The holiday season is upon us again. As we have done in years past other years past, Freshness designed a special gift to thank our tireless staff, dear friends, and families. With the help of Kangol, for this year’s edition, we created the Freshness x KANGOL Jacquard Reversible Knit Cap. Similar to other collaborative projects, the final design took shape over the course of several meetings early in the year, though we knew from the start the design must be simple yet versatile. Headed by Freshness Co-Founder Dan Hwang and KANGOL’s Nic Harris and Jeff Chen, the year-long creative process
addressed specific design aspects. Because the cap is reversible with a plain pattern on one side and a Nordic print on the other, there is no hassle when it comes to accessorizing the multitude of winter outfits. Collaborations can be somewhat ostentatious at times, which is why we concocted the special pattern with a seemingly normal motif. Upon closer inspection, our Tree Logo emerges while not demanding too much branding attention. An additional design innovation is a Pom-Pom which the wearer can removable, allowing the wearer even more flexibility in how to wear it.
From start of the project, Dan Hwang, Co-Founder of Freshness Magazine, poured over the various ideas he had. Working closely with Jeff Chen, Product Merchandiser for Kangol, a few of those ideas became the basis of what you see here. In actualize the unique jacquard pattern design set by Hwang, a Fair Isle – Nordic print inspired creation with the Freshness “Tree Logo” inconspicuously incorporated and an unostentatious reverse side, Kangol had to do something quite different. Instead of the usual 3-4 color process, KANGOL added a 5-color process for the charcoal edition and a 3-color one for the brown. KANGOL also went back to its suppliers in looking for a method to retain the fabric’s resiliency. The solution, they discovered, was to alter the knitting gauge for the fabric in order to achieve the optimal flex. One other added benefit, rather than the obtrusive, coarse feel we have come to associate lambswool knitwear with, this specific lambswool fabric delivers a Merino Wool-like feel.
One of other key features is the removable Pom-Pom. There are plenty of reversible pull-over headwear. But never a reversible one with a Pom-Pom on top, for obvious reason. Following several meetings between both men, the concept for a removable Pom-Pom came to fruition. Since there were no previous designs to serve as reference, Chen went look for inspiration from the most unlikely source, bulky wool sweater. From it, a large button at the base of the Pom-Pom itself. In subsequent meetings with KANGOL technicians on the factory floor, Chen devised a small knitting patch on the cap itself where the Pom-Pom can attach itself. The first few prototypes then went around the factory to ensure the Pom-Pom can be attach and re-attach by anyone easily.
With no detail spared, the Freshness x KANGOL Jacquard Reversible Knit Cap will include genuine details, like real wooden button for the Pom-Pom, authentic nubuck leather debased with the two brands, even the addition of a leather key tab as an added element. While at times tiring, for all those involved in this project however, the design process was a thrilling experience. Everyone at Freshness and KANGOL are simply ecstatic about the end product. And we hope you will be too.
In preparation for the mid-November roll out. We have asked several creative types in New York City to take our cap out for a spin. From entrepreneurs to curators, publishers, and photographers each one we selected plays an integral part in this business of ours. Click through to get a look at both of our caps in action. Additionally, in the holiday spirit of giving and gifting, the Freshness x KANGOL Jacquard Reversible Knit Cap will also be available at select Kangol retail outlets worldwide.
Wooster Street Social Club – woostersocial.com
Fans of the reality television series NY Ink will often notice a rotation of different backdrops. That shift in visuals is the work of Caroline McConnaughey, the Creative Director of Wooster Street Social Club. While the Social Club is technically a tattoo parlor, McConnaughey, a former Director at Italy’s Drago Publishing, instilled a seamless creative presence between multiple forms of art, whether it be on canvas, wood panels, television monitors, metals, or skin.
Dave’s Wear House – daveswearhouse.com
His previous stints in action sports have served Dave Ortiz well. Years ago, many didn’t stop to shop in the desolated stretch of East Village, but Ortiz had the foresight to open his first store there. It quickly became the most talked about retail space in NYC and regenerated the once wasted neighborhood. In his new venture, Dave’s Wear House, Ortiz is tapping another unlikely community for its full potential. In between NYC’s Chinatown, Little Italy, and parts of SoHo, Ortiz sees a new juncture for the interest of a unique active lifestyle.
Dana Droppo + Hana May
Director of Social Media + Founder-Editorial Director
hearty Magazine – heartymagazine.com
In a field awash with fashion hoopla, unhealthy dating tips, and celebrity buzz, Hearty Magazine stands apart from the rest of its female-centric publication cohorts. Founded by Hana May with daily maintenance by a dedicated group of similarly-minded ladies like Dana Droppo, the online magazine features opinionated dialogues on various subjects, especially those of emerging cultures, all with a humorous twang. The site likes to present, in other words, what girls “really” think about.
Need to know what the definition is to a polymath? There is no need to look further than Jeff Staple. One part designer, one part lecturer, and two parts entrepreneur, Staple dabbled in almost everything related to Lower East Side culture through his design outfit, Staple Design. And if you want to delve into the mind of a true creative type, just stop by Staple’s retail chapter, Reed Space, where a cornucopia of concepts awaits you.
Ask Nico Reyes about the going-ons of the Lower East Side and he will have five answers for you, a reason why everyone calls him “The Mayor of Orchard Street”. Jovial and quick-witted with a smile (as seen above) Reyes’s diversified inclinations on the Lower East Side’s current events made him the go-to-person, especially when friends are in New York City for the first time. But it isn’t only about the LES or the Big Apple. Reyes can point to you all nuances on a particular merchandise in Reed Space or the details that went into Staple Design’s cut & sew silhouettes. After all, while he might be mayor of a particular street, he’s the manger of Reed Space, first and foremost.
Brand Manager & Merchandiser-In-Chief
ALIFE – alifenyc.com
He’s one of the official spokesperson for BlackBerry Style phones. To anyone who knows him, however, Jesse Villanueva is just one of the boys. Brand Manager and Merchandiser-In-Chief for ALIFE, a Lower East Side original, Villanueva isn’t just a sneaker connoisseur. Instead, he’s a historian of sorts, with a near perfect visual memory of each pair of sneakers he ever brought or loved. He’s also a forecaster of trends, able to translate ideas on paper into styles on models for the next season. And finally, he’s a builder who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty in a machine shop when he’s constructing his next bike from scratch. He has a unique mix of skill sets, which may be the reason why he was the subject of The New York Times’ prize-winning feature, One in 8 Million.
DJ Clark Kent
DJ & Producer
There is really no need for an introduction for this man except that he’s an icon among many. In the three decades, DJ Clark Kent been in the music industry, he took on every imaginable responsibility. He has been the CEO of his own Superman Entertainment, owner of ClarkWorld Entertainment, Senior Vice President of A&R at Motown Records with artists like the Notorious B.I.G., Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube, Rakim, The Fugees, Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, Junior M.A.F.I.A., P. Diddy, and on… Clark’s prolific resume reads like the history book of hip-hop. But he will be the first to tell you that he’s just a normal guy with a penchant for Nike Air Force 1s, a love for good music, and a comfort behind his turntables or the Nike iD Design Studio. Humble perhaps, Clark’s nothing short of extraordinary to those around him.
“Hawaii” Mike Salman
Co-Founder & Partner
LTD+ MGMT – ltdmag.com
Starting from his first gig 15-plus years ago to now, “Hawaii” Mike Salman’s been one of the greatest influencers in the street culture industry. Heard of LTD Magazine or Inked? Salman’s the founder of both. Creative entities such as Music Solutions, Seed Gives Life and LTD+ were his creation as well, not to mention his work with Mountain Dew, Motorola, Nike, Burton Snowboards, SoBe, T-Mobile, Def Jam, Etnies, and Capcom, just to name a few. Now a business partner of DJ Clark Kent in LTD+ MGM, Salman is bring his expertise to the table as manager for BMX rider Nigel Sylvester, photographer Jonathan Mannion, and commentators Mayor and DJ Timbuck2. The pace never stops for this original hustler.
Director & Photographer
Jason G. Lewis Photography – jasonglewis.com
Some of the most memorable images, including a pre-arranged lineup in front of ALIFE for a memorable Vapors cover, almost never happened if photographer Jason Lewis stuck to his college major of psychology after he graduated. A consummated tinkerer of cameras since his early youth, Jason’s trained vision permits him to document the beauty of Japan & South Korea, the impossible feats of international B-Boys & skaters and countless portraits of artists, actors, musicians & celebrities.