Interview by Jonathan Lees (@jonNothin)
Founded in 2010 by three childhood friends—Jimmy Collins and bothers Phil and Raffie Gordon—Belief (29-20B 23rd Avenue, Astoria) brings quality street wear apparel and boards to Queens. Happily, the shop opened just as Astoria Skatepark opened, gifting Queens with a great store and maybe the greatest skatepark in all of New York. Complex spoke with Phil about the origins of the Belief, and what they have planned for the future.
Why did you start Belief? And why was Astoria your chosen premier spot?
We grew up in skate shops and have become passionate about the fashion behind the lifestyle. We started Belief for a couple of reason. We wanted to offer the best skateboard and street wear products in Queens, and see how successful we could make our business. There weren't many stores in Queens for people to get skateboards, street wear apparel, and exclusive sneakers, so we wanted to supply the surrounding areas with that service.
Also, we'd been searching for a legitimate creative outlet for several years. In the beginning, we figured we would start a clothing line. As time went on, we realized that a store would be the best way for us to separate our brand from every other start-up clothing company.
You're building the Belief team right now. What are you looking for as far as the ideal team member?
The ideal team member would inspire us as much as we can inspire him. We hope to build a team that's close, almost like a second family. It’s important to be able to count on each other. This way the business and team members can build together. Besides that, he needs to rip!
You guys are involved in organizing local activities and events in the area (video screenings, skate contests)—what have you done recently and what would you like to do in the future?
Recently we’ve hosted skateboard contests, video premiers, rap battles, album release parties, etc. We’re always looking for new ways to get our name out there and to support the community that supports us.
Did you guys have a hand in the conceptualization/construction of Astoria Skatepark? If not, how awesome is it that something that cool now exists in Astoria?
Steve Rodriguez from 5 Boro skateboards did an incredible job designing the Astoria Skatepark (20-00 Hoyt Avenue North, Queens). About a month or two into planning Belief, we heard that the city was going to be building a new skatepark in Astoria Park, but we had no idea that it would be one of the best skateparks in the whole city! We got incredibly lucky. It’s a dream come true to be able to skate such an awesome park on a daily basis. And it constantly helps our business!
Are you guys skateboarders yourselves? What's your signature trick?
Raffie, Jimmy, and I have been skateboarding together since middle school. Skateboarding was our first love, and we feel incredibly lucky to be working in the industry. I’ve always loved to skate flat ground, which is good because as I get older, I’ll be jumping down way less stuff!