Itâ€™s been eight long years since Jason Maggio co-founded Vapors Magazine, and almost two years since he launched The Official Brand. An exclusive collection of fitteds, The Official Brand offers a limited number of headwear in various colorways and designs. The products are sold in less than 50 shops globally and distributed to only five select stores online. Prices range from $42 for a classic cap to $120 for limited edition, high fashion collaborations.
â€œ[LA] invented skate culture and itâ€™s emulated around the world. And you canâ€™t tell me that high-end fashion lines from France, Italy and NY havenâ€™t bitten from skate.â€
Format: What were some of the frustrations or discrepancies you noticed with other cap brands in terms of style and size that made you want to launch The Official?
Jason Maggio: I think the inspiration came from the fact that the hats I wanted to wear werenâ€™t being produced. Most of the New Era caps are pretty generic as far as the approach is concerned — wool, with 3D embroidery on the crown. I like things flipped. We just came out flipping, strong fabrics, patterns, printing and focused on offering an alternative to what was being offered as a fitted hat.
As far as the style, we just went through a very long process of developing a profile and quality production that we considered in the end would be regarded as the quintessential fit. The crown has a curve that is perfect, not too high, not too low. The depth is perfect, all the stitching is on point, and we literally quality control every single hat that comes off the production line. I can honestly say that Matt and I have personally touched and checked over 90% of the hats weâ€™ve sold.
Format: The Official Brand caps are strong in prints, patterns and colors. They are also very reflective of LA culture, but what about the conservative contemporary that just wants to buy a plain fitted cap?
Jason Maggio: We do have some more conservative fitted caps in our offerings already. We did several Italian wool micro-houndstooth hats last season we dubbed as â€œgrown-man-fits.â€ We also did a Giorgio Armani suiting wool pinstripe fitted that retailed at $120. We will always offer a line of hats that appeal to a more mature and refined consumer. This is consistent with our own personal styling as well. We rock the florescent â€œFuckersâ€ hats just as much as we rock the â€œArmaniâ€™s.â€ The hat youâ€™re rocking can telegraph your mood or steez for the day so we want to provide hats that help our customers define their daily M-O.
Format: You tend to release one-time drops. What is the draw towards limited editions? If a cap does well will you manufacture another round?
Jason Maggio: This concept is derived from the simple desire to be able to rock something that not everybody else and their cousin already has. The less available, the less chance your style is going to get poached by another kid that knows whatâ€™s up with Official. At this point, when you rock an Official hat out in public amongst your peers they know whatâ€™s up. They know you made some moves to get that hat and that has a lot of value in an era where street fashion is becoming so commercialized and mass marketed. We might flip the colorway and make another run but the original drop is one and done.
Format: What is your opinion on New Yorkers who say that Californians don’t have any real culture and that’s reflective in your fashion lines?
Jason Maggio: Iâ€™d say thatâ€™s a pretty ignorant statement and that person probably hasnâ€™t spent much time in California. If I use one example Iâ€™d let them know our skate culture and is super thick. Think about it, we invented skate culture and itâ€™s emulated around the world. And you canâ€™t tell me that high-end fashion lines from France, Italy and NY havenâ€™t bitten from skate. I also think Northern California and Southern California have very distinct differences in their respective cultures. In the north we have Hyphy, EMB, SACTO slash dogs and just a more rugged and weathered look and feel. The south is a little more polished, Hollywood and OC oriented.
Format: Whatâ€™s the difference between a skater brand and a street fashion brand?
Jason Maggio: There is still a pretty definable difference. There are companies that are blurring the lines. There are also companies that have no business blurring the lines but are attempting to do so. There are blaring examples of streetwear, and even urban, brands trying to build skate teams and do all sorts of corny skate related promotions and marketing. On the skate side, I donâ€™t really see too many skate brands forcing a capture of the street fashion market share. It comes pretty organically for them, if the designs and branding is dope, the streetwear kids will want it.
Format: What is the premise behind the Fuckers line?
Jasion Maggio: Itâ€™s just taking something that is socially obstructive and celebrating it. Everybody is a fucker but only a few are bold enough to admit it. And even fewer are bold enough to advertise it! Weâ€™re going to have a lot of fun with flipping the Fuckers colorways and materials. Youâ€™re going to see Fuckers hats popping up in the oddest places in the near future. It will be a trip.
Format: Which era has had the biggest effect in molding streetwear to what it is today?
Jason Maggio: EMB days. So, 1990-1994. The attitude was swagger, fashion and influencing the kids that Embarcadero had on the fashion world. And it still exists to this day. In fact, many of them work at companies in creative positions that give them opportunities to pull from their past and inject it where it fits with what theyâ€™re doing today.
Format: You’ve used the Kefaya scarf on a few of your caps in various colorways. Do you feel that this Arab pattern has lost its political effectiveness with the over-usage in today’s popculture?
Jason Maggio: Using the Shemaghs or Kefayas actually taught us a lot about the political, cultural and even regional significance the scarves play in middle-eastern life. We did our homework upfront regarding the colorways and their meanings in different regions but so many people came out of the woodwork with their two cents as soon as the hats dropped. The British SAS YouTube video we did received over 110,000 views, thatâ€™s a lot for a DIY video on fitted hats. I feel that our take on the scarves were more fashion oriented and most people recognized that. In the end weâ€™re proud that we took such a significant aspect to middle-eastern culture and flipped it to work with our own fashion sensibility without harming or damaging the credibility of the scarf itself.
Format: What is a Bachinsky?
Jason Maggio: I donâ€™t know, I asked Matt (whoâ€™s sitting next to me) and he says itâ€™s some dude on City skateboards. If that not the correct answer, Iâ€™d guess that it was some method or position Polish people say to have sex outdoors in winter without getting cold, i.e. She did a â€œbachinskyâ€ on me.
More Info: http://shop.theofficialbrand.com/
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