Peter Huynh is a triple threat: skateboarder, fashion designer, and film director. The Elmhurst, Queens, native was given his first skateboard at thirteen—a hand-me-down from an older kid in his neighborhood, one of the few who took up skating instead of drug dealing.
“Skateboarding opened my horizon,” says Huynh. “At thirteen years old, I took the R train to the Brooklyn Banks, where all the kids from New York gathered to skate. It’s where I met most of my friends I know today.”
Huynh has come a long way from those first days of skating, though his love for New York skate culture is exactly what propelled him forward. He launched streetwear brand UXA—a “radical, impulsive, risky, and progressive” name that Hunyh came up with simply by writing “X” over “U.S.A.”—in 2000, and relaunched it in 2013 after a break of a few years. Huynh’s experience in the fashion world—he was head of boy’s jeans for Calvin Klein in 2000 when he first started raising funds for UXA—as well as his insider perspective on New York-centric street style provided the tools necessary to start a relevant, practical skate fashion line.
“There was a huge gap between East and West Coast when it came to skateboarding culture and its branded lifestyle,” says the designer. “As for the idea and inspiration, I drew on my later teen years, when I was wearing Polo Sport and Nike Dunks to skate, and that was not happening on the West Coast at all.”
But Hunyh has gone beyond the traditional realm of the locally-focused fashion entrepreneur. “UXA is a state of mind, a subculture, and a whole new country altogether,” he explains. The entrepreneur launched a successful series of fashion collaborations, which has become all but the norm in today’s fashion world. However, Hunyh has taken these partnerships a step—or rather, a leap—further: His most recent endeavor was writing and directing a short film, “The Chase,” as part of a collaborative project with skateboarder Eli Reed.
“I’ve always thought there was more that we all can expand on,” says Huynh about his videos. “I am inspired by storytellers and film directors such as Gus Van Sant, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, and Spike Lee. When the opportunity came up to collaborate on a film to complement a guest board, I wanted it to be different from the normal skate-parts. It needed to have more substance.”
Huynh’s first guest collaboration on a board with was pro skateboarder Zered Bassett. Huynh produced two successful films with editor Jason Jenkins, entitled “#CodeZered.” His instant success in the skate-film sphere served as motivation for him to continue in the same vein with Reed—and this time in a highly personal narrative.
“I wrote and directed this piece with the thought that it was my stage to show what New York skateboarding is about,” says Hunyh. “The story was adapted from my childhood experience of being chased by local thugs because I was a skateboarder.” In addition to Reed, the film stars two of Hunyh’s friends, because they “fit the part.” As for Reed’s involvement, his hard work, openness to new ideas, and inherent skate skills made him, to Hunyh, an ideal embodiment of the brand. In addition to the film, Reed helped design a board for UXA.
UXA’s logo is the “Skate-man,” which Huynh calls “an Olympic symbol for skateboarding.” “The Skate-Man is depicted in midair performing the kickflip, a maneuver in skateboarding where the board flips horizontally in a 360° motion and you land on it before it hits the ground,” explains Hunyh. For this particular design, Reed and Hunyh used black and green—a nod to Reed’s Irish roots—and “popped off the Gucci red to bring high fashion to the streets.” Huynh laughs, “I’d like to think of it as inducting a special mutant into the UXA brand.”
For more information, please visit UXALAB.com.