Im a big fan of people who can reinvent themselves. Maintain their ethos and grow something out from their beliefs and passion. I consider Dave Ortiz one of those individuals. Always into something, Dave is in a journey to live by his beliefs and ethics, has created memorable products along the way, and just wants you to know about what Dave Wear House is, and why you will find certain products and brands there.
This is a New York story.
Text and photos: I. Jimenez
S: Hi Dave, introduce yourself:
D: My name is Dave Ortiz, from Dave´s wear House, my new venture. You might know me from Zoo York, or from Dave´s Quality Meat, but this is my new venture, and it´s been already one year, so here we are… time flies!
S: Wow, one year already… Ok, so can you talk about what we could call your “phases”?
D: Yeah, well, I started working for Zoo York around 1994 or 1995 I guess, and I was hired to do shipping, answering the phone… all regular shit, and slowly my position in the company changed to sales, team management… doing a little of everything. Back then it was a small company, so everybody was doing everything, wether answering the phone or getting a photographer to shoot with some rider.
S: How was NY skateboarding back then?
D: Oh, it was a whole different thing back then, a whole different steez. Everybody was doing it for fun, kids were skating not to be sponsored, not to make a career out of it you know? Kids just did it for fun, and then you had the exceptional kids who got sponsored, but they were not even trying to get sponsored back then. Kids today go to Woodward to “train”, to become an “action sports pro athlete”, to get sponsored by Mountain Dew… and to “train” basically. Back then we were doing it because we felt outcasts and we didn´t want to play any ordinary sports, so it was definitely… different.
S: Then after that phase what happened?
D: Well, fast forward, in 2003 I started this new venture called Dave´s Quality Meat, did that for a while, made a bunch of stuff, cool shoes, cool collabos, cool bikes, did that for 8 years and sold it. Basically after that, I took a one year pause to figure out where things were in the world, you know… I wanted to get more involved with bikes, because I always loved bikes, so it made sense to me to open a store that sold bikes and skateboards, and nobody was doing it. I thought it was a good timing, and opened the store, and here we are.
S: So what would you say that sets your store aside from other stores?
D: We sell stuff that sells stuff that is useful and practical. My store is not based on fashion. We sell stuff that will be used for riding bikes or skateboarding. I don´t want to be perceived as a fashion store, because we are not. Look, we sell DICKIES, you can get them at K-Mart, but you can also get them here. They are affordable, useful, why would you spend a $100 for a pair of pants if you can spend $22 and get the original Dicikies pants? We also sell a lot of military surplus products… Why? Well, I always used to buy my stuff at military stores, because it was affordable and it lasted, and it WORKED. It was functional.
S: Let me ask you this… you are talking a lot about functionality, but would you say you had the same mindset when you had the other store?
D: No. It was different.
S: Yeah because you were heavily into the whole sneakers, fashion sense of a business…
D: Yeah, it was more like that. And that was the time, but now it is a different time. people don´t care about that stuff anymore…I would say people is just going with the basics these days, on Chuck Taylors and all…
S: Would you say that this is because you have also matured and changed your vision, or the little kids have changed?
D: Well, everybody has changed. Everything has changed. There is not much money around anymore, and things change every 8 years or 10 ago, and that was the time I felt how things had to change, so that is why I think doing what we are doing is pretty cool, and people will catch up soon, we will be the first ones.
S: So you think the whole “collaboration” thing is burnt down?
D: Well yeah, kind of. Just sometimes something comes out, but not anymore. Just have a look at the whole Yeezy´s thing… the shoes are horrible, it is garbage. But some people will wait for those…
S: So what would it take for you to make a collaboration with some brand or somebody?
D: Well, it had to be something I would use…
S: Like what?
D: I don´t know… Maybe a camera, I spoke to some people about it. In the near future I might do a camera. Headphones also… a bike that would be affordable and cool… Just something that can be used for a while. Stuff like that.
S: Are you doing “Dave Wear House” apparel?
D: Yes! We are doing T-Shirts for our shop, the brand is called ADD, “Another dave´s design”. It´s a spin off on the whole ADD on how people can not pay attention to things. But just keeping it ool and easy, and only available here and once when the website launches (In the next 3 weeks).
S: Besides here what do you do?
D: I have been paiting a lot, putting together a show for fall, shooting photos and chilling out. Im not going out that much now, I like to chill, and well, what else… Oh yeah, just really excited about the new LES park opening here in NY, under the Manhattan bridge, that is going to be great. A lot of people is excited about that.
S: So how would you describe the NY skate scene?
D: Well, I can not really say as I am not that much involved anymore, but as far as I know, there are some really good kids out there ripping, but you know… I didn´t step away from it, but I´m just not into it like I used to be. I can´t not even keep up with so many kids out there, or new tricks. I think the scene is pretty cool, there are more parks now, the Canarsy one, the Bronx, Chelsea has been redone, Tribeca, the Maloof place in Queens… A kid can now learn how to skate, before kids couldn´t.
S: If we talk about brands, are you excited about any brand out there doing something you feel exciting?
D: Well, not really. Product wise, I haven´t been looking, I don´t check the blogs and stuff, I´m just too busy being an adult! But as far as brands, my friend Mike has this brand on Orchard between Stanton and Rivington. It is a menswear line. The brand and the products are amazing, but he makes stuff that you would wear to a wedding. You know, sometimes you have to wear nice stuff, so that stuff has been jumping on me. Besides that, and to get dressed, you need that kind of stuff. My girlfriends doesn´t let me wear sneakers to a wedding!
S: Talking about your girlfriend… What´s your connection with The Impossible Project?
D: She is the CEO, the America business development person. We have been talking about doing a possible pop up store, or a camera… You know, soon. I love the cameras, I love the film, it is really interesting to work with, so you know… Shooting cameras is really cool. Film is making a come back for sure.
S: Film, sure, what about tapes?
D: Oh man, that is funny. A lot of my friends have been talking about tapes lately, and I just passed by this cool spot and they had all these old school punk tapes there… with the lyrics, the sleeves, man, I love tapes. I even have this 80′s tape player I want to fix. It is a double cassette that doesn´t work anymore but I want to get one of those again!
S: So would you consider a nostalgic person?
D: Mmmm… yeah man, I think you could say I am a nostalgic person, but I am not alone. All this technology we have today comes from something, and that is great, I just like what we had before too, so it is all good.
S: What would say to the readers as last words:
D: Hope I didn´t bore you! Well, pass by the store, we have affordable products, shoes under $100, you can get a good deal here, you won´t be knocked out by prices, we have bikes, cool stuff, come down, check it out and hopefully will be here with Squishy, my dog! I´m always here.
I like to be here.
Dave’s Wear House
123 Baxter Street
Jackie Chan tape…!