Who knew the history that comes with something as simple as a baseball cap? An accessory that comes with your child's baseball uniform which, up until now, I have taken for granted.
Note: Written by guest blogger, Kimberly Thomas, publisher of Valley Stream Mom and Mommy The Queen, is mommy to an 8 year old daughter, born in Brooklyn and a 6 year old son, born in Queens. I’m waiting for a rap or break dancing battle to start in my living room at any given time.
As a fan of Spike Lee's very first film and on, I had no idea he would have such an impact upon the fashion behind baseball caps. Yankee fans will now be able to add to their collection a wool, leather or wool 59/50 red Yankees cap.
Back in the '90s, film writer Spike Lee simply wanted a red cap to match his red down Yankee jacket. They couldn't be found in stores so he had the audacity to call up former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on a whim and ask him to make one. Lee said it took the sports giant a day or so to call him back with a response. He said yes, but not before he checked with the New Era folks who have now been making caps for baseball teams for four generations.
It's said that Steinbrenner, known as a traditionalist then, said if it's good for New Era, it's good for the Yankees, then it's good for baseball.
The fashion trend began and boy has it made a lasting impact. This simple request totally changed the New Era business model which currently continues to stay true to it's roots but now does 30% of it's business is now fashion.
What I impact has fashion made on youth? When Spike was a kid growing up on Brooklyn, the worst thing a kid could wear was an "M-O" which stands for "immotation!" The audience erupted in laughter. Kids then had to dress authentically. They used to match from head to toe.
According to cultural tastemaker Stephen Malbon, teens today wear white tees and dickies with name brand belts and they're good for the summer. That's a $500-$800 belt folks. Spike's son recently asked him for a $500 designer belt and was told to go get a job.
Celebrities and designers simply put things on Instagram and minutes later the item or brand is a hit.
"Young people want to make a statement with what they wear and look up to their favorite musicians and athletes," says Brooklyn native Elena Romero author of Free Stylin': How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry.
About Spike Lee + New Era
The blue Yankees cap, as you may know, is the most iconic cap in the entire world. Back in the late 90’s Spike called the CEO of New Era and wanted him to create a red New York Yankees cap for him to wear to the World Series. New Era and MLB approved the cap because they knew Spike would be on TV and the cap would generate some buzz….little did they know that moment would literally change cap culture forever!
Today, New Era offers thousands of varieties in cap options and colors for men, women and children and New Era gives Spike a lot of the credit for paving the way.