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 || 33 with musicians and the related merchandising around their tours that the dad hat has really taken off. From Kanye West's high-de- mand pop-up-shops with their simple single-color blackletter text treatments and Metallica-inspired logotype to Metallica themselves, it seems like no genre is untouched by this unstructured and under- stated cap. That said, there's no reason to think that you can't adapt the dad hat style to almost any market. After all, the entire idea is to be too cool to care that this hat is markedly uncool. The self-assured swag- ger that the dad hat embodies can be part of any niche, and what is promotional apparel but a signal that one takes pride in belonging to the group or subculture represented in the decoration? Here are three tips to help you find the right blend of hip and post-hip to make your dad hats a hit. 1. Start with the right blank. You can use any number of materi- als and finishes from standard solid-colored twill to garment- dyed, washed out colors, to the com- plete denim crown, but you have to keep it simple. The quintessential dad hat is unstructured, a little slouchy, and has a classic fabric strap and buckle closure. You might find some camp hats and other unstruc- tured, low-profile hats in the mix, but the classic style is the ubiquitous six-panel, curved bill cap. 2. Keep the decoration simple. Though the size of the decoration may vary and you can find multicolor designs and designs with more horizontal aspects or more coverage, the dad cap makes it's mark by being under- stated. These hats often consist of a small, central image without spe- cialty materials, excessive details, or shading. Keep your design simple, clean, iconic, and dead-centered on the front panel. There's no showing off with this decoration. If you need more real-estate to make your mes- sage clear or to signify your brand, a small design or a text line arched over the keyhole is the way to go. 3. Make it clever. Many of the popu- lar dad hats tap into memes, emojis, or recognized brands, and exploit trendy topics and phrases. Make it novel, clever, or current to score extra interest in your creation. Know the culture you are trying to represent before you design. Despite being the everyman's style, these caps are often meant to be "gotten" only by a select group. This trend is so simple that there's not much more to say. All you have to do is know how to handle an unstructured hat, and the rest is up to how creative you can be with your design or what trending, social comment you can capture. Use sufficient backing to stabilize that floppy crown, digitize your design from the center out so that you don't cause excessive distortion or wrinkles with your movement, keep your densities balanced so that you don't strain that soft material, and get to decorating. There's no telling when the dad hat will give way to the next big thing in headwear, but while the moment's still here, there's no reason not to look cool, but not too cool, by offering this trendy, easy, cap to your fashion-conscious customers.

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