Retail Director, Sid Dey, talks launch of New Era store in Toronto [Interview]
Toronto, ON – Canada enters a new headspace as the world’s premier headwear designer, New Era Cap, setup a flagship location in the heart of Toronto’s trendy fashion district. On August 3rd, 2007, hat enthusiasts found a Mecca with a vast selection of New Era exclusives. Much like the cubbyholes they place their limited edition fitteds in, the shop at 202 Queen St. West has become home to collaborations, T.O. Exclusives, and crossover caps that promise to make fashion heads of all sorts salivate.
With three highly successful flagship stores in New York City, London, UK and Buffalo, NY, New Era now turns it eye to Toronto, Canada. “The opening of our first Canadian flagship store, and our second international store this year, shows just how powerful the New Era brand has become,” said New Era’s Retail Director, Sid Dey. “Not only can we interact with our fans and attract new consumers with our flagship stores, but we can offer them a place to discover the breadth of our line, check out our continuous innovative and fresh looks and really experience all that is New Era.”
HipHopCanada: Why have you chosen Toronto as the location for your newest flagship store?
New Era: The “rollout” strategy that we wanted to set out was to have a global presence, in key cities around the world. Instead of setting our sights on just one concentrated area, we will have a great representation of our flagship stores all over in fashionable/ lifestyle cities. By the end of this year, we will have 6 stores across 3 countries, including Toronto.
HHC: The hip hop world has been staying dipped in New Era fitteds for well over a decade. Like a crispy pair of sneakers, the 59FIFTY is a staple in hip-hop fashion. With all the negative criticism of hip-hop from North American media, how does New Era feel about this relationship?
New Era: One of the best things about New Era is that we touch so many market segments. From the hip-hop/urban style you mention here, to the action sports world, the good old sports fan and even women and kids. We embrace every single market and design specifically for them.
HHC: In past years, we’ve seen a number of trends in New Era hats, from baby blue Yankee hats of the late 90s to the pin-wheels of the early2000s to the current trend of bright colours and ‘all-over’ prints. What is New Era’s role in the advancement of hip hop fashion?
New Era: New Era is an accessory brand that hooks up with trends happening in the fashion industry worldwide. I don’t think we’ve had a role in advancing just hip-hop fashion; the design innovation behind our caps from everywhere including street fashion, couture and sports heritage.
HHC: I’ve seen some people around with the New Era / Clipse hats New Era also did a run of hats for Toronto’s Rochester aka Juice. What other hip-hop artists has New Era worked with?
New Era: Well, Spike Lee was the first way back in 1996. Since then, we’ve worked on collaborations (in terms of cap designs) with celebrities like Fabolous and DJ Green Lantern (as well as The Diplomats) to athletes like Rogers Clemens and Harold Hunter. What artists have caps coming out? We have a lot coming down the pike later this year and in 2008, but we can’t talk about them yet.
HHC: Any other Canadians?
New Era: Yep… DJ A-Trak.
HHC: I know New Era has come out with some t-shirts and accessories. Can we expect a complete fashion line in the future?
New Era: Right now we’re focused creating fashion forward, sports inspired tees, polos and hoodies; all of which hooks up with our headwear. Our apparel line is exclusive to our flagship stores now, but will be available for the mass in spring 2008.
HHC: What are some of the next exciting hats to drop? What collaborations can we anticipate?
New Era: One exciting thing people can always expect from New Era are cool, creative custom caps like our “All Over Smiley” cap which makes its global debut at the Toronto store today! As well as the “Toronto Stacked” cap. As for collaborations, we really can’t mention much right now, but we have some big names in the works from the world of hip-hop.
HHC: With all the collaborations and small-run projects that New Era is approached with, how often is New Era forced to turn projects down?
New Era: We get requests all the time from different brands and artists etc. At the end of the day we can’t do them all, but we try to work with a wide variety of projects that make sense for our brand and theirs as well as our consumers.
HHC: If New Era had the opportunity to work with any visual artist, living or dead, what would be the “dream collaboration”?
New Era: I think that list would be endless. There are so many great artists and legends that have had such an impact on so many people, but just imagine if we ever had that Babe Ruth or Biggie Collab!
Editor’s note: For more information on New Era check out http://www.neweracap.com and be sure to check out the flagship location in the heart of Toronto’s trendy fashion district (202 Queen St. West).
Written by Arowbe for HipHopCanada