Spike Lee New Era Heritage Series Baseball Caps

By 7/11/2014 05:40:00 PM , ,

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 called up former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner 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.

Spike Lee on Fashion Culture Panel for New Era Heritage Series

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.

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 has 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.

Spike Lee on Fashion Culture Panel for New Era Heritage Series

What 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.

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.

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