I never really thought I wore hats all that much until folks started rolling up on me like “Didn’t recognize you with hair!” It’s cool guys, I forget people’s names all the time too. Occupational hazard. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I suppose I am a bit of a headgear aficionado after all. Or at the very least, someone qualified enough to make a list on the internet. Here’s my top ten chapeaux highlights for 2008 (Ninteeen Naughty Three Plus Fifteen), balancing the trends I noticed with the personal highlights I actually wore. Let’s get it!
10. The Elmer Fudd
Rappers have been rocking the Elmer Fudd for decades, with Ghostface doing it the biggest (literally and figuratively) in his 2004 video for “Run.” But in 2008 earflaps became a daily operation for MCs like Kid Cudi, Asher Roth and even good ol’ Juelz. Aye!
9. The Rebirth of the Snapback
Another classic look bubbling for a few years, but launching into full-on comeback mode in 2008 thanks to retro-inspired designers (Mishka, The Hundreds) making new versions, and deadstock stores like Coat Of Arms in NYC selling OGs from Starter and those leather MCM joints spotted on fashion plates like Taz from Sa-Ra. I even copped an official New Jersey DEA snap back that’s very dear to my heart (no narc-o).
8. Mishka / Cap City Alternative Colors
There’s still life in the regular old fitted though. My BK brethren at Mishka teamed up with Jersey store Cap City for a very limited line of alternate color sports team hats – the concept been done before, but the consistency and execution on these collabs sold me, like the unexpected purple / teal / black (with yellow accents!) NJ Devils joint that kicked the series off at the top of the year.
7. Flying Coffin Pyramid Fitted
On a similar note, Seattle’s FC crew nailed it with their simple yet awesome pyramid cap in two stitched-up, absolutely perfect colorways, a silver / black / blood-red model and a companion cap in neon Air Max 95 hues. Metal inspired graphics are usually too over the top for me, but these? Hail Satan!
6. Brooklyn Basements 1992 Stadium Cap
This throwback collaboration between Brooklyn Basements and the successful 1992 party in NYC was a heartfelt love letter to Ralph Lauren in the form of a well-constructed, utilitarian cap that prepsters and Polo Ricans alike could all get behind.
5. FADER Indie Rock Fittedâ€™s
Most music-based New Era collaborations are with MCs and rap labels. My old pals at FADER got a gang of bearded oddballs to design them instead, and the results were a lot less wavy gravy (and a lot more wearable!) than you would have ever expected. Panda Bear and No Age had the best of the bunch, and I’m looking forward to the Gang Gang Dance edition that’s up next.
4. Rave Ears
I saw a lot of, shall we say, “ecstatic” fashion this year, but the furry animal rave ears were a personal favorite. Pase Rock’s Japanese Lilo and Stitch joint FTW.
3. Commonwealth Varsity Fitted
I probably wore this leather brimmed woolie from DC’s impeccable Commonwealth more than any other hat in 2008. Like everything else in the store’s line, it’s simple and timeless fashion for dudes, with just enough of a twist (pins!) to keep things interesting.
2. Grown-up Joints
There’s not a real name for the classy, “adult” brimmed look that hit fever pitch in 08. Some are more like fedoras, others more Run DMC, and a few unfortunate porkpies fall into “ska” territory. But when it works, it works, like A-Trak following in the footsteps of fellow Hebrew troubadours like Bob Dylan (or the Ronson family!). Beard optional.
1. Leather Yankees Fitted
Ok, I spoke too soon – this one probably beat out the Commonwealth as my hat of the year, and definitely the hat I wore the most while DJing and at clubs (like here, at the Heartthrob party in Boston). A lot of labels put out their own leathers in 2008 but none beat the good old New Era Yanks. Simple and classic FTW!
Nick Catchdubs is a Brooklyn-based DJ and co-founder of the Fool’s Gold record label with fellow DJ A-Trak and designer Dust La Rock. In 2008 he collaborated on critically-acclaimed and blog-beloved mixtapes with Wale (“The Mixtape About Nothing”) and Izza Kizza (“Kizzaland”), shared stages with everyone from RZA to Rihanna, and rocked solo sets at nightclubs all around the world. Stay tuned for more mixes, production and parties in 09…