How Custom Fitted Hats Became Must-Have Collectibles
Farnham, who helped spur this trend by placing a pink undervisor on the NY Yankees cap, is now the Hat Club’s main headwear designer alongside Jon Nguyen, known in the hat community for his handful. IG. @t800jon. Farnham started as a sales associate at the Hat Club store in New York in 2013. Nguyen started with the company in 2007 as a sales associate at one of its locations in Arizona. Now they’re creating the hats that drive this trend forward. The duo have continued to capitalize on the momentum of pink stockings with dozens of new experimental custom collections arriving weekly, usually Saturdays. The “Pink Lemonade” drop in October 2020 featured all-yellow options for every MLB team, with pink UVs. the “Escape” Collection released in March 2021 merged MLB team logos with the colors of their city’s NHL counterparts – a Mets cap was colored with navy blue, teal and orange to match Islanders jerseys 90s, or a Chicago Cubs cap nodding to the Blackhawks red, black and yellow palette. Although they were once limited to the NoHo location, the pandemic moved these releases to the Hat Club online store, expanding the reach and brand awareness. While the duo say the process of creating each collection varies, Farnham and Nguyen often quickly discover that they both have similar ideas in the works when discussing new projects.
Hat Club is considered the forefather of the trend, but other retailers have also taken advantage of it. MyFitteds, a small, family owned boutique located in Paterson, New Jersey since the 90s and operating its online store since 2005, produces some of the most creative designs on the market today. Founder John Jang and his team of designers, Kenny Lu and Kevin Alejo, sell caps from many categories. A Yankees cap covered in woodland camo that features a purple Yankees logo is a nod to Raekwon’s legendary “Purple Tape”. A Red Sox cap released in late February featured a colorful, superimposed Boston Red Sox logo on the crown, a nod to the Necco Wafers candies that are produced in the city. Jang even used her kids’ favorite books for inspiration, rocking a Rockies cap (usually black and purple) with the earthy tones used on Mary Pope Osborne. Magic tree house blankets, or a Minnesota Twins hat (navy and red) to look like Roald Dahl blankets Matilda series, with blue, yellow and pink details. It’s a unique approach compared to many stores that simply flip MLB caps with new colors, and it adds an extra layer of storytelling.
“My team and I are thinking outside the box. We are inspired by the most random things… [Other shops are] just throw colors on the wall and see what sticks. I can’t take that approach… I always go for quality over quantity,” says Jang, who tells Complex that the time from ideation to receiving a shipment is about three to four months. “Two years ago, I never thought I’d reach 10,000 followers on Instagram. Now we’re almost at, like, 75K in a year and a half. Kenny, Kevin and I produce new designs daily and submit them to New Era due to demand.
Another recent creation by Jang and the MyFitteds team was a forest green cap embroidered with a large golden pegasus. The design was a nod to Uptown Jiggie (aka Pegasus)a hat store that was based in East Harlem and considered a cornerstone of the community before closing in 2013. With all the attention in the hat world right now, especially in the tri-state area, Jang wanted use her platform to properly honor one of her OG mom-and-pop stores.
“I had to pay homage to them because in a way they fueled my competitive spirit to design bigger things,” says Jang, who notes many OG collectors who remembered the design’s release in February. “It’s a good thing I brought him back because those guys were amazing and they were really good at what they did. It’s just a shame they don’t exist anymore.