For our latest edition of Cap Talk, we connect with Adelaide, Australia-based New Era enthusiast Lewis Averillo-Singh, who has been collecting New Era caps since 2012. His first fitted was the “Monster Mouth” 59FIFTY, a cap that Lewis feels is “the definition of my style,” and the “gateway drug into the terror that is cap addiction.” In the short period of time that Lewis has been collecting, he has amassed almost 50 New Era caps, in a wide variety of licenses, designs, and styles. Hit the jump and check out our interview with Lewis Singh to find out about his favorite caps in his collection, his dream New Era collaborations, and the one cap that has “constantly evaded” him since he started collecting. What’s on your mind? Want to show off your collection? Hit us up at email@example.com.
Name: Lewis Averillo-Singh
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Cap Size: 7 5/8
Social Handles: facebook.com/apediagnosis, @apediagnosis on Twitter
You’ve been collecting caps since 2012. What inspired you to start collecting?
I’d always been a bit of a hat person, but nothing ever fit my massive head particularly well. I tried on a friend’s 59FIFTY at a party and noticed the higher quality fit and embroidery right away, and after doing some research I discovered the brand’s wide range of artist collaborations, which led to me getting my first cap. It exploded from there, and has become a big part of my identity and means of self expression.
One of your first and favorite caps is the “Monster Mouth” 59FIFTY. What does this hat mean to you?
This was my first ever New Era cap and it sums up everything I love about the brand and its amazing history of collaborations. The loud colors, the thick embroidery and satin inner… it’s the definition of my style and was the gateway drug into the terror that is cap addiction.
You are strictly a New Era collector: Why do you only collect New Era caps? What does the New Era brand mean to you?
It was a conscious decision from the start once I realized New Era was so far ahead in terms of collaborations and licenses. I do see some great original caps from brands like Huf and Mishka, but I have to limit myself somehow. As my collection has grown so has my respect for the New Era brand and their history, and releases like the Spike Lee series are reminders of how influential the brand has been.
You have almost 50 hats in your collection, and you’ve only been collecting since 2012! Do you plan on stopping any time soon?
I went a bit mad and got the bulk of my collection in 2013. Senses kicked in eventually and I’ve slowed down, but I have no plans whatsoever to stop collecting as long as the brand keeps doing what they do.
It’s really hard to name favorites… all of my caps have a story or particular meaning. “The Pigeon” cap is a lot about my connection to London, even though it’s from Staple, a New York brand. The “Hibiscus” A-Frame gets the most wear, it gets a lot of love. The Fresh Prince style “Jamz” cap by Yums is so fun and over the top… My velcro patch cap from UK brand YesNoMaybe is really unique; they sell heaps of their own velcro patches online for you to customize your cap… My Portsmouth script cap was an exclusive from Capkandi, my local cap shop whilst I was attending university in Portsmouth. These are just a few that come to mind, I have a different favorite each week.
You are originally from the UK, and now live in Adelaide, Australia. Where do you get most of your hats? What challenges do you face in finding the caps you want?
Footlocker gets some decent drops, and there’s the odd streetwear store dotted around, but I make most of my purchases online. I was lucky enough to visit the Culture Kings store in Melbourne earlier this year where I picked up a Wu-Tang 9FIFTY, but most of the time it’s eBay or official sites.
Are there any local hat stores you can recommend to other collectors?
If you’re based in the UK check out Capkandi.com, or visit the store in Portsmouth. Route One in Tunbridge Wells has some great skate brand collaborations and the YesNoMaybe website is definitely worth a look if you want something totally unique. And of course the New Era flagship stores in Soho and Stratford are amazing.
You live with your girlfriend. Does she also collect caps?
Haha, in a way she does! She purchased pretty much half of mine so she’s only got herself to blame for my obsession. Her own love for fashion let’s me collect caps without much guilt, and as a result she knows more about New Era than anyone else I know. Lots of support! Everyone else thinks I need to calm down though.
You said that you would love to see a Ren & Stimpy collaborative New Era collection. Are there any other New Era dream collaborations you would like to see in the future?
Ren & Stimpy is a must! I’m a 90’s kid so I was bred on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Rocko’s Modern Life, Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, SpongeBob… they’ve all made their way into 90’s revival fashion at some point and there’s never a bad time to put them on a New Era. TV and film collaborations… there are so many possibilities. A Game Of Thrones house sigil series is a no brainer for me. Adventure Time is destined to happen at some point. Ghostbusters has been mentioned before and I’m really not sure why it hasn’t happened. A Breaking Bad collab would make my head implode. And just classic film logos like Jaws, Jurassic Park or The Godfather would be welcome! I’d also love to see another Odd Future collaboration, and a Halo series would be awesome. I’m imagining a metallic Master Chief in the vein of the Iron Man helmet caps…
You’ve been burned a few times by receiving fake New Era caps off of Ebay. What steps do you take when buying caps online to make sure that what you’re getting is an authentic New Era product?
I’m a lot better at spotting fakes than I was; it didn’t really occur to me early on that there were so many in circulation. The NECTalk forum has helped me steer clear of a few dodgy sellers. If any of you collectors have a bad experience it’s always worthwhile to post about it because it really does help! Thankfully more US stores are shipping to Australia and the UK now, so I can take the direct route.
One cap that has “constantly evaded” you is the Dr Pepper 59FIFTY. Why is this cap special to you? Will you ever stop hunting for it?
This was one of the first caps I saw online before I’d even started my collection. Dr Pepper is my favorite soft drink and it’s been on the top of my wanted list since day one. I’m holding out for another soda collaboration soon; the original was New Era Japan only… But no, not giving up any time soon!
What was your favorite New Era release this year?
The Spike Lee Heritage series was an important event for collectors. I don’t know much about US sport in general but of course, without Lee’s request for a custom Yankees cap I probably wouldn’t be collecting New Era caps today. I also love Mishka’s latest, the “Autopsy Skull.” I feel like I NEED it.
Do you have any caps on your holiday wish list?
I’m a big fan of Stussy so I’m honing in on my first New Era from them, and a Crooks & Castles piece I originally missed out on in denim tiger camo from 2013. And if anyone is kind enough, the Mishka Autopsy Skull…
Which style of cap do you prefer: fitted or snapback – why?
Around the time I started collecting there was a huge resurgence of snapbacks in the UK, and the hipster in me decided to denounce them and stick to fitted caps only. But after seeing so many sick designs from New Era I gave in, and haven’t looked back since. My collection is now about half fitted and half snapbacks/strapbacks. I have a bit of an affinity for A-Frames, and snapbacks are lot more bearable in the Aussie weather, but I can’t say I prefer one style over the other. For me the design always comes first. I have a few campers too, though they don’t suit people with alien heads like me as well.
Any upcoming projects that you’re working on you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m currently working on my own designs for New Era caps, both original and branded. It’s a casual exercise but I’d love if it went any further. At the moment I’m designing several entries to The Clink Room, who host ongoing competitions and turn winning submissions into real New Era caps. Get involved if you have any ideas! As for the branded designs, I might start a poll of some sort with collectors. Who knows, we might even attract New Era’s attention and inspire some collaborations like those previously mentioned. You can check out the designs and other stuff like film reviews and videos at facebook.com/apediagnosis (Like and share, naturally!)
Any final words?
A huge thank you to the people at New Era Cap Talk. It’s an honor to contribute to the cap community and a little surreal too, keep doing what you do, and perhaps a NECT collaboration wouldn’t be a bad idea either! To collectors, thanks for reading and keeping our community legitimate and passionate. To New Era, please share your Japanese and Korean exclusives with the rest of the world. And to the alien heads out there, love your massive head. Unless you wear an 8, if you wear an 8 you need to get that shit looked at.