Back in August, we started kicking around the idea of making United Pixelworkers hats. The next question was: fitted or snapback? We asked you guys on Twitter, and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of fitted caps (we agreed). Now, if you’re gonna make fitted hats, they’d better be New Era 59FIFTYs. For the uninitiated, the New Era 59FIFTY is the official on-field cap of Major League Baseball, and the de facto standard when it comes to fitteds. So we started digging around, trying to figure out how to make custom 59FIFTYs. How hard could it be, right? Turns out, it’s very hard.
If you want to make custom 59FIFTYs, you have two options. Option 1: you can be an amateur sports team looking for team caps, in which case you go through one channel and one channel only, Top It Off Hat Co. If you choose this option, New Era makes sure that you’re actually a team. They want to see a letter on league letterhead, or a photo of your team jersey. If they get one whiff that you’re not a sports team, they shut your order down. We tried Option 1 and you can imagine what happened. So what’s Option 2? You can apply to become an official New Era retailer. Sounds easy, except that requires a brick-and-mortar store, photos of the interior and exterior of said store, and a guarantee that your first order will be for at least $10,000 worth of merchandise. Seeing as how we couldn’t meet any of those requirements, Option 2 was out. We were stuck. So once again, we turned to Twitter for help.
After a few false starts, we were referred to Brandiose, designers of fun and brilliant sports identities everywhere (thanks to Cam Hoff). Ever seen those crazy AAA minor league baseball teams like the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, or the Casper Ghosts? Brandiose conceived and designed them. Turns out they have a side project called The Clink Room, where they make and sell New Era 59FIFTYs for all sorts of fun things: fake sports leagues, skate shops, and other brands. We contacted Casey and Jason (the childhood friends who co-founded Brandiose), and they were game for a collaboration to make us a hat. They only had one stipulation: they wanted to design us a mascot. After a few months of collaborating, we’re ready for you to meet him. Introducing the Pixel Blacksmith…
We smile every time we see this little guy. The Clink Room couldn’t have come up with a better mascot for our industry: tough, dedicated, hammering away at those pixels day and night. Honestly, we can’t believe our luck in finding Casey and Jason. They’ve been incredibly generous with their time and attention, and their work is second-to-none.
So, long story short: hats are coming in about three or four months. Two hats, in fact: a Standard Issue hat with the UP logo you know and love, and a second hat with the Pixel Blacksmith. We can’t wait.