PROCESS: The Making of a New Era 59FIFTY

With almost a century of experience in hat making, New Era has been at the forefront in manufacturing some of the world’s most celebrated ca...

With almost a century of experience in hat making, New Era has been at the forefront in manufacturing some of the world’s most celebrated caps to date. Improving on its products year after year while setting industry benchmarks, New Era has become a household name. Known throughout the professional sports realm, whether it be the MLB, NBA or NHL, New Era’s versatile 59FIFTY cap — also known as the fitted — has graced the heads of athletes and celebrities alike and has garnered attention for its work with Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and a host of heavy streetwear brands. Despite its simplicity of design and relatively unchanged silhouette, a surprising amount of work goes into the crafting of each cap. In this PROCESS we take closer look into the meticulous 22-step journey that a single 59FIFTY cap must go through from raw material to finished product — a process that utilizes the eyes and hands of 22 dedicated and loyal employees who together share a single dedication to quality and craftsmanship.

Photography: Brandon Shigeta

Step 1 / Materials
All the materials needed for a 59FFTY, clockwise from top: Top/Bottom Visor Fabric, Visor Board, Top Bottom Pieces, Tags, Visor Sticker, Tape, Sweat Band, Sizing Strip, Front Panels, Middle Panels, Back Panels.
Step 2 / The Cutting Room
Rolls of fabric are placed on the layout machine, where Layers of fabric are rolled onto the layout/cutting table and drawn up to the cutting area.
STEP 3 / Cutting In Action
Step 4 / Bundling
Bundling, where panel pieces are grouped by step. The bulk orders from cutting are divided into individual orders and the operator sorts the necessary parts, placing them into the tote box, along with an order form to identify the type of cap and size. Each tote will contain different parts of the cap: fronts, middle, backs, visors and sometimes under visors.
Step 5 / Sewing Machine
Sewing machine used to sew the front and back of caps.
Step 6 / Visor Stitching
A close up of visor stitching.
Step 7 / Front & Back Seam of the Crown
The machine where the operator sews the front seam and the back seam of the crown
Step 8 / Panel Stitching
Step 9 / Embroidery Machine
Digital logo design on an embroidery machine.
Step 10 / Glue Stick
A glue stick is applied to base of the embroidery machine to secure fabric pellon.
Step 11 / Finished Embroidery
Step 12 / Panel stitching
Step 13 / Printed Strip
A pre-measured, printed strip is applied to the base of the crown, making the cap a specified size. A size label is applied to the crown.
Step 14 / Visor Stitching Machine
Step 15 / Digital Path For Visor Stitch
Step 16 / Visor Stitching
Step 17 / Visor Stitching
Step 18 / Sweat Band Machine
A sweat band machine with feed.
Step 19 / Label Sewing
A label is sewn onto a cap. The edges of the starting and ending sweat band are overlapped evenly and sewn together. Each size, content and licensed label are folded down over the sweatband and sewn.
Step 20 / The Top Stitch
The top stitch, a decorative finishing stitch is applied to the base of the cap. This holds the crown fabric and sweatband together.
Step 21 / Top Button Machine
Top button machine (to create and apply).
Step 22 / Button Application
Step 23 / The Under View Of A Cap
Step 24 / Cooling Rack
The cooling rack, after steaming.
Step 25 / Clean Up And Final Detailing
Step 26 / A Rack Of The Finished Product
Step 27 / Sticker Application
Step 28 / Boxing Finished Caps
Step 29 / Finished Supplies
Finished supplies wait to be shipped.
Step 30 / Finished Cap

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