Chris Keeffe has been helping the streets of New York look good since he was boosting huge ollies on them more than 20 years ago. He's still making the street look stylish with his shop DQM, where New York residents like Brian Delatorre can dial in a fresh setup and stylish threads from head to toe.
An interview with DQM rider Brian Delatorre
What's the history of DQM?
Chris Keeffe was one of the original founders of the shop. It started out with that shop out on 3rd Street between Bowery and 2nd, and I came on way later in the mix. It started up in 2003, but I've been a part of that for the past three years—pretty much since I moved to New York. I was just always been really into their clothes. It's like the only skate shop aside from Autumn, and Autumn closed, and yeah, that's basically been the go-to.
Who's running the shop present day?
Chris Keeffe is the dude and his wife Tashi. They're the ones holding it down. Then Lee Smith is the dude there and my friend Keith Denley. They hold down the one on 3rd Street as far as mangers go and people to talk to if I want to get a sheet of grip.
What are some of the things DQM has been doing to build the skate scene in New York?
Aside from being like a boutique store and like having all kinds of Nikes and adidas and streetwear, they started a skate team and pretty much since then we've been putting up some of those little edits. Chris is an OG New York head. He's been around since day one. He stays true to his roots and he's always out there. He'll get friends from Girl to put on a demo at 12th and A. Doing stuff like that, that's the world to the New York skate scene that can't go to some demo or park in California and see every single pro.
Who's representing the shop?
We got a pretty solid team: my friend Aaron Herrington, Keith Denley, Dustin Eggling, just like local kids here that rip. Lee Smith, he holds it down. Brian Clark, Curtis Rapp, the team has been growing in the last couple months. Gino of course. Gino is in there; it's pretty sick seeing him coming into the House of Vans. Skating on a DQM skate night and just watching him push is a treat.
DQM clothing has gone above and beyond the traditional shop tee and they've done various collaborations. What are some of the more recent collabs?
Yeah, they do everything. They take good care of us. Their streetwear is dope, button-downs, and pants. Chris knows what's up. We just did this Cliché thing a couple months back and that was dope collaboration. They've just released the DQM x Girl 'Everyday' collection. It looks dope. Lee Smith just did a commercial for it.
What's the story with "Quality Meats"? Where does the deli influence come from?
[Laughs] I don't know, man. I couldn't even tell you. I have no clue where "Quality Meat" came from. When I first heard of the skate shop, I thought it was a deli or something.
Yeah, like a deli skate shop combo?
Yeah, exactly. Like I'm going in there to buy a pair of trucks and order a ham and cheese sandwich [laughs]. [Talking in background] Really? Okay, well apparently there was a slaughterhouse in there before it became a skate shop.
Words by Luke Callahan, video by Richard Quintero