October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 31 very lightly, often with a snarky phrase in a single color or with a relatively small emoji-like icon, in the most traditional, center-seam placement. Flying in the face of previous trends, there's no diffi- cult locations or all-over, bill-spanning embroideries that require panel programs to achieve, nor are there even side designs or anything more complicated than the possible addition of a small design or cap-back text over the keyhole arch. In essence, the dad hat is something that any shop probably has in dead-stock on a dusty shelf. It's the kind of hat you might have found at a 90s trade show as a giveaway; one that the stereotypical dad might have embarrassingly worn far past its prime. In fact, a quick search of sites like Etsy will net you offerings of such dead-stock hats. They are often simple, solid-color caps sans decoration, proudly sold as "vintage." You might be asking yourself, why should I care about dad hats? Admitted- ly, unless you are desperate to look like Drake or Rihanna from the eyebrow up, it might seem like just another fad. That said, dad hats are easily selling at retail with fairly generic designs at $20, some- times climbing to $30 and even $40, contingent upon brand popularity or the virality of the message they commu- nicate. Even accounting for the pull of the popular on those prices, it's obvious that there's a perceived value far above the material costs. Like "normcore" gear before it, the dad hat offers us a chance to create simple, inexpensive garments that conform to a popular and lucrative retail style. If you don't have a cache of written-off dead stock that fits handily into the defi- nition of the dad hat, you still have plenty of room for profit. The simplest of these blanks can cost less than $2 from your fa- The standard gift-shop caps we once made for one of Albuquerque's legendary local restaurants, Sadie's, is another example of the inspiration for the dad hat; soft crowned, simple decoration, and made for comfort. With a pinch of irony, it could round out a current look as a "vintage" dad hat.

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