The project will also serve to look at the brand from both a European and UK perspective and to view the impact that it has had here in a fairly short space of time.
Thinking about how little tends to be spoken about New Era's heritage, when considering its undeniable importance in both the sporting and fashion world, I have put together a brief history of the brand.
It is hard to imagine that just under a century ago, when Ehrhardt Koch took the brave gamble of borrowing $500 from his aunt to set up his own cap company that in such a relatively short period of time the New Era would develop into the brand that it is today.
Despite its rapid growth and expansion from its humble beginnings in 1920 in Buffalo, New York, it seems as though the New Era story is a tale seldom told. It is with that idea in mind that I intend to investigate some of the turning points in the brands history and look at the importance the brand holds in the areas in where its popularity has become so prominent.
One of the first notable turning points for the company was in 1922 when it officially changed its name from “E. Koch Cap Co” to the brand we know it as today. It is also worth noting that during this period in the brand’s past that their main focus lay in the production of casual and uniform caps. A style that seems extremely far removed from the styles that most people would relate to the brand today especially with the explosion in popularity of the 59FIFTY silhouette within the last decade.
It was not until the early 30’s that the brand first put its stamp on the sporting world when in 1934 they produced both home and away caps for the Cleveland Indians. It was also during this same year that the brand created a mantra in which they would work by of “quality first, quantity will follow.” In hindsight it is evident that this motto was crucial in their early years of production as they worked on consolidating their production techniques and producing caps for an ever increasing amount of baseball teams.
The 40’s held its complications for obvious reasons as rationing became increasingly problematic with the onset of World War II and thus had a knock on effect on the quantity of colour fabrics available for cap production. In an attempt to try and get around this issue Ehrhardt instead purchased beige fabric and then dyed it to the necessary colours in his home.
The end of the 40’s and throughout the 50’s saw the brand continue its development as they worked on modernizing and redesigning their silhouettes and providing caps for an increasing amount of Major League baseball teams such as the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers. Additionally it was in 1954 that the most popular New Era silhouette the 59FIFTY was created.
Part 2 of 2 will follow on Wednesday...
Many thanks to Jonny and Sam for helping this to happen!
All images courtesy of New Era Cap
New Era Europe
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