Actually, it’s been around since the late 80s. The trend then was to leave the brand tags on Nikes and caps. When Starter was a huge name in the early 90s, the tags transitioned to hats for the first time. New Era moved from tags to stickers, as one commenter mentioned, when they were able to attach it to the product in a way that didn’t leave residue if peeled. The choice of stickers was probably just a cost-effective move on the part of the companies–less moving parts–but if you think about it, it’s hardly a new trend. http://lordashbury.com
I’d disagree. It’s only “dumb” if you’re totally ignorant about its roots. Full disclaimer: I’m not extremely knowledgable about it either. However, you can get a pretty good overview from the comments here. That said, it’s a trend that has its roots in a cultural demographic that is historically less well-off socio-economically. If having a sweet new hat or fresh kicks was a luxury for you, wouldn’t you want to show it off? To me, it feels a lot like wearing a designer item with the logo prominently displayed. “Look, it’s new and unused!” isn’t a far cry from, “look, it’s designer!” They’re just different ways of displaying wealth.
Agree with, Emma. I’m clueless as to the demographics of this trend but, I’ve been an urban youth street worker for 25 years (and, yes, I love this blog even though I don’t make a lot of money) so I’ve seen fashion trends that seem to me to grow out of the situations of youth from working class backgrounds who turn them into their style statements (maybe even a little political?), such as chilly ties in the 70s/80s when incarcerated youth couldn’t wear shoelaces. Upon release they maintained that laceless look and dressed it up. I think another one is the fall off the hips pants in the 80s b/c belts weren’t/aren’t allowed in jail. I’m always amused when I see teenage boys in affluent suburbs struggling to walk casually with this ridiculous look without a clue where it comes from.
Or more likely he is into the team it portrays. Its kind of like getting t shirts from pubs all over the world which is something a friend of mine does, but on your head. The products are things that you like.
That video is hilarious! Lol.
We see sportspeople on the podium donning their caps showing their sponsor’s logos after events and post-race, so it’s become another form of advertising too. But for us on the street, I guess it’s evolved into just another form of self-expression.
It started in the 90′s around the time they started issuing holograms to represent authentic merchandise and collectors items. Throwback jerseys from Mitchell & Ness, had giants tags proclaiming they were official reproductions and people didn’t cut them off. It extended to caps in the mid 90′s trend, when they started stickering the bills.
Usually you only keep the sticker on if it’s a New Era cap. I find that it’s about authenticity and the value of the hat. When we were young a lot of people would get fake Yankee hats so you kept the sticker on to show that it was legitimate. Also, keeping the sticker on it adds to the value and quality of the hat if you want to sell it or give it as a gift to someone. Everyone just wants to show that they’re the real deal lol.
My thought exactly.
Just like I thought leaving the tags on sneakers in the 90′s was a sign tou had stole them.
I later found out that the sign of stolen clothes is the hole cut out to remove the alarm tag… When I was a poor student in college
The way I understand it (from my sneakerhead, hip-hop-loving boyfriend) is that leaving the stickers on caps is a way of showing that the cap is an officially licensed product. New Era caps DO get counterfeited, especially in urban areas. Also, when I was growing up, the stickers would have a horrible gummy adhesive that leaves a residue on the bill. Leaving the sticker on just keeps it clean. So, it’s mostly a status thing, and partly a cleanliness thing.
But to be honest, the above picture confuses me. The newer New Era caps have a clear sticker that covers the entire bill, and it has a cutout for the gold sticker (pictured above), so you can take it off and leave the hologram and size stickers in their place so you can continue to show its authenticity. Leaving the entire thing on there just looks lazy and unkempt. Take the clear sticker off!
My brother-in-law collects caps like this as a serious curated collection of art. He has hundreds of ‘official’ and unusual caps. Some he wears, but most are kept in pristine conditions. Who knows if they will be of some real value one day.
I agree with Nila. It’s teenagers and some grown adults proudly showing off the cool pricier brands they wear and supposedly can afford. But when I first saw guys wearing the price tags proudly displayed, I suspected the real reason is they had to return it within 30 days. Then they switched to using their nice shopping bags as book bags, lol oh you guyyys. As for the origin? C’mon it’s the luxury fashion world.
I, too, have been watching that trend for the past few years.
It seems to be an urban trend which is tied to other tendencies of the same group.
In this case I see an expression of conspicuous consumption.
As in ” This is a new hat. See the stickers. “
Hip hop style was/is based heavily on wearing “fresh/crisp” clothes. It shows that your are up on style and have the means to afford it. The sticker demonstrates how brand-new the cap is. Basically right off the shelf.
Tags on sneakers was also a trend. Some “bling-bling” rappers when that was the trend kept the price sticker on the car windows. No joke.
Haha! My 11-year old son has had it for a couple of years now, and we are strictly forbidden to bend the brim! I have no idea where/how the trend started but it reached schools in Sweden at least two or three years ago. I just asked my son why he has the stickers on it and he laughed and said it’s the “bling”, i.e. golden and shiny. :-)
I work in menswear, and have asked clients during appointments; clients who are displaying the stickers. They advised me that the reason is, “so everyone knows the cap is fresh and/or authentic”. Who knows if this is true…
I sound like the biggest phony on earth, seeing as I have no place discussing this, but I’ve always felt the origin of the hat-sticker-thing is sneaker culture. Or, at least, it reminds me of sneakerheads keeping their sneakers looking absolutely, perfectly, out of the box new. The stickers on the hats are how they come in the store. So keeping them on keeps them looking absolutely, perfectly, out of the box new. Ask Greg at Karmaloop. He’d know for sure.
To show off how fresh n new they are! Represents the ability to buy new, branded accessories- something that doesn’t necessarily apply to a lot of the socioeconomic class that wears them. Conspicuous consumption.
Yeah, what’s up with that? I bought a cap a few weeks ago and that sticker was on it. The husband isn’t in fashion at all and he really had something like, take that thing off, it’s ridiculous. But is it? I really have no idea!
I believe it started with, and continues today, with the NBA draft where a player was given a brand new hat, stickers and all, right out of the box and threw it on their head. It became a symbol of having arrived in a certain respect and has, for better or worse, expanded outside that venue.
The origin comes from hip hop. The purpose of it is that all your “gear” is supposed to look brand new (you didnt even have time to take the tag off). Its the same as Super white sneakers, white tees, and everything looking brand new. “Fresh out the box”
It’s nothing more than a stupid trend. I work at Lids and sometimes someone will walk away from a hat because the sticker fell of or doesn’t look right. I take mine off and people look at me like I did something blasphemous
Most of the people I know who do this are teenage boys. I asked one of them about it once and he said he leaves the sticker on, “Cause then it looks new.” It goes along with the flat bill, I guess. Anti-vintage.
The stickers are supposed to make the hat look new and “fresh”. Same could be said for flat-brimmed hats that aren’t broken in. Thought to be a display of wealth by some. At least as compared to a dirty old caps.
I personally don’t understand the stickers approach. It’s not like you see people wearing the tags on their new clothes. That would be ridiculous.
right, forget the ball cap, everyone’s got one; is that a Fuji x-1, pro -1? beautiful looking digital camera that actually looks like a fine old film camera! Interchangeable lense and all? Everyone’s tired of lugging around their 4 pound 5d’s and other dslrs! Great choice!
Ha! I see this all the time. Whatever cultural connotations “the sticker” once carried are now irrelevant, I think. When I asked my boyfriend why he never took the stickers off his flatbills, he seemed confused. “That’s just the way you wear it,” he said. If there was once a method to the madness, I don’t know what it was.
Ha ha! This reminds me of when I was working on a music video for a UK rap artist and his stylist’s assistant removed the sticker from a cap. Did NOT go down well.
And when the guys discovered that my make up remover wipes could be used to clean their white leather sneaks the whole ‘crew’ crowded round and set about cleaning their shoes. And they took a loooooong time about it! Everything has to be ‘so fresh and so clean’.
This fad is big in urban (hood) areas. I live and still live in an urban area and people have just gotten use to not taking them out. No one is sending any message about authenticity or “freshness”. It’s just something that comes natural to not remove it and wear it as is. I use to leave my stickers on my hat because I didn’t want that part of that hat getting dirty. But after a few months of owning it when removing the sticker that piece of the hat has been preserved and looks abnormal on that hat itself. Now the only hat that I wear which is a regular Yankees new era cap gets the stickers removed before I throw it on my head so I won’t walk around with stickers on my hat. It’s really preference at this point.
at the end of the day, is the hat sticker/tag that different from a luxury handbag (or other expensive merchandise with visible logos)? it’s all about flaunting wealth and authenticity–leaving the tags on just kicks it up a notch!
People always ask me this. Honestly leave the tags on out of laziness.
Also sometimes, depending how long a hat is been on the shelves, dust will start to collect on the bill. Thus when you take the sticker off it leaves a circle. So it’s better sometimes to just leave it on.
This is a question I ask my self all the time. It is such a silly trend. For me it’s equivalent to leaving a size sticker on a pair of jeans or pants. Or leaving the vents on jackets or slits on skirts sewn together (major pet peeve) .
My theory is that people who started this trend just weren’t aware that the stickers had to be removed. They provided glitter or “jazz” to the otherwise boring hat. I’ve seen so many people who don’t remove those strip fabric tags sewn on to the sleeves of overcoats and suits. You’d see a guy and on the bottom part of his suit/coat sleeve by the wrist there would be a tag: Calvin Klein, for example. They must think it’s a decoration which is ok to leave.
We are visiting NYC from a little village, population 700, in the south of France. My 9-year-old daughter bought a cap yesterday and she insisted it have a FLAT bill and a sticker on it. The brand is Cityhunter and it cost $10. It has NY embroidered on the front, with TM next to it, as if one could trademark New York. Daughter said her friends (uniformly white, rural and French, considering where we live–the absolute opposite of cool, hip and urban) were all wearing caps like that.
Way back (I’m now 74) in the 60′s we started decorating with patches that could be sewn or pinned onto old army shirts or jeans — like the fellows on page 57 of “Native Funk & Flash”. It was quick and easy and individual and sometimes bizarre. Like the jacket on p. 56 with the eagle on the back eventually had things like a sheriff’s department badge from Petaluma, CA with a basket of eggs woven in that was popular in a recent exhibit. Then the commercial world got started with monograms and all-out designs made from their logos, and somehow the public bought it. I believe it’s an extension that started out to be “different” then gets co-opted.
My son does this with his True Religion jeans. It looks so tacky. He knows how I feel about it but I let him do his thing. It doesn’t look like it will get any better when he’s older. Tell me you took the stickers off Scott!!!
Really, like asking when and why did kids start wearing their brims flat instead of curved or their caps over their ears. Look at major league pitchers especially Hispanic ie Felix Hernandez.
Why do people roll their jeans in the 50′s than not again until the 2thousands its simple trends ,folks think it looks cool
My son, an avid hat collector, did this for many years. God forbid if we removed those stickers! But he is turning 19 soon and approached me a few days ago with a fur flap baseball cap, stickers removed, asking me to please wash it. After all those years it was a relief to see it new again–sans stickers! :)
I remember the day when I was a dance society member at Uni back in Hong Kong. The first question I had is, “why everyone is wearing the baseball cap with the golden shinny sticker unpeeled?”I then asked one of the members and played with his cap. His reaction was like “be careful! Do NOT peel it otherwise its value is gone!” So I guess the value of a new cap or a pair of fresh kicks isn’t determined by the object itself but the tags/sticker on it. Interesting.
It says my hats genuine , brand new and totally fresh it started with the hip hop stars and everyone followed suit
Its taken VERY seriously by a lot of people
I throw my cap wayyyyyy before even the smallest edge of the sticker starts to lift its also a major reason why guys started wearing the peaks totally flat not curved like ball players as curving the peak creases the sticker
These days i would not be seen dead in a stickerless and or not 100% perfectly flat peaked cap and im 37….. Lol
Also a cap cant be washed EVER!! Never ever ever!
There is also a small sticker on the underside of the bill of the hat. Many people leave the stickers on so they can grab the bill by both stickers and not leave any residue from fingers on it. Back in the day, when sneakers had to perfectly match a “throwback” jersey which had a perfectly matching hat, this trend became popular with new era hats. By leaving the stickers on, and carefully grabbing it, you could preserve the hat and possibly return it to match the jersey you planned to wear the next week.
Like other commenters, I agree it’s meant to show authenticity and it began in the late 80s. I was a men’s wear buyer for a large specialty chain and the first time I saw this was with Spike Lee’s very popular 40 Acres and a Mule line. It was extremely successful, but widely knocked off. So they added authenticity stickers/tags to show it was the real deal, and everyone just left them on. I wish I still had that stuff. It was great.
A cousin told me once, that the trend was originally settled by a baseball player when in the game he didnÂ´t want to mess up with dirt his cap, so when he had to move his cap he used his fingers but only touching the stickers :)
I donÂ´t know if it is true, but it makes a little sense to me.
Scott: I am surprised that you wear such a hat, with or without the stickers. IMO any man over 30 wearing one( unless out in the hot sun such as beach or sports, where it may be necessary) looks juvenile. Think of those 60-somethings with backwards caps, baggy cargo shorts. Wow. But -again IMO-with the stickers or tags it is ridiculous.
At least you don’t wear it backwards ( please say no) nor indoors!
What hat then? Perhaps refer to your archives and do a series on men in the EU and their SARTORIAL choices? Love everything here and the varied opinions!
Despite the “frehness” that sticker is supposed to give you, it just looks ridiculous, what is wrong with those people?! This has nothing to do with style, it’s just showing of something you’ve paid way too much for.
The stickers are a sports memorabilia thing. It’s about authenticity of the hat as a commemorative item for fanatical sports fans. The hats are collector’s items and a way for the wearer to show loyalty to their team (and to the specific year that a team won a major event). Hats are produced by various companies (and professional sports leagues) and can be easily replicated, so authenticity matters. Also, hats are produced that commemorate not just teams, but also specific championship eventsâ€”making them even rarer and more coveted. The way the hat is worn, is a fashion statement, but the hat itself is about fanatical fandom.
The funniest thing about this picture is that it doesn’t even pay homage to the actual demographic that made this popular and wears this most often and most authentically! Tsk tsk, Bill. The tag is first for authenticity and second, for cost and newness bragging.
I was going to comment, who cares.
Why does everything have to be labelled, sorted, indexed and filed.
Once media have a label for it, then it’s old news.
But I think I found the best answer a couple of comments up.
“it just looks ridiculous, what is wrong with those people?!”
It’s to get responses like that.
He should take those stickers off and conform to the rules of the hipster as written by the media. Damn him for daring to be different :)
In the soviet union, when all things western and imported were very rare and hard to get, people would stick banana and mandarin stickers on their sneakers. Who had the most fruit stickers on their sneakers, was the man :D
In London this look has been on the streets for at least 6 years, probably more, I thought it was out already…but apparently it is not. The only thing I can notice is the shift in the people wearing it, from London suburbs teenagers to middle class over 30 in Manhattan. Personally I think it really belongs to the urban tenn agers and youngsters of both London and New York. I love their style!
It’s definitely an urban trend, and meant to show how the hat is new, fresh, etc. Whats ironic about this display of “wealth” is that is typically associated with a socio-economic demographic that doesn’t have money: urban, non-white, teenage boys or men in their early twenties. So in a strange way this attempt to communicate wealth actually associates people who wear hats this way with a group that is the opposite of wealthy. This is neither good or bad, just what is actually happening when people adopt this style. So if you don’t have much money and rock this style you’re unconsciously confirming your socioeconomic place in society. If you do have money and do this, you appear to be co-opting a trend from a group you don’t actually belong to, which feels inauthentic. The former trend is fine, but the latter is trying too hard.
People do it b/c they see celebrities in the hip/hop world do it…and they think its cool… so they copy them….I think it look totes redic and I try to rip any stickers on hats that I see!!!
Say NO to stickers on hats…..
Shows authenticity. When you live in places like NY their is an ocean of counterfit goods. Nobody (in the past) wanted to be seen sporting anything fake. Only way to prove so is if you had the authentic sticker.
To all those dismissively calling it ‘dumb’, do you post on every other page here that features people wearing well worn vintage stuff? Afterall it’s equally dumb just the opposite side of the same continuum.
its originated by people in the rap industry. it is a statement that declares that the hat is not a knock off and they spent a generous amount of money on it because it is legit i with the few caps I do own I remove it I hardly care about a sticker, it feels as if I’m walking billboard and it is a god awful trend.
In the neighbourhood I grew up in, which was a very low income neighbourhood of Toronto, it was common to leave the sticker on for “dress down” days in high school. Going to a catholic school with uniform enforcement only leaves so many opportunities to show off. So everyone would go out and buy the flashiest wardrobe they could for the day, leave all the tags on, and return in the next day. It would be funny seeing schoolmates walk around asking to borrow lunch change wearing full print nova check dress shirts with matching coloured hats. the irony!
This has been popular since at least the mid 90′s ( when I was in high school ). It’s a gangster look. It’s supposed to be an extension of whatever label that’s on the hat and it also says “This hat is pricey, look at how much I spent on it”.
The stickers were originally metallic theft deterrent labels that would set off an alarm when passing through the exit. They’d be left on the hat brim in plain sight to indicate the wearer stole it…a kind of ‘badge of courage’. Leaving it on the hat is saying “I had the guts to steal this hat knowing full well the alarm would be set off. I stole it anyway, cause no security can catch me n***a!
I have about 10 New Era 59Fifty caps. I live and work in an urban area. I get the point behind leaving the stickers on, especially when a lot of caps, like for instance, the salute to service editions, have unique stickers and labels. I personally don’t like the stickers, and I take them off. I also like to put a slight curve on my bill, enough to where it doesn’t mess with my glasses and keeps the sun out. But I’m not gonna hate. To each their own, you do you, I’ll do me.