fashion brand J. Crew.
Own brand: skate and tennis
When this position came to an end, Nieves started to think about combining his experience skills and influences to start his own thing. The name ‘Paterson League’ was a respectful nod to the town that had raised him, and meant to give a ‘sporty vibe’ to the brand due to Nieves love of tennis and tennis apparel. Skating and tennis style are not obvious matches and this is what gives Paterson League a chance to carve a unique niche, and offer something original in a crowded marketplace. Looking at the brand’s designs you can see Nieves’ love of the ‘90’s loud tennis fashion that was pioneered most notably by Andre Agassi, a personal hero.
Making a mark in good time
By selling his products from a select list of independent stores across the USA and increasingly across the globe, and by keeping the production numbers relatively small, Nieves is growing an increasing demand. It’s a good tactic and means he is not releasing large collections featuring pieces he is not entirely happy with. The experience in marketing and product positioning that Nieves gained from his time at 10 Deep and J Crew have given him a savvy head when it comes to promoting his brand, and stands Paterson League in good stead when it comes to making a mark in a competitive industry.
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