History of the hat


From N.W.A to the NBA and Pop Culture

The snapback was a huge fashion trend that began in the 1990’s. Urban areas such as New York and Los Angeles were the main birthplaces of the snapback. The style was adopted by music groups such as N.W.A on the west coast and Mobb Deep on the east coast. Now that some of the most popular music groups of the time started to support the style it took off. In the early stages the hats were used to represent the two coasts of America. West coast people such as N.W.A, wore hats that represented the Los Angeles suburb of Compton. On the other side of the country, groups such as Mobb Deep wore hats that had New York boroughs stitched on such as Brooklyn and Queens. Everyone now was wearing and collecting snapback hats, matching them with their clothes, and looking fresh.

Poster of the members of the old school rap group N.W.A


Another thing that had a large impact on the snapback was sports. Sports stars were, as they are today, huge role models for young kids. Sports stars were seen on TV sporting their snapback on the sidelines or after a game. The demand for that same snapbacks that athletes wore was high. Therefore retailers made replicas of hats that popular sports stars were spotted wearing, and who more popular in the 90’s than Michael Jordan. After Jordan hit the most famous shot of his career to beat the Cavilers to win the NBA Finals, he put on his Gatorade snapback for the postgame interview.  The demand for replicas of that hat went through the roof after that. (A replica of that hat can be seen in the picture below.) That just goes to show that popular culture will always have an effect on fashion, even snapbacks.

Gaterade Snapback Replicas


At the turn of the century, snapbacks went out of style. When snapbacks went out fitted caps came in. The difference between them is that with snapbacks you can chose the size of the hat by adjusting the snaps. With fitted hats each hat has its own individual size to match the consumers head. Stores such as Lids and Modell’s didn’t even sell snapbacks anymore. However in early 2011 the tides changed again. Two popular R&B artists, Chris Brown and Tyga, decided to bring the style back. They created a song called, “Snapback Back” Both of these artists went into the back of their closets and dug out their old snapbacks to wear in the music video. It didn’t take long for the video to go viral all over the Internet. A few weeks after this snapbacks were back in popular demand. Retailers were ordering and producing these hats so that they could be one of the first to have snapback available to the public. The style continued to grow when rappers such as Mac Miller, Jay-Z, and Kanye West made music videos with them wearing snapbacks. Mac Miller also contributed to the rise with his song, “Snapback”. In this song he says, “Used to wear baggy clothes, now my clothes tailored, Used to wear a fitted cap now I rock a snapback.” This  represents the transition from baggy clothes and fitted hats, to clothes that are more expensive and snapback hats. The trend continues today with popular music artists making songs and videos about  snapbacks. Who knows when the revolution will end?

 Jay-Z’s Crocodile Snapback in the Otis video


3 responses to “History of the hat

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