German Nieves is one of the people that bridges the gap between East Coast skateboarding’s golden era and current renaissance. Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Nieves was barely a teenager when he began venturing into New York City, and discovered the Brooklyn Banks. He was instantly enamored. The Banks and NYC would become his stomping grounds during the ‘90s when he would run into the city’s icons in the streets on any given day.

After a chance meeting with Julio De La Cruz at Astor Place, Nieves literally got picked up by the Neighborhood team and went on a tour that landed him in San Diego. This was the start of sponsored skateboarding for him. He would make his way to Los Angeles during his stint in Cali, and spend some time as a Venice Beach and Santa Monica local.

He eventually made his way back to Jersey. But enticed by cheap rent and a healthy skate scene, Nieves soon relocated to Philly where he remained for about five years. During this time, he got to witness Love Park’s heyday firsthand before returning to Jersey once again to work at Division East. It was through his work as a buyer that he first connected with 10 Deep. He would go on to develop its skate program, and a visual style for media presentation that continues to be prevalent in his work today.

The culmination of this journey is Paterson League. Nieves launched the brand a few years ago; and it’s been steadily gaining influence ever since. Paterson is a unique blend of skateboarding, tennis, and Nieves’s personal aesthetic, and one of the more unique brands currently registering on the apparel landscape.

When he’s not developing Paterson, Germ gives back to the local skate community in New York through his work as the Creative Director of the Harold Hunter Foundation. This allows him the opportunity to help honor the legacy of one of the people that influenced him during his formative years while expressing his creativity.

Lee Smith delves into this classic East Coast tale in its entirety during Episode 12 of Mission Statement.