Its a privileged to connect with New Era Cap collector Dennis L. from New York City. Not only does his collection run “Deep”, he brings his talents to the headwear industry as lead designer for a “little” brand you might know of. Dennis displays his streetwear credit while laying down the law with his knowledge of being around the game. Oh, and by the way he has a few gems you might want to peep after the jump. So flip the lid and check out your boys Dennis collection once and for all. What’s on your mind? Want to show off your cap collection? Hit us up at email@example.com.
Name: Dennis L.
Hat Size: 7 3/4
Where are you from?
I’m originally from the Bay Area. I currently reside in New York.
How long have you been collecting for?
Been on and off collecting since the age of about 12-13. Been back with full force at 25
Do you remember what was your very first fitted hat was at the age of 12-13?
I believe it was a St. Louis Cardinals OG Navy STL logo. I used to LOVE that STL logo, no clue why. and still don’t till this day lol.
What type of caps do you look for most? Branded, Character, Onfield, Customs?
I stick to customs mostly in their OG color ways. I LOVE gray / green under brim hats as well as side patch all star / world series hats. I do collect some streetwear, Farmers Market Hawaii (My favorite), Stussy, Cmon Wealth, 10.Deep (duh), and a couple others.
Are you into snapbacks or just fitteds, why?
Negative, never do snapbacks. I just don’t like the way they feel to be honest. i have long hair so when I put my hair in a bun the snap just feels weird and in the way. Plus I stopped wearing those when I was a kid. You can’t graduate to a fitted and go back down the ladder. Its a shame too, because there are some hats I would love to buy, but pass them up if they’re snapbacks.
How many hats do you currently own?
I currently own about 380 fitted hats, probably a little more by the time this comes out lol.
Are all your fitted hats New Era?
95% New Era and the other 5% Mitchell and Ness.
What brand do you work for and what do you do for them?
I’m the Head Designer for a brand you might know called 10 Deep. I do everything and anything that comes from the brand, from new body styles, patterns, prints, graphics, collabs, headwear, cut n sew. I have my hands in pretty much everything we do product wise for the past 12 seasons and forward. I manage all headwear design as well showing a little more tlc to our new eras of course.
Does that mean you collect all the branded 10 Deep hats you guys release?
Somewhat yes. We do a lot of snap backs, 5 panels, campers, etc. but I only collect the New Era fitteds. We brought them back into the scene I wanna say Holiday of 2011, and since we regrettably skip my size (7 3/4) its also a plus for me since I do make all the samples in my size I keep all the cancelled / scrapped / sampled hats.
What’s it like being a designer and a collector? Do you find yourself critiquing other brands or hat designs you see?
Its dope man I must say. I support a lot of stores and brands so i get blessed a lot with goodies and people hold me down since I’m a big sneaker collector as well as hats. I do critique, ALOT. But I feel that all artists do, as Im positive my work gets critiqued all the time. Believe me there are somethings I don’t like and it still gets put out, thats just the name of the game and how it is in this industry. Thats also why Im so choosey with the stores/brands i support. If the hat is ass Im not buying/wearing it. And that goes for my own brand and stores/brands Ive supported for years.
What are your thoughts on Character caps?
Don’t do character ones like star wars, xmen, cartoons, etc I feel those just have way too much going on. And since I’m a huge sneaker collector as well I don’t really like my hats being louder than my shoes.
Being in New York. What is your favorite place to shop for hats?
Usually I hit up mom & pop spots out in Jamaica, Queens thats where i usually come up and can haggle good deals for multiple sales, Harlem has some good places too, as far as chains I go to Hat Club SoHo from time to time, NE flag ship barely ever. I mostly do all my shopping online on ecapcity or cranium fitteds back when they used to do those bangin sales, and random retailer boutiques to show some support.
What are your favorite hats out of your entire collection?
I would have to say my Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s and Farmers Market Hawaii collections are my favorite right now.
Do you stick with specific teams or do you go beyond a select few?
Im not very selective as far as teams go in the NBA/MLB/NHL, unless its NFL i ONLY wear Steeler hats, but other than that if the hat is dope then Im gonna cop it, but my favorite ones are clearly my Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners, which I have doubles and triples of the basics. I usually steer clear from anything Boston or anything NY can’t rock with them at all, although i do have a NY Highlanders cap which I couldn’t pass up on
Being from the Bay Area and living in New York how did you find yourself collecting so many Seattle Mariners caps?
Ive always really like the Mariners for some reason, I wear a lot of Navy and i love that S logo, plus one of fav players is Ichiro Suzuki, even tho it sucks he plays for the Yankees now.
Out of all your Seattle Mariners caps which one is the rarest piece and why?
I think the rarest (at least to me) is my Ichiro fitted, with the 51 and the Rising Sun flag, I’ve never seen a hat like that before and I’m not even sure on the story behind it, its strange and mysterious so I had to have it in my collection
How did you land it?
For the Ichiro exclusive, my boy who is half Japanese has a brother who lives out there, he hit him up for me, had him get it and ship it out to me straight from Japan, I was too hyped!
What is your connection to the A’s?
A’s is home man. A’s is life. I’m from Vallejo and with Oakland just across the bridge how could I not be an A’s fan. I’m born an A’s fan and I’ll die an A’s fan.
Do you only collect patch series from the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners?
No not exclusively, those are just the ones I’ve come across, I have plenty that don’t have patches but I think the patches just make them a little more special to me. I don’t really like all the crazy color ways and on-field, diamond era and all that new crap. With the side patches i know I’m getting a classic color way with a nice little piece of history on the side.
Do you feel its better to store your collection by color? What are your tricks that your willing to share?
Most definitely. Having a large collection sucks sometimes tho. It always takes forever once you have your mind set on a specific hat you wanna wear. I sort it by color and teams and brands/stores. I don’t really have any tricks to share, other than take advantage of the empty boxes at your local lids/hat club/new era stores they’ll be more than happy to give you those boxes and it makes clean and easy storage for you.
What would you say are the standout ones you’ve got?
In my collection as a whole? Id say my Farmers Market Hawaii ones, you don’t ever see that on the East Coast, next to never. So those stand out pretty hard out here.
Where do you scoop all of your Farmers Market New Era hats?
Since these things sell out in literally minutes, I have to out source. Ive gotten very lucky with trades with cats from the Islands / California / Even the midwest, Ive only caught one by a phone order, and others Ive gotten by working with my boy Brandon from Heffs/AOF (All Out Foul) the barbershop / Hat Store in SF
What can you tell us about your dealings with the brand and why you like them so much?
I support em 100%. I don’t buy everything they drop but I got a lot of love for the brand as a whole. Even tho they’re HUGE in Hawaii, California, etc. They’re still the little guys in this “street wear game” industry as a whole compared to the Diamonds, Black Scales, 10Deeps, Staples, etc. I have family in Hawaii and they put me on, plus I’m half polynesian and to see a brand like that doin it makes me happy to see them doing great things. I briefly met a couple of the owners of FMHI at Agenda LV earlier this year and they were extremely humble dudes doing what they love to do how could you not support that?
What do you feel the headwear/streetwear game is like in New York? Would you say its clicky as f*%#?
It is. Very. I don’t hang out in the cool crowds cuz most of these dudes are corny and always trying to out next the next person lol. Its weird cuz its like a click inside a very clicky industry anyway. A bunch of dudes trying to be the coolest guy by saying idgaf how I look so it makes me cooler than the coolest guy you know. I see it all the time, its just funny to me. I’m from the West Coast, We (or at least id like to think so) don’t get down like that, maybe its an East Coast thing? Or just a fashion thing in general..idk..all I know is I just do what I do and I leave the bullshit for those birds.
Deadline, where do you think they are at as a company and where do you think they are going?
Hmm tough to say. Deadline, those dudes are my peoples tho, Junbug and NA are the reason why Im at where I’m at now. I was their very first official designer for a while. I think they are doing well tho, it has definitely come along way since I was their head designer, I want them to succeed, and blow up. It all takes time, but I mean they are heavy hitters in the underground street wear scene, done collabs with most major labels, Diamond, Crooks, Ssur, Black Scale, Primitive, TDE, etc. They’re on the rise, so don’t sleep!
Any final words?
I would like to thank you guys at NECT for the fun interview, it was nice to let my hats out and take a much needed breather. And a major thank you to my puppy Juice (he’s a miniature dachshund) for not eating up my hats while I’m at work lol