As cap collectors and enthusiasts, we all love to show off our favorite New Era hats – whether we’re reppin’ our favorite team in a custom colorway or rockin’ the wackiest/flashiest cap in our collections. One thing that can often be overlooked is the amount of work that goes into creating and designing a cap long before it makes it into stores and onto our heads. Therefore, for this edition of #CapTalk, we wanted to showcase a bit of what goes on behind the scenes at New Era. We caught up with their Lead Designer, Shawn Curtin (@PsyfonLabs) – AKA The man who plays a BIG role in designing the caps we wear - to see what’s on his mind.
How many caps do you design in a week?
Anywhere between 5-20, depending on what is going on that week. I could be working on sales materials or 100% artwork for caps that I’ve designed that are in one of our product lines. We’re usually working on 3 product lines at the same time, all in various stages.
What is your personal favorite cap that you designed?
That’s a hard question. It’s like being asked who is your favorite child? The first hat that I did that really took off was the English. Then the first caps that I designed that weren’t licensed was a Halloween collection which was a lot of fun to work on. But most recently my favorite cap was the Taro Tsujimoto cap. I created what the Tokyo Katanas logo and word mark would look like. We created a box and a trading cards that were individually numbered.
When you are in a design session, how much guidance do you offer the company in designing a cap?
I’m part of the trend team here, so we come up with the trends for the upcoming seasons. Once those are set, we present them to the design teams to start ideation for the next product line. Everyone uses those trend boards as inspiration and creates concepts. So there’s direction, but everyone is able to have their own take on it. We also have a certain amount of caps that we just think are cool and innovative that make the line outside of the trends.
How did your career path take shape and how did you find yourself at New Era?
I was working for a company creating websites and I saw an ad for a temp job designing at New Era. So I started here as a temp, then quickly got hired full-time into our Suburban design team, which then got combined a few years later with our Urban design team. Now we have Lifestyle, Fan and On Field design teams. I’ve been in charge of our New Era Flagship stores designs and working with our top accounts for about the last 5 years.
What does the New Era brand mean to you?
I know it’s thrown around a lot, but New Era is a company rooted in authenticity. It’s a Buffalo-born company that has been family-owned since the beginning. The product that we create is truly hand crafted. I wish more people could see the amount of work and attention to detail that goes into creating a single cap. New Era gives people the opportunity to express themselves and show their individuality with our fashion caps or to show their love for their favorite team with our On Field collections. There’s almost 100 years in the brand that gives New Era something that a lot of brands can’t say they have these days: heritage in American craftsmanship and heritage in American sports.
Are you a cap collector? If so, how big is your collection?
Of course I collect caps. I was into the brand before I even worked here. I started collecting caps in grade school. The first 5950 I bought was a Kansas City Royals AC. I’M a huge Bo Jackson fan so I had to have the hat my favorite player wore. I probably have around 700+ caps.
If you could only wear one cap for the rest of your life which would it be?
My Auburn Tigers custom cap that hooks up with my SC Trainer Highs (OG color way) which are my favorite shoes of all time.
What is a collaboration you would like to work on in the future?
We have a great collaboration idea in the works with some of our closest accounts. I would love the chance to work with Nike to create a cap and shoe collection.
What is your favorite New Era collaboration of all time?
We did a collaboration with LEBO studios. I worked with LEBO to get the right fabric and paint combination to work to create custom visors. I think it was a great collaboration that put some of LEBO’s hand painted art in the hands of his fans to be able to wear and show off.
What projects do you have coming up that you are excited about?
Our NBA All-Star collection. Stay tuned!
Any final words?
Thanks to all of the fans and collectors out there who find an emotional connection to what we create. I love being able to work at a job where I get to create and be part of something great every day.
CAP ASSOCIATION: What These New Era Caps Mean to Shawn Curtin
New York Yankees 59FIFTY Fitted Cap
As authentic and official as it gets.
New Era Flag 59FIFTY Fitted Cap
A great way to show your love for the brand!
Diamond Era Collection Caps
Amazing looking fabric with great performance attributes. Fun to showcase different logos for each team.
Buffalo Bills 59FIFTY Fitted Cap
Home pride, so happy we have the NFL license back.