Thursday, March 27, 2014

Collectors Corner with Derick Chartrand

     Continuing the trend of our last post, today we feature another avid fitted cap collector, that crossed my path via social media. Showing up on my "who to follow" tab on twitter quite some time ago, my eyes were drawn to his unique affinity to a franchise that re-located to Washington, D.C. a little over a decade ago.

     Derick Chartrand is one of us; a true lover of the 59/50. New Era recognized this almost a year ago in their first ever intimate fan experience, "Crew Era '13", along with a few other kingpins of the game. Now, it's our turn to find out what makes him one of the best. I recently had a chance to ask him a few questions in regards to him and the pursuit of fitted happiness. Here's how it went:

TFD: Where are you from?

DC: I'm from Laval, a small town near Montreal, in the beautiful Canada.

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

DC: I wear 7 3/8 and sometimes 7 1/2.

TFD: When did you start collecting New Era Caps?

DC: I think it was around 2008.

TFD: Do you remember what your first fitted was?

DC: My first one was the old on-field cap of the Baltimore Orioles. It matched my baseball jersey.

TFD: How many caps are currently in your collection?

DC: Right now, I'm at 295, and they are all fitteds.

TFD: Do you have a favorite one or a couple in the collection?

DC: My favorite right now is my custom Expos fitted that I made at New Era Headquarters. The chance I had to do my own cap and to do it the way I wanted was just awesome. I had to do it with the Diamond Era fabric, only because the Expos will probably never have the chance to have that cap made. After that, I asked the designer to add the Quebec flag on the side to make it more personal to me. The result was just superb. My second favorite is probably my Expos on-field Puerto Rico patch, that my friend Benjamin got me on eBay. That cap was one that I was looking for for a full year.

TFD: What is your favorite sport?

DC: My all-time favorite sport is hockey. I've played since I was six years old. I love hockey.

TFD: What teams do you root for in major sports?

DC: In baseball, there's only one team, since my Expos left, and it's the Bronx Bombers. I'm not really a football guy, but I love the Broncos mostly because of Peyton (Manning). NHL for me is Montreal (Canadiens),since I was four or five.

TFD: What is your favorite shop to pick up fitted caps?

DC: In Montreal, there aren't so many cap stores, so it's Lids or Lids online. I also love to order caps from Hat Club, 4UCaps, and MLB Shop.

TFD: Are there any caps that you would considder your "holy grail" that you can't seem to find and desperately want?

DC: For some people it's not much, but the holy grail for me is the Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones patch cap. That was something I missed that I maybe won't find. My friend from Atlanta, Ricky Ruby, said that cap is rare. I would love to come across that beauty.

TFD: You were part of New Era's inagural fan appreciation event, last year, Crew Era '13. What was that like?

DC: It was a dream come true for me and the other great collectors I met in Buffalo. They paid for my hotel and plane; they treated us like we were really important. We had the chance to talk with almost everyone in the company. We saw how they make the caps. That was awesome. New Era really is one of the best companies. The chance I had was awesome and I will never forget the time I spent with the other great collectors.

TFD: Did you come home with anything sweet?

DC: I came back with a school bag; it took two weeks before I received everything else I got and bought. New Era paid for the shipping when they sent my 27 fitteds, head-stands, a 24 cap-carrier, and my New Era glass block. My favorite cap of the package is my "MERICA" 4th of July exclusive, that I bought under the influence of the American boys.

TFD: What is your all-time favorite fitted?

DC: My regular Expos blue on-field cap. For me, it's a classic, but at the same time, it's a piece of Montreal history.

TFD: What do you personally feel makes your collection a great one?

DC: Nothing really. The thing that I love the most about my collection is how I store them. (Seen at the top) I love to wake up in the morning and see my wall. The big thing to remember is that it's not about the number, but about what you have. My collection is mostly on-field MLB and MiLB caps. I also have some NHL and NFL fitteds. Some people are more into comic caps (or other varieties) and that makes their collection as awesome as mine, too. You have to be proud of what you have.

TFD: If people want to follow you and your journey through caps, where can they find you on social media?

DC: On:    facebook: Derick Chartrand
                Twitter: LeKid26
                Instagram: LeKid26

     Derick really is someone to follow at those extensions. His Instagram is acceptional. He has a creative way of featuring his caps that is parallel to no one else. It's worth a look. I hope you enjoyed todays post. Stay tuned for our next interview in the comming days.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Collectors Corner with Maciek Krol

     One of the truly wonderous things about social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) is that you can make global connections with everyday people, who share the same interests and passions as you. The places these people can reside are limitless; perhaps in your neighborhood or even completely across the world. Todays post is about one of those people who happens to share my love of collecting New Era Caps.

     I met Maciek through Instagram, after posting a picture of a 59/50 and using the hashtag #NewEraCaps. Since then, we've been sharing pictures of our favorite and most rare caps. Recently, the hunt for the Heritage Series line, which is in limited production, has kept us in touch. Today, we did a Q and A with the man from across the pond, known on IG simply as "macall84".

TFD: What is your name?

MK: Maciek Krol

TFD: What size New Era Cap do you wear?

MK: 7 5/8, but when I started wearing New Era Caps I began with a 7 1/2.

TFD: Where are you from?/Where do you reside?
MK: I'm from Poland, but I've lived and worked in London, U.K. for the past 9 years.

TFD: What is your favorite sport?

MK: It has to be soccer! Oh man, I hate that word, to be honest! Here, it's called football, so yeah, my favorite sport is football. After that, I'd probably have to go with basketball.

TFD: What is your favorite franchise/team in football?

MK: Arsenal London is my beloved club! I've supported them 17 years and counting. I was 13 when I saw them playing on T.V., and I just fell in love. The interesting thing is that when I was a kid, I'd dreamed of going to London and watching game of my team, live, in their stadium. Now, I live like 15 minutes walking distance from the stadium, and I attend home games, regularly. I guess we always have to chase our dreams and believe in them.

TFD: What other teams do you support?

MK: As I mentioned before, I like basketball, too. My favorite NBA team is the Los Angeles Lakers.

TFD: When did you first start collecting New Era Caps?

MK: It was the year 2008; in December, just before Christmas. That's when I grabbed my frist New Era. My collecting started quite slow. I was buying them here and there, but didn't really have a passion for them until about 2 years ago. I can't really explain why, but it just happened!

TFD: How large is your collection, currently?

MK: Hard to say exactly. The last time I took a count was about 3 months ago, but I'd say I'm pretty close to 200.

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

MK: My first New Era was some black on black fashion collaboration piece. It didn't have a sports logo on it or anything. I can't remember exactly what it was. It was a spontaneous buy when I was on a shopping trip at a Footlocker. They had a New Era display, and I remember my girlfriend picked the hat because I truly couldn't decide on one.

TFD: Are there any caps that you really want and haven't been able to find?

MK: Yeah, I guess every cap collector is chasing his "Holy Grail". For me, there are 2 hats. One is a Syracuse Skychiefs Hat Club release, with the classic team logo, featuring an all black brim and bill, and gray under. It's still available, but not in my size, so I'll keep searching for it!

The other hat is very hard to find. It's a black fitted with "99 problems but hats ain't mine" written on it. It was already released twice in Europe and twice I slept on it. Not so long ago I spoke with my flagship store manager and asked him if there is a realistic chance for a third release, but he said it wasn't likely, so I have to keep looking for it.

TFD: Do you see yourself collecting fitteds forever?

MK: I have guys on my Instagram that have been collecting hats for many, many years, and their collections are in the thousands. I definitely don't think I'll stop soon; there has been too much effort, love and passion that I have put into it. I can't see myself leaving it just like that, so, yeah, I see myself collecting hats for many years to come!

TFD: What is your all-time favorite fitted?

MK: My favorite hat in my collection is definitely the "'MERICA" fitted, released last year on the 4th of July. I love it to bits! When I wear it, someone always asks me about it; where I got it, that kind of stuff.

TFD: What would you say makes your collection a unique one?

MK: I think, in a way, is unique because you can find anything from sports logos to comic related hats to fashion collaborations. I don't limit myself to anything. I guess it's easy for me because I'm not too into American sports. I'm not a fan of baseball, American football or hockey, so it's easy for me to pick hats of any teams, any logos, any colorways. Even though I like basketball, and I'm a Lakers fan, I have hats with logos of other NBA teams. If I like the hat I'll pick it up. That's it!

TFD: Where is your favorite place to buy fitteds?

MK: My favorite place to buy hats is my London Soho Flagship store. I got most of my hats from there. Through Instagram, I've met fantastic people from all over the world, who love the hatgame and now I get hats from them too. What is great about this community is the fact that people help each other all the time! As we know, New Era separates the world of hats from one region to another, so a lot of hats that come out in Europe aren't available in the USA; also, USA releases are not available in Europe, or other parts of the world. Those things sometimes happen due to different licenses and restrictions, affecting collectors. It's kind of stupid, but on the other hand someone is always making money out of it.

     What I want to point out, here, is a big difference between the hat game and the shoe game. I hope that our community will never turn into what has happened to the shoe game. I can't really imagine going to the store and being a witness to a fight between two fellas over a fitted. That would be a very sad day.

TFD: If people want to follow you on social media (i.e. Twitter, Instagram) where should they look?

MK: I spend most of my time in Instagram, less on Twitter, but I'm there too. So, if you want to hit me there, please feel welcome! I always try to respond to all of the comments and messages. I like to chat with people about hats and other stuff. For both Instagram and Twitter, look for "macall84".

Peace, people! Remember, to always be yourself and fly your own flag. Thanks!

     I want to thank Maciek for sharing his love for the fitted game, in todays post. He was truly great to work with, and is now someone I considder a great friend in the community. Keep reading, everybody!