Monday, December 29, 2014

Collectors Corner with Ordanny Olivo

     It goes without saying aloud; the New Era Cap culture is a part of us. It's a daily feature of our lives. It shows the world many things: where we're from, what we love, and conclusively who we are.  Some like to use the phrase "I wear my heart on my sleeve"; I like to think some of us "Wear our hearts on our heads". Regardless of that, the more intriguing thought is that (conversely) we are part of the New Era Cap culture. That little facet of our community is where our guest, Ordanny Olivo, comes in.

     Along with his great appreciation of everything 59Fifty, Ordanny also has a fondness and talent for graphic design. The obvious question here would be if he would somehow be able to combine the two fields. This venture, which can now be seen all over #TeamFitted social media, wound up being what most would consider a highlight in the past year of the cap-culture. With his unique adaptions of the famous 59Fifty size sticker, Ordanny was able to infuse a little bit of each collector with the New Era style. With this, he has put his mark on the fitted world for the better. Take a couple of minutes to learn about Mr. Olivo, and what makes him tick.

TFD: Where are you from?

OO: I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. My family is from Dorado, Puerto Rico.

TFD: What initially drew your interest into the fitted cap culture?

OO: Baseball. I played baseball growing up, and always kept my caps. As I got older, I just started buying them, for the teams I liked. Last year was when I started seeing all the collectors on Instagram; it just blew up from there.

TFD: What was your first cap?

OO: Technically, the first cap I ever owned (that I can remember) was the Chicago White Sox cap. As far as when I started collecting, it was a New York Yankees cap, I got for Christmas.

TFD: How strong is the love for the New Era where you live?

OO: Well, Detroit was voted "Best Sports City", so I would say pretty strong. Pretty much, everywhere you go, you see someone wearing a Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, or Pistons New Era Cap on!

TFD: How many caps do you claim on your collection?

OO: I currently have 68, with 4 on the way!

TFD: You clearly have an affinity and talent for graphic design, through some of the personalized work you've cooked up, for some of the Team Fitted guys. Is that something you do in a professional capacity?

OO: Unfortunately, no. In high school, I took a Photoshop class and learned a lot of the basics. Through the years, I've just learned by trying things and watching videos on YouTube. It is something that I might pursue in the near future, though.

(Above, a design Ordanny created for myself,)

TFD: What sports do you call yourself a real fan of?

OO: Baseball and football. I can sit down and watch any two teams play, and enjoy the game. I just love the two sports. Hockey I watch on occasion.

TFD: What teams do you follow?

OO: There are a few teams. For baseball, first over all others, are the Tigers; my hometown team. I also like the Pirates and the Orioles. For football, it would also be my hometown team; the Lions. I also like the Broncos, Eagles, and Jaguars. Yes, I know the Jaguars suck. Haha. For hockey, my teams would be the Red Wings and the Ducks.

TFD: What is your all-time go-to cap?

OO: That's an easy question. Detroit Tigers Authentic home cap. All navy blue, with the white "D". I can throw that on with anything.

TFD: Are there any "holy grail" caps on your list that you still cannot seem to find?

OO: YES! The Jackie Robinson "42" Brooklyn Dodgers cap, that was released for the "42" movie. That's on the top of my list.

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

OO: 7 1/8

TFD: The Team Fitted custom sticker logos have become somewhat legendary, on the Team Fitted Facebook page. Which of your adaptations is your favorite?

OO: Yes, they have; they are all amazing in their own way. My favorite one would have to be the Breast Cancer Awareness one. I have an aunt who is a recent survivor of Breast Cancer. I'm amazed at the outcome of that sticker!

TFD: Are there any markets of sport or pop culture, which New Era has not yet tapped into, that you wish would one day become an on-cap collaboration?

OO: For me, personally, I would have to say NASCAR. I'm a huge fan. New Era does have some NASCAR caps, but they are not in the 59Fifty style.

TFD: If you could design your own fitted, what would it look like?

OO: It would definitely have one of my logos on it. I have a few unreleased ones. It would be a Diamond Era; all black, with the front white. The logo would be black and white; simple. It would also have a white New Era flag on the side.

TFD: If the readers of this would like to follow you and your creative work, where should they look on social media?

OO: On Facebook, you can find me under "Ordanny Olivo. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person with that name, so it's an easy find. For Instagram and Twitter, my handle is @0rdanny; the first character is a zero ("0").

     Thank you, Ordanny. You're a great part of our growing fitted cap culture. We look forward to your great work in the near future. Keep it up!

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi


Monday, October 20, 2014

Collectors Corner with Reagan Lee

     Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder; it's one of the greatest parts of life. Everyone has a different view of the world and everything in it. Whereas all New Era collectors and fans can appreciate the companies fine products through their website, in a store, or on the streets via someone else's style, Reagan Lee has been offering his perspective through his game-changing fitted photography. Let's take a minute to delve deeper into the creative genius from the Down Under.

TFD: Where are you from and where do you currently reside?

RL: I'm an Aussie residing in the North-West suburbs of Sydney. 

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

RL: This is a never-ending battle with the hat marks across my forehead, as I'm between a 7 and a 7 1/8, so most caps either need stretching or shrinking. 

TFD: Do you have a current count of your collection?

RL: Yep. If I counted correctly, I should have 156 in hand, with a bunch of others coming from Team Fitted friends. 

TFD: What is your favorite fitted that you own?

RL: You've got me there! That may have to be a close call between the Monopoly 500, for its sweet, minimalist logo design, with a funky Monopoly cash brim, or my Blue Jays pixelated stadium exclusive, for its simplicity, and pixels having a soft spot with me, having grown up with the old school PC games, like Quake II. (Thanks to @disneynorth for this one!) 

TFD: Along with being a fantastic collector, you are perhaps, more well known for your incredible photography of New Era Caps. Where do you draw your inspiration from, when shooting?

RL: Initially, it stemmed from the fact that I love my caps, but I only have one head; I can't logically carry them all with me, either, so, I decided to keep a nice archive of images on my e-devices. Each time I enter a shoot, I prepare by researching ideal locations of what I find relates to the New Era culture; for example, urban locations and graffiti. In saying that, I'm very open to branching out to other settings, such as nature and retro, should it fit with a particular cap and helps showcase it nicely with a frame.

TFD: How long have you been involved in photography?

RL: I've been into photography since I was in school over a decade ago. I took it seriously and earned a degree in graphic design and photography from a university, back in 2008. The funny thing is that I currently work for a photographic retailer, so I am able to stay up to date with all the new products. 

TFD: Being from Australia, what sports would you say you are a fan of?

RL: I like the NRL (National Rugby League), but my heart lies with basketball (the NBA), and football (the NFL). I am a huge Olympics buff, too, so once every four years I'll drop off the face of the planet, for two weeks!

TFD: What are your favorite teams

RL: NRL: Parramatta Eels (my local team.)
       NBA: Chicago Bulls (I will NEVER forget the Jordan era.)

TFD: If you had to name one, where is THE PLACE to shop for caps, in your neck of the woods?

RL: Like they say, a magician never shares his secrets ;)

TFD: You are the man 100% behind the Team Fitted Secret Santa organized event, this winter. Care to discuss that a little bit?

RL: The idea stemmed from a conversation, initiated by @tanxican. We were discussing how it would be a neat idea to have an event, such as this, to encourage a sense of community, and allow people to bond with someone whom they normally wouldn't chat with, otherwise. I had the privilege to experience Secret Santa with another community (Threadless) in the past, and I thought it would be perfect for Team Fitted.

TFD: What is your favorite part about the whole process?

RL: So far, it would be seeing others make the effort to discover more about their recipient. Though, I think my favorite part is yet to come; seeing people unbox on Christmas Day, and having them post pictures for the rest to see. There should be some good smiles and laughs coming out of that. 

TFD: Do you plan on creating group events in the future? There could be a lot of potential. Perhaps a "birthday club" type scenario?

RL: There's definitely potential for many events, as we're grown, responsible adults, for the most part! We'll see how the first big test pans out, but never say never!

TFD: What do you like most about the fitted community?

RL: Without a doubt, it's peoples' willingness to help each other out, with obtaining caps that would otherwise be impossible to get! People are also nice and respectful, which is a rare trait found in online communities, these days. 

TFD: Are there any "Holy Grail" fitteds that you are searching for, that some of our readers might be able to help you out with?

RL: I think I've been fortunate to have obtained most, thanks to Team Fitted. The one that has eluded me is the Cheshire Cat; well, at least a legitimate one. Sadly, every single one on eBay is fake.

TFD: Lastly, if our viewers would like to follow you and/or your photography, where should they look?

RL: I am most active on Instagram, @madhattereags , but viewers may also check out all my photos, to date, uncropped, in their full glory, at . Links to my Twitter and Facebook are there, also. 

     Thanks, everyone!

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Collectors Corner with Adam Gordon

     As far as cap collectors are concerned, the only name in fitted hats is New Era. The company has literally produced 99% of coveted collections, all over the world. It's more than something to be a fan of, it's become it's own culture; some would even go as far as claiming it as borderline religion.

      For most, it's something we have only followed, admired, collected, and adored from a safe distance. For others, such as the CrewEra13 group, it is a tangible, yet temporary experience of what it is like to be immersed in the brand, itself. However, even fewer get to live it, on a daily basis. Today, we find out what it's like to manage the only New Era Flagship store, North of the U.S. border. This is Adam Gordon.

TFD: Clearly, you have a love for the fitted culture. When did you first start collecting?

AG: I've never really looked at myself as a collector, but someone with a passion for fitted caps. If I was to put a date on it though, it would be around 2001.

TFD: What size cap do you personally wear?

AG: I'm a 7 3/8's

TFD: How many caps do you currently have?

AG: I haven't really taken an accurate count of my caps. I have a lot compared to the normal man/woman, but nothing like the guys from CrewEra13.

TFD: What professional teams do you tend to root for?

AG: The Baltimore Ravens, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Toronto Raptors.

TFD: Are there any specific "rules" you have, when it comes to what makes your collection?

AG: I feel everyone has their thing. I'm someone who likes basic, but unique. So, I can go anywhere from a basic on-field, to a custom color-way that expresses my style.

TFD: As some know, you are, in fact, the manager of the New Era Toronto Flagship store. When did that opportunity present itself?

AG: As a kid, I had a few shops that I always looked at as my dream jobs; West49, EB Games, Lids, and New Era Toronto. Two years ago, an opportunity to work at a local Lids store came up. I didn't really know anything about retail, but the passion I felt towards the culture was so strong, it pushed me to learn all I could inside and outside of the workplace; I never gave up. Four months ago, the opportunity to work at New Era Toronto landed in my lap. Although it looks like I've become successful at landing my dream job, the passion is still burning, as I've set new, bigger goals for the future.

TFD: To most, that sounds like an absolute dream job. What has been the best part about working there?

AG: I'd have to say the people I get to talk to, everyday; getting to know the people who make this culture what it is, today. Not only the customers, but the people who work behind the scenes to make sure we have the best and hottest product in the store at all times.

TFD: What is your favorite New Era Cap of all time; something you would claim to be a "must have"?

AG: Well, a must have in my collection would be the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl cap. Also, the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays World Series cap; very simple, but it's something I'll forever have in my collection.

TFD: What has been your favorite collaboration that you have seen New Era put together?

AG: New Era's collaboration with Play Cloths, Billionaire Boys Club, and Kid Robot have been some of my favorites.

TFD: Is there any company you wish New Era would collaborate with, that they haven't worked with, yet?

AG: I can't really think of anything off the top of my head. I'm pretty satisfied with everything New Era has been doing.

TFD: Being the only Canadian-based New Era franchise, you feature the Canadian Football League (CFL) caps, which are rather scarce in the United States. Do you get many requests for those products?

AG: LOL! Yeah, from You! A few people have shown some interest in them, but our store is four floors high. We've got a ton of product that catches people's eyes.

TFD: Who has been your favorite client of New Era Toronto?

AG: Favorite or most frequent? Ha! James Hummel (@disneynorth) is definitely one of my favorite people to come into my store; he's in on a weekly basis. His passion for not only New Era Caps, but the Team Fitted world is insane. Shoutout to @neweraking2121 and @mitchell_21, as well, even though @mitchell_21 is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

TFD: You're a man of many tattoos. Do you have any devoted to the fitted?

AG: Haha. I have not committed to the fitted in that way, as of yet. You never know; could come soon!

TFD: If any of our readers would like to follow you, via social media, where can they find you?

AG: Of course!

        Instagram: NewEraGordon
        Twitter: NewEraGordon

     In closing to this week's post, I just wanted to thank Adam, for taking time out of his busy schedule to take part in this. It's not every day you get the chance to chat with someone as close to the product, as he is. Definitely give him a follow through those social media platforms.

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Collectors Corner with Simon Treese

     In this edition of Collectors Corner, here on The Fitted Diaries, we feature a great collector and cap designer from Europe. Simon Treese, whom is perhaps better know by his alias "Hat Hunter 09", took some time to answer a few questions about his collection and the German cap culture. 

TFD: Where are you from?

ST: I come from Eiweiler, Germany. It is a very small town near the French border.

TFD: What size fitted do you wear?

ST: Normally, I wear 7 1/2. Sometimes, due to materials, I wear 7 5/8.

TFD: What was your very first fitted?

ST: I am not sure because I bought my first one about 16 or 17 years ago. I think it was a Yankees fitted. Yankees fitteds are the most popular hats in Germany, I would guess. I have been collecting hats since I was a child, but I started specializing in New Era hats just about two or three years ago.

TFD: How large is your collection currently?

ST: I'm not quite sure, but I think I have around 105-110 fitteds at the moment. Due to pending orders I don't know the exact number.

TFD: What is the fitted culture like in Germany?

ST: I think there are more people collecting and wearing snap-backs, but I also think there are a lot of fitted freaks in some of the bigger towns in Germany. I know some people who are as crazy as I am. I think they are all in the Capaddicts Facebook group. 

TFD: You're the designer of the now renowned "Hat Hunter" cap that has been circulating the fitted community. What served as the inspiration for the unique design?

ST: I am always on the prowl for new fitteds. Therefore, I am wearing a trapper hat. I chose a stars and stripes outfit because I love the USA. I've visited the USA a few times. I am wearing a baseball glove (in the logo) because my favorite caps are usually MLB and MiLB fitteds.

TFD: Do you ever plan on working on another design?

ST: Not at the moment. I am considering making a second "Diamond Hat Hunter" version, though. 

TFD: What is your favorite sport? do you have many fitteds from that sport?

ST: As a German, my favorite sport is soccer. I am a big Borussia Dortmund supporter. Unfortunately, there are not that many fitteds for soccer. I mostly collect MiLB and MLB hats, but also some from other sports like  the NHL, the NBA, or the NFL.  

TFD: What are your current "holy grail" pieces that you wish to add to your collection?

ST: The "'MERICA" 59Fifty released for the 4th of July last year, and the "I got 99 problems" fitted.

TFD: Where do you do the majority of your shopping for New Era Caps?

ST: Lids, New Era Europe, and New Era U.S. Sometimes or I know very nice guys who always visit the New Era Flagship stores in Berlin and Toronto for me. Thanks to James and Norbert!

TFD: What is your favorite cap of all time?

ST: Of course my own designed "Hat Hunter" fitted, because it is my very own logo, and it is strictly limited. Thanks for all the guys who had the confidence to buy one from me.

TFD: If people want to find and follow you via social media where should they look?

ST: My Instagram is hathunter09. You can also find me on Facebook when you look for Simon Treese. I also have a Twitter account, but I don't use it often. Twitter is not very popular in Germany. 

     Thank you, Simon. Stay fitted, my friend.

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Collectors Corner with Dionic Danny

     For most of us in the fitted community, the ultimate goal is to one day create your own 59Fifty; not in the sense of the generic offereings of in it's customization opportunities, but to 100% make a fitted the way you'd like it to look, with your logos and designs. That may be one of the more unlikely goals for many, but for one it has come to fruition. 

     Today, we feature a collector and designer from The Netherlands. Dionic Danny, as he is known in the New Era world, has been dropping jaws with his classic artwork for some time now.  After you really take a minute to fully absorb the simplistic glory of his work via the fitted, we may all begin to refer to him as the true Dutch Master. 

TFD: What is your name and where are you from? 

DD: Hi. My name is Danny and I'm from Almere, in The Netherlands.

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

DD: My fitted size is 7 1/2

TFD: How long have you been collecting fitted caps?

DD: I ordered my first New Era cap on March 26th, 2011 (Thank you PayPal history!), so I've been collecting for three years, now.

TFD: What is the fitted culture like in The Netherlands?

DD: Plain. It's dominated by simple sports caps. That's why I like entertainment caps and all-over caps, because when I wear those I know I stand out from the crowd.

TFD: You're an artist. What originally sparked your interest in puting designs on New Era 59Fifty caps?

DD: I never really had a medium to put my designs out into the world. When I got into collecting 59Fifty caps, it became a dream to have one of those caps with one of my designs on it!

TFD: You are the creator of the now renowned "Fire Ant" and "Octo" caps. What was the inspiration behind those?

DD: "Octo" was the first because I've always had a sort of fascination with tentacles; they're easy to identify when you think of symbols/silhouettes. 

The "Fire Ant" was just me having a bit of fun thinking of what could look cool on a cap!

TFD: Will there ever be any re-productions of those, for sale?

DD: I've got an alternate "Octo" in my queue as well as three new "Fire Ant" caps; one alternate colorway, one alternate design, and one variant.

TFD: What is the next step for you in fitted design?

DD: More designs! I have a few caps planned out; only one of those is a re-run (but a different colorway). So, if you manage to get a cap I designed, you'll be sure to know it's a collectors item, due to the extremely limited availability. 

TFD: What is your favorite fitted cap of all time?

DD: Wow, that is a great question. After thinking about 15 minutes and trying to come up with an answer, I just have to say that I honestly can't pick a favorite. There are just so many great fitteds out there, that are great for various reasons. 

TFD: Do you have a favorite shop that you would call your "go-to" for all your fitted needs?

DD: Not really. I do a lot of my purchasing on eBay, because I have family in America that is always helping me out with that stuff; this way, I can get caps that aren't available here, and even save a few bucks. In The Netherlands, you can always go to a Go-Britain store to pick up a fresh sports fitted.

TFD: Is there a "holy grail", in terms of a cap you can't find but absolutely need?

DD: Yeah. I have a few, actually. Top 3 are the TRON Legacy Helmet, TRON Legacy all-over sketch, and the Alice In Wonderland all-over sketch. I already own the Thor, Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises sketch caps, so I'd love to get the other two, as well.

TFD: What, to you, makes your collection great?

DD: The all-overs set it apart from most collections you'd find. That, and the caps I designed myself, of course! It always reminds me of the community that has always supported me. Without the community, I wouldn't have made it past the "Octo" design!

TFD: If the readers want to follow you and your designs in the future, where can they find you on social media?

DD: I'm on Instagram and Twitter @dionicdesign, and on Facebook as Dionic Danny. 

Thanks again, to Danny. It was a really fun Q and A. Hopefully everyone here got as much out of it as I did. 

Stay fitted.

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Collectors Corner with James Hummel

     Today's collector, from the Great White North, is none other than James Hummel. Aside from being the father of the two little guys in the picture above, he is also an avid fitted collector from the outskirts of Toronto. Take a couple of minutes to get to know another great member of our fitted community.

TFD: Where are you from/where do you currently reside?

 JH: I'm from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where I have lived all my life. I actually live in a city just East, but I work in downtown Toronto.

TFD: What size 59Fifty New Era Cap do you wear?

JH: 7 5/8

TFD: What originally opened your eyes to the fine stylings of New Era Caps?

JH: I've always enjoyed wearing "what the pros wear". I started to see all these great MiLB logos and then discovered all of these other non-sport/baseball hats from companies. It just made sense that I could wear all of these great logos and graphic designs on a hat. Most importantly, I love fitteds!

TFD: Growing up, what sports interested you the most?

JH: First and foremost, baseball. I was born the year the Blue Jays started (1977) and I have grown up with the team. Since I'm Canadian, I also enjoy hockey. In the last 15 years, I've also become a big fan of auto racing (mostly F1).

TFD: What teams did you find yourself rooting for?

JH: All the Toronto teams; Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, and raptors.

TFD: How many New Era's do you currently own?

JH: I currently have 68, with seven on the way; that number has grown dramatically in the last 12 months!

TFD: What was your first New Era fitted and do you still have it?

JH: So, funny enough, my first 59Fifty wasn't even a Blue Jays cap. It was a Cleveland Indians cap. I went with my grandparents on a bus trip to see the Jays play the Indians, in Cleveland. I thought that it would be cool to collect the home team's cap for every MLB stadium I visited; kind of a different souvenir of places I visited. 

     I still have the hat; it sits proudly with my others. It is actually in really good shape, as I wore it infrequently, as I wanted to keep it clean. I can't wear it now, as it is two sizes too small. I'm afraid of stretching it up to my current size, because of it's age.

TFD: Did you play any sports growing up?

JH: I played baseball for most of my childhood. In high school, I swam competitively and tried my hand at rugby. In my twenties, I paddled in Dragon Boat. 

TFD: Where do you do the majority of your New Era shopping?

JH: So, working in downtown Toronto, I'm really lucky for where I am located. I am less than a ten minute walk from the New Era Flagship store (shout-out to Adam); I also have two Lids stores close by (one i pass everyday commuting on the train). I also buy online at and

TFD: Your alter-ego, of sorts, is Disney North. Do you have many Disney X New Era collaborations?

JH: With an online name like Disneynorth, I'm obviously a big Disney fan. I've had that name for about 18 years, now. I collect a lot of Disney stuff. Ironically, I do not own even one Disney X New Era hat. That is about to change. Three of the seven that I have on the way are Disney!; very excited about those.

     The Disney hats that were released last year (Steamboat Willie Redux) were not all that appealing. I'm still on the fence about buying them. I do have a bunch of Disney strap-backs that I bought at Walt Disney World. 

TFD: Are there any fitteds that you're searching for, that you'd considder your holy grail, that our readers may be able to help you out with?

JH: There are a few. I still need the gray Jays alternate hat from the early 2000's. I'm also looking for the Cherry Coke hat that was released in Europe, some years ago. Lastly, the Jay-Z X Yankees hat, also from some time ago. 

TFD: What is your favorite fitted in your collection?

JH: Hard to narrow it down to just one. Probably my Blue Jays X OVO/Drake caps that were released last summer. Those two hats were what really got me collecting more.

TFD: You are also one of the members of the Facebook group "Team Fitted". What has the group taught you about the fitted culture and community?

JH: I've been a collector of many things in my lifetime: comic books, baseball cards, Coca-Cola bottles, and Disney stuff, of course. I've found the members of the fitted community to be extremely helpful. I've never seen so many people help each other out so willingly. All the other collecting communities are so cut-throat. That's why I am always getting hats for others. We have to keep the good karma going. 

     The Facebook group is a really good gang. We are always posting caps and joking about hats; lots of fun.

TFD: In this day and age, social media reigns king. Where can the readers find you if interested?

JH: @disneynorth for both Twitter and Instagram.

TFD Lastly, how would you define your collection? / What quality makes it special to you?

JH: Obviously, Blue Jays fitteds are my passion. I love picking up the Authentic Collection on-field caps and any limited editions. I also like picking up any special Authentic Collection caps with side patches from other 

     Aside from that, I always keep an eye out for fitteds with different logos and graphics, be it from MiLB teams or boutique hat shops; with my first three Disney fitteds on the way, my collection may take an entire new direction!

     James, along with being perhaps the biggest Disney fan I've ever met, is incredibly helpful when on the hunt for a cap. Recently, he assisted in the search for a certaint Canadian Football League cap, otherwise absent from the U.S. market. 

     Thank you, and stay fitted, James.

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Collectors Corner with Alessandro Belvedere

     Some people are credited as to wearing their heart on their sleeve. One, such as our guest this week, wears it on his neck. The 59Fifty love runs deep in todays collector, from a certain British Overseas Territory.

     Alessandro Belvedere is not only a collector of the 59Fifty New Era Cap, but a distributor to the masses. Mr. Belvedere is single-handedly spreading the culture, that we all share, to the public of a group of islands, East of the United States. Now, allow yourself to get to know another great personality in our community. 

TFD: Where are you from? / Where do you currenty reside?

AB: I'm from and reside on the island of Bermuda

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

AB: I wear a 7 1/2 or a 7 5/8. I considdered growing my hair out once, but then realized that less and less hats were fitting me. I just couldn't sacrifice them, so I went back to a bald fade, quickly.

TFD: Do you remember what your first New Era Cap was?

AB: My first fitted was an NBA Eastern Conference all-over fitted. It was red and had all the logos of the Eastern Conference teams on it.

TFD: How large is your New Era 59Fifty collection, currently?

AB: Currently, it's sitting at 107, but I'm on a trip and I'm sure I will be adding to that. What I tend to do when I travel is take one fitted with me, and I also take an empty New Era hard-case hat holder, that I'll fill up. I went a bit overboard the last time I was in New York City, and ended up having to buy a second case.

TFD: What originally caught your eye, in terms of appeal to the 59Fifty?

AB: I always liked how clean and tidy the fitteds looked. Whether you're wearing a t-shirt, a football (soccer) jersey, or a button-up shirt, you can rock it with anything. 

TFD: What would you say is your favorite cap in your collection, and for what reason?

AB: My favorite fitted is my black Yankees fitted. It has the Yankees logo filled with cubic zirconias. I got it as a gift from my brother, when he went on a trip to Miami.

TFD: Being in Bermuda, what sports do you considder yourself a fan of, and what teams do you follow?

AB: With Bermudians, football (soccer) is like a religion. My team is A.C. Milan. I've been a fan for over twenty years. It was my dad's team, and I will keep that tradition going in my family. 

     I like basketball and baseball, as well, but I'm more of an NBA Finals/World Series type of person. It's pretty cool though, when it comes to collecting hats, as I'm tied to any major sport teams that New Era produces caps for. 

TFD: You started a small business named "Fittedz", exclusively providing New Era Caps to the good people of Bermuda, pimarily by way of Instagram. How's that been going for you?

AB: At first, business was going really well; I couldn't keep hats in stock. Unfortunately, my supplier went out of business. I'm currently looking for a new one, so if anyone out there knows of any leads, please feel free to pass on their information. 

TFD: "Fittedz" offers island-wide delivery. That's a pretty unique feature. Do people tend to appreciate that option?

AB: People really appreciate it. I mean, it's a small island, but they love the convenience of being able to comment on a picture on Instagram, or sending me a WhatsApp message, and getting their hat as soon as possible. I remember, one night, it was about one in the morning, and one of my friends had been at a house party, telling people about "Fittedz". He called me up asking if I would pass through, with what I had in stock. So, I loaded up my two New Era hat bags, like the big ones that hold 25 each, and went. I got to the party, made a couple of sales, and a lot of connections. I have a hustlers mentality; unfortunately, I just can't say no to money. Haha.

TFD: Do you plan on expanding the business to a website or store-front location?

AB: I've always wanted to expand "Fittedz" into something more, whether it was selling Jordans as well, or other trending accessories. I've considered a store-front, but I think I would probably lean more towards the whole online store/app world, once I get it all on track. 

TFD: What is the fitted culture like in Bermuda?

AB: The culture is thriving. For an island that only has a population of 65,000 people, there are a lot of fitted-heads. It ranges from your average person who has one or two fitteds, to collectors like myself. The one constant is that almost everyone has a classic navy blue fitted. 

     The only thing we are missing is New Era tapping into the football club market. If they made Milan, Real Madrid, or Manchester United hats, they would sell very well, here. Bermudians love to match a hat to their football jersey, on the weekend. I find the culture here mirrors the hip-hop culture of the states, a lot more than the culture of some Caribbean islands. 

TFD: Are there any 59Fifty caps out there that you missed out on the first time around, and would consider your "Holy Grail"?

AB: My "Holy Grail" is a hat that was once at the New Era Flagship Store in New York City. It had "HATER" across the front, with a broken heart representing the "A". If anyone can find me one in a 7 1/2, I'll be indebted to you forever.

TFD: You and I are both in the Facebook group accurately dubbed "Team Fitted". What are your thoughts on our fitted-collectors community, and the fitted community as a whole?

AB: I think what's been done with "Team Fitted" is absolutely amazing. I stumbled across the whole community on Instagram, one day last year, when I had searched the "fitteds" hashtag. I came across Alex's and Ramiro's profiles, with their #FOTD posts; from one follow, to two, to three, to about 30 or 40, I've now connected with a lot of guys from all over the world. 

     I've traded hats and all sorts of things. To be honest, you feel comfortable with these guys and know you wont be getting screwed over. There is a sense of trust amongst us, like a family would have. Everyone is always trying to help one another. It's really a unique experience in this day and age, with so many shady people around. I'd love to see it continue to grow. I just wouldn't like to see it turn into how the whole Jordan community is. I think we keep our style a little more unique.

TFD: If people want to follow you, in terms of social media, where can you and your business be found?

AB: You can find me personally on Instagram @441fittedking, and on Twitter @_mrbelvedere_. "Fittedz" is on Instagram @fittedz_bda. I look forward to connecting with more people from all over the world, through the fitted community. 

TFD: Anything else you'd like to add?

AB: I'd like to give a shout-out to Andrew Mitchell, who was part of CrewEra '13. I had the honor to meet up with him in Toronto, in November. He linked me with one of his custom fitteds; the whole day was a ball. 

     Thank you, Alessandro. It really is amazing to see how far the love for New Era Caps ranges, all over the world. In the past month, The Fitted Diaries has covered collectors from the United States, England, Canada, and Bermuda. Where will our next Q and A come out of? The only way to find out is to stay tuned. Thanks again for reading.

Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: @matt_aballi

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Collectors Corner with Mike Perri

     What you see above, may be the sweetest cake ever created. Not literally, well perhaps; but more in the sense of it's payment of homage to the 59/50 New Era Cap, in dessert form. The carefully crafted pastry item was what caught my eye, and ignited a connection of a similar hobbies with Mike Perri, of Canada.

     Mike has also recently found the spotlight through the various forms of the New Era Cap social media extensions, with his carefully organized display of his cap collection, seen below. (It has over 20,000 likes on facebook.) If those two assets aren't enough to draw your attention to the following interview, there's no hope for you.

TFD: Where are you from?

MP: I was born, raised, and still reside in Thorold, Ontario, Canada. It's a small city of 18,000 right near Niagra Falls.

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

MP: I wear 7 1/4 now a days, but will either go down or up a size if I can't pass up a specific cap.

TFD: Do you remember what your first New Era Cap was?

MP: My first New Era Cap was a Philadelphia Phillies Cooperstown cap that I still have. I got it when I was visiting family in  New Jersey/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We ended up gonig to three or four different malls before I found one I really wanted.

TFD: How many caps do you currently have in your collection?

MP: Right now I have 215 59Fifty caps, but that number will go up very soon, as I have a couple orders I'm waiting to get in. Plus I'll be making a trip down to Buffalo in the near future to grab a bunch of new stuff that I'm still waiting to drop.

TFD: Do you have any "rules" as to what makes the cut, in regards to what goes into your collection?

MP: I really have no rules to my collection. If it's a sweet cap, I'll buy it. The only teams I won't have in my collection are the Canadiens, Senators (although I have one that was a gift), Yankees, and Cowboys. I also stay away from comic and movie caps, usually just because I wasn't big into that stuff when I was younger. I feel like guys that have caps from comics or superheroes have a huge passion for that kind of stuff, and I feel like those guys should be the ones rocking those sick caps, not me.

TFD: Do you have a particular way in which you display or store your fitteds at home?

MP: My hats at my house are displayed on my walls in my bedroom. I got the tip from Benjamin Christensen, a huge collector. I use push pins and butterfly paper clips to have them hang on the walls with the fronts facing out. Right now I only have 180 caps on my walls, as I have to take down some stuff to make more room. The rest get stored in plastic bags in my computer desk, for now.

TFD: Do you have a favorite cap in particular?

MP: My most favorite cap would have to be either my Blue Jays 59th Anniversary of the 59Fifty cap or my Mighty Ducks 20th Anniversary caps that just came out this year. Wouldn't be a collector without the 59Fifty and my love for hockey, which started by watching The Mighty Ducks both on the NHL and the movies and T.V. series.

TFD: What are your favorite sports?

MP: My favorite sport is obviously hockey, as a Canadian, but I love all sports. I'll play anything and I watch every sport on T.V.

TFD: What are your favorite teams to root for?

MP: My favorite teams are the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, and the Philadelphia Eagles. You can tell I live close to Toronto!

TFD: You recently went to the NHL Winter Classic, between the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings, in Michigan. What was that experience like?

MP: The Winter Classic easily has to be one of the best moments of my life, so far. Especially being able to spend it with my dad, who got me into hockey, and is the reason I am a Leafs fan today. Just being in the same place as everyone else, knowing there was 100,000 people in attendance, was crazy. The fact that it went to a shootout and the Leafs won made it that much more memorable. I could have been out there all day watching them play. It was freezing and we ended up having to walk 45 minutes to an hour to the game and back, as there weren't many cabs running because of the weather. Even with all that, I'd relive that day over and over again if I could. If anyone has the chance to go to an event like that, do not even hesitate. It'll be worth the money and any weather conditions you might have to face. Haha.

TFD: Did you pick up any special edition caps at the Winter Classic?

MP: Unfortunately, they only had Reebok apparel for the game, so there were no New Era Caps, which was a huge disappointment. I do not have any caps from the game besides a toque. I might through it out and grab a snapback still, just to commemorate the game.

TFD: Are there any caps that you maybe missed out on that you'd consider your "holy grail"?

MP: Some "holy grails" for me, right now, would be New Era's "Capture The Flag" line. The line started out in 2004 and gets various famous people to design a cap, which is made in limited numbers, and comes in a full display box with silk lining, a signed card, and a little mirror. I am trying to find as many as I can from the line, but still have yet to get my hands on one.

TFD: Where is your favorite place to shop for New Era Caps?

MP: My favorite place to shop for my caps is none other than the staring place of the company and the headquarters of New Era, the New Era Buffalo Flagship Store. It is about a 45 minute to one hour drive, depending on the border wait, so I don't always get to go just to browse. I will usually pick out a bunch of caps over a month and then go pick them all up. I actually have the honor of saying I can consider the manager, Billy, as a friend, now. We're always talking caps. Crazy the friendship caps can bring you.

TFD: What are your thoughts on the fitted community?

MP: The fitted community is amazing! I have built friendships with so many guys just talking about and sending each other caps that aren't available in each other's areas. I've gotten caps from the United States, Canada, and even the Netherlands. I've also shipped out caps to the U.S., other parts of Canada, Europe, and Mexico. We're always hunting for hats for other guys, and everyone is doing the same back; a very tight knit community whose always looking out for each other.

TFD: If the readers are interested in following you on social media, where can they find you?

MP: You can find me on facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
        facebook: Mike Perri
        Instagram: @PERRIM16
        Twitter: @perri_mike

     Toss me follows and don't be scared to send me some messages. I'm always down to help other collectors with questions or getting caps for them that they can't find on their area. Stay fitted and keep collecting!

     I'd like to thank Mike for getting back to me with the answers to my many questions, very quickly. I hope all of you got something out of it, and hopefully added a follow on social media. Until next time, keep collecting!

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Collectors Corner with Corey LeFebvre


     Corey LeFebvre is a giant in the fitted game. With a collection well into triple digits, he represents the essence of a great collector. Just like those who came before in our collectors series, he prides himself on the quality of what he has, not merely the quantity. 

     Although, a selective eye may not be what all of our readers considder to be the first and foremost quality of collecting New Era Caps, it certainly is an admirable and appreciated aspect. Take a journey with us, as we learn what drives Corey in his quest, one 59/50 at a time. 

TFD: Where are you from and where do you currently reside?

CL: I was born in a small town in North Dakota, called Minot, but I've been living in Tacoma, Washington since I was four years old. We are kind of like Seattle's less popular, ghetto little brother.

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

CL: 7 3/4, but sometimes I have to step down to a 7 5/8, depending on the hat material, age, and country of origin. 

TFD: When did you start collecting New Era Caps?

CL: I started collecting seriously a little over two years ago. I'm sort of a newcomer to this thing, or at least I feel like I am. I had long hair down to my ass for most of my life. I always loved hats, though flat bill fitteds with long hair or a pony tail didn't look good, so I would wear beanies with my hair tucked in them most of the time. When I finally decided to cut my hair, I went to the mall, got it hacked off, and walked out with a Seattle Mariners on-field cap on my head. A few days later, I was surfing for hats online, and stumbled upon The Clink Room website, and the rest was history. I think I ordered like twelve hats from them in the first month, and I've steady been rocking and copping them ever since.

TFD: What was your first New Era?

CL: The first New Era I ever owned was an away cap from my hometown baseball club, the Minot Mallards. It had a green crown with a red bill, and a gray under. I have the teams logo tattooed as part of my sleeve on my right leg.

TFD: Do you still own it?

CL: No, and it haunts me every damn day. Reward if you can find it!

TFD: How large is your collection?

CL: Last count, I was just over 200, but it's hard to say exactly. I am strictly fitteds, no snap-backs allowed. 98% of my collection are New Era's, but I do have a handful of Stall and Dean caps, mainly in teams New Era doesn't produce caps for. The quality from Stall and Dean does not compare to that of a New Era 59/50. 

TFD: Do you see yourself collecting forever?

CL: Yes I do, but I see my collection becoming more selective. I'm sort of on the hunt for more rare items already, and I see that being where my attention goes.

TFD: Are There any caps that you would regard as your "holy grail"?

CL: In addition to the Minot Mallards cap I talked about earlier, I've got a couple in my head that leave me feeling incomplete because I don't own them. There are a few Dragon Ball hats I would love to own. I've had the chance to buy them, but either the price or the size wasn't right. I love the Disney branded stuff; the Winnie The Pooh ones in particular I'm always looking for. 

TFD: Where is your favorite place to shop for caps?

CL: That's hard to say. I shop everywhere. Locally, I'm pretty much stuck with Lids or Just Sports if I want to actually try the hat on before I buy it. I frequent the three or four malls around here, and most of the hat store employees know me. I've ordered from every website there is; I've done eBay, I've bought from private sellers overseas, I've picked up gems at minor league and major league sporting events. I'm constantly shopping for hats. My favorites are ones that I have traded with people online or were given to me from friends in the fitted game. The Crew Era 13 guys specifically have always had my back in that department. The fact that we are all so spread out across the country makes it a little easier to find stuff when you're desperate.

TFD: What is your favorite cap?

CL: Probably my "Shams" hat from The Clink Room. It's just classic with the design and execution of craftsmanship; The colors are simple and perfect. I'm having to limit the wear on the thing, so I can keep it fresh in the collection. Losing or ruining a hat beyond repair is one of my biggest fears!

TFD: As a sports fan, what teams do you root for?

CL: Of course I root for the home teams; the Mariners and the Seahawks. I loved watching the SuperSonics as a kid. I'm hoping we might get them back someday.

TFD: What do you feel makes your collection great and/or unique?

CL: I take pride in my collection in the fact that I think all of them are "nice". I'm a fan of simple designs and color patterns. Sometimes, hats can be too loud. I'm not going to say I don't own a few, but for the most part, I think my collection is low key and just "nice". I've always gotten compliments on the colorways of a lot of my caps. I guess I got a good eye for it. 

TFD: What's on your radar in terms of "caps to pick up"?

CL: I've got my eye on a few of The Simpsons collection fitteds that are dropping in Japan soon. I'm also looking to get one of the Spike Lee Heritage Series caps, when they hit flagship stores in a few months. 

TFD: Any advice to any of the young collectors just getting into the game?

CL: Wear what you like, rep what you love, and dont be afraid to talk and share your passion with other collectors. I have friends all over the place because of my love for fitted hats, and that's what I feel it's all about. If you have three caps that you wear on a steady rotation because they represent you and you love them, then that's flying your own flag. In my opinion, you're doing it right. If you've got a hat for every day of the year and they speak to you at the same time, then hell yes, keep it up! 

     Anyone can spend a shit-ton of money and become the king of caps, but that doesn't mean you're better than the next guy. Stay humble, keep it positive, and have fun. I mean, it IS just hats for crying out loud. 

TFD: If people want to follow you and your collection, in terms of social media, where should they look for you? 

CL: Make sure to check out myself and a whole bunch of really good guys on Instagram. I use IG primarily to display my collection. My handle is @bigc253. You can also find me on Twitter @253bigc. I'm also one of the administrators of a fan page on facebook called Team Fitted; be sure to find us on there too!

     I'd like to thank Corey for being a really inspirational and fun interview. Hopefully the readers found a truly solid collector to keep an eye on. He's the guy with the awesome beard, if you were curious. Until next time, thanks for reading The Fitted Diaries.

-Matt Aballi
Twitter: @MattAballi
Instagram: matt_aballi