Named after president Reagan, Reagan Lee’s up next for our latest Cap Talk session. Reagan has a passion for both fitted hats and photography. By puzzling both together he’s been able to literally Speak With His Cap on more than one occasion with some really creative shots. Just the view alone is worth hitting the jump for! All we have to say is keep at it Reags! What’s on your mind? Want to show off your collection? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s your name?
My name is Reagan, and yes, I was named after the President as my father had huge respect for the guy.
Where are you from: Sydney, Australia
Hat Size: Between 7 – 7 1/8
Social Handles: Instagram: @madhattereags
What did you study in school?
Studied BA Design Visual Communications @ University and worked in the design & photography industry
What are some of the things you enjoyed doing growing up?
Growing up I did enjoy a good (long) gaming session with mates online, but these days I’m a lighter casual gamer hitting up the big titles on the PS4 and PC. Other current/long term hobby is playing the guitar and singing for my local church. Big Taylor Guitars enthusiast, having cycled through approx. 20 to date.
When did you start collecting caps?
Used to collect caps when I was in primary & early high school, with my first snapback being a Cleveland Indians followed by a Chicago White Sox & Michigan State at some point. That small hobby stopped for nearly 2 decades until last year when a few mates introduced me to flat bill, fitted caps and New Era. Initially I was un-phased but as I was then tasked with designing a shirt and cap for a local youth camp, I had to do my research…so I googled, and my mind was blown at the sheer range of caps, colors, materials and designs available for just a single team, let alone just about every sporting code out there – how times have really shifted since the early 90’s! As a designer, I appreciate all things eye-candy, and so my childhood hobby was rekindled and the rest was history.
What was your first New Era fitted hat?
My first NE fitted was a White Sox Blackout which I sought out at Culture Kings Sydney for nostalgia’s sake.on Boxing Day last year with some Christmas money I had received. One cap became two…and that exponentially exploded into now 97 with around 19 more on the way as I discovered the world of online retailers, each with a unique range.
Do you wear caps to collect or only caps you wear?
Aside from the two 1932 Heritage caps I recently acquired, my stance on cap purchases as a collector and consumer is that I’d only purchase caps that I would wear. Thankfully, my relaxed work environment allows me to wear caps and sneakers on a daily basis, so everyday is #FittedFriday!
What is your current favorite cap?
Current favorite cap may be the Blue Jays Custom PU leather Maple Leaf or Blackout w/Red leaf, but the White Sox Blackout will always have a place as the one that got me back in the cap game and my ‘go-to’ cap for all occasions as it’s an easy match for most apparel.
What has your passion for caps developed into?
Having found a breath of new life for caps, I’m now able to combine this passion with my photographic passion to create memorable product photography-style images which I plan to one day turn into a coffee table book if/when I capture all caps to-date.
What are some cool things you’ve worked on?
Designed & collaborated on 6 Tee-shirts for Threadless.com. I can be a ‘lil bit geeky as I have a soft spot for all things Tolkien (as evident in 2 of my Threadless designs).
How many hats would you say you have?
Approx. 115 give or take a few double ups
What is your favorite thing about collecting hats?
The copious amounts of styles, designs and colour combinations available on the market.
What is the cap culture like in Australia?
I’d say it’s like buying a new car – once you own one you’ll start noticing the same make everywhere you look. Same deal with caps – prior to restarting the hobby, I never really paid attention to it but now being back in the game I’d have to say its presence is rich and very active. Here in Oz, flat-billed caps are commonly known as ‘gangster’ caps, likely due to the associated culture (or a lack of cultural understanding behind its origins). Culture Kings is the big retailer accommodating this fashion trend.
Being from Australia do all the sick Japanese Exclusive New Era’s ship to you?
Living Down Under means we’re always the last to receive any new releases the rest of the world offers from movies to dial-up modems. In the case of New Era caps, even US exclusives are a rare sighting so that’s a big ‘no’ to Jap uniques unfortunately.
Where do you get most of your hats from?
Primarily online from the major US retailers as we are very limited for style choice and availability here in Australia.
How did you get into taking such great photos of your caps?
I simply combined the two things I enjoy – photography and caps. Technically speaking, I guess having a background in product and lifestyle photography has assisted in seeing this double passion collide and come to light! You can actually check more out on the Nectalk threads.
Do you feel like each photos you take tells a story?
Most certainly. As I started a fresh Instagram account dedicated primarily to caps, I wanted to present my collection in a narrative style by intentionally placing them in various environments. By doing so, my hope was to add value to the image by letting the viewer enjoy not just a cap, but a scene which has a tale of its own, much like a painting.
What do you try and achieve out of each photo?
My aim is to create images where no two are alike, and that each complements its environmental setting in someway – whether it be colors, vibe, or both. This would often mean I’d carry anywhere between 8-26 caps on a shoot and if the natural lighting or scenario isn’t ideal, the cap(s) would get vaulted for another day. I also took these photos with portfolio in mind, so each had to pass my meticulous standards.
What would be your favorite photo to date?
My favorite current cap would be the Monopoly 500 or Blue Jays Plaid as they’re both uniquely fantastic in their own right, though the Black on black White Sox will always have a soft spot in my mind as the first and being straight black, an easy match for clothing.
Just curious how do you store your hats?
One word – IKEA. I have it all concealed within a closet in my music room with an IKEA bookshelf installed. When those shelves filled up, I had planks of wood cut at my local hardware store to create 3-4 new shelves. When that filled up, 2 additional storage shelves were purchased…I’ve just hit max. capacity #fwp
Do you enjoy wearing New Era for the team or the fashion aspect?
Bit of both. Having grown up and witnessed the Jordan era, I will always have a soft spot for the Bulls. Beyond that it leans toward the fashion aspect, though as I love most sports (not golf), I’d love to sit among the crowds for live games for all major US sporting codes, especially the Superbowl (one can dream).
Any final words or advice for all of us cap collectors?
Cheers to the NECTalk community for all the continual advice and support, and to Nectalk for the privilege to partake in this interview. For any fellow photo-enthusiasts out there – If a shoot ever gets tough, conditions turn sour, or things just don’t work as planned (believe me that happens a lot here), don’t be discouraged. Instead, learn and grow from the experience and take it to your next session. Perseverance will pay off if you are patient and passionate enough about the craft or subject (which in my case is New Era Caps so it’s a no brainer)!