If the cap fits
New Era Cap's fitted caps, among the most knocked-off merchandise in the region, have finally found a legitimate home in the city, at specialist headwear chain Lids.
Buffalo, New York-based New Era, which sells baseball caps under the streetwear brand 59Fifty, does not cater to the one-size-fits-all crowd. Each cap is suited to a particular size and none have adjusters at the back. Most are sewn in six sections and may be topped with a matching fabric-covered button on the crown. Advances in textiles have led to this 'stretch-fit' design, which uses Lycra or rubber to allow a hat to be adjustable within limits.
You used to be able to get fake New Era caps in street markets and from online retailers; genuine imports were heavily marked up. But the real deal can now be had locally for about HK$400, thanks to Lids proprietor Mainland Headwear Holdings which signed a deal in October with New Era to manufacture and sell its caps in the mainland and Hong Kong.
Chief executive Christopher Koch describes the partnership as providing New Era - the official on-field cap worn by all Major League Baseball players such as Wang Chien-ming (below left) and minor league affiliates in the United States - with 'access to lucrative Asian retail markets and potentially millions of new customers'.
Hollywood heavyweights Denzel Washington and Spike Lee often wear their New York Yankees caps courtside at National Basketball Association (NBA) games. Fitted New Era caps are also favoured by hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West (above right). They have been seen on Paris runways during Fashion Week and in scores of music videos on MTV.
Other New Era caps include those with licensed designs from the NBA, the US National Football League, The North American National Hockey League and Marvel and DC Comics.
For the best New Era cap designs, visit the Lids outlet in Langham Place in Mong Kok (tel: 3514 9109).