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Are snapbacks returning?

New trend alert

Are snapbacks returning? New trend alert

The first time I saw a snapback was on a rap music video in 2011 or 2012. I was a kid at that time, but I have always thought that snapbacks were so unique items. I was right. Their being different from the standard, with that big flat brim, distinct from the curved brim, has always given to snapback that statement piece aura, something to wear on top of a strong outfit of the same level. It's not casual if since always it is considered as one of the main favourite accessories of the rappers, who are universally known as people always very careful about their look.

Well, snapbacks are returning. We left them in the past decade, and since 2014 they started to be less present in the celebs' wardrobe, this because snapbacks always trained us to moments of big fame alternated with periods of almost total anonymity. Now, after five years of absence, it's time to return on the head of the biggest exponents of the rap and finally trap rap scene, because it was the explosion of the trap rap scene to discard momentarily snapbacks, preferring their cousins with the curved brim.


We have already cited the history of snapbacks and their ups and downs of popularity. The first snapback ever - in the modern shape - was of the Brooklyn Excelsiors, in the very far 1858. Since then, almost all the baseball teams started to propose their snapback to help players to have better visibility in the games under the sun. Starting from here, snapback started to be renowned with the name of "baseball cap".

In the 30s, New Era - which turns 100 this year - put its hands on this business and gave birth to the 8-panel cap, the cap with eight panels, then became six in 1954 and nowadays the main item of the American brand. The production of the New Era snapbacks signed with the crests of all the MLB teams started so. Since then, the snapback continued to gain fame, until the 80s, when the ball went in the rappers' hands, the protagonists - influencers docet - of the youth culture of then. From the Run DMC to N.W.A., from 2pac to Nas, going from Lil Wayne to 50 Cent. Every rapper had a service snapback in those years, influencing the black culture as the pop culture. This was seen even in television, with Will Smith who often worn a snapback turned on the side in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"'s episodes. In the meanwhile, the snapback had invaded even the other popular sports in the USA, like basket or football.

In the 2000s the snapback spread definitely, finding between 2011 and 2013 the two-year period of maximum splendour in the modern era. The key person of this evolution was Tyler, The Creator, who was filmed in the video of "Yonkers" with a Supreme 5-panel cap on his head: the snapback was no more a baseball exclusive starting from there. In fact, already from 2004, since the opening of the Los Angeles store of the brand created by James Jebbia, lots of skaters were seen wearing 5-panels caps, which were with the flat brim, introducing the snapback in the skate culture. 

The entrance of the snapback in other planet consolidated the item among the most bought, and even in less lucky periods like the last years, the cap continued to be proposed by New Era and by the major skateboarding clothing brands, like Palace or Supreme itself. However, as we have said, last years were so poor for the snapback. At the start of the article, we talked of its periods of popularity and of its anonymous moments, as when in the 70s the snapback still was just an exclusive of the baseball pitch. In the last decade, after a good start, the snapback has stopped to be fashionable, until Virgil Abloh saluted the attendance after the last Off-White show with a Chicago White Sox's New Era on the head.


We all know how an item becomes "hype" when a few elects wear it, people like Kanye WestTravis Scott (who is also a lover of the 5-panels cap), or the same Abloh and Tyler, The Creator. In addition, the creative director of Off-White has already thought to some snapbacks for his brand, and two of them were on the FW20 of the Milan based mark. Fashion shows are the right moments for rewriting the value of the snapback, matching it with clothes which are totally unrelated to its nature, like a suit. At this regard, the next ones who could introduce the snapback in their collection are designers who are so close with the Z Generation, like Marcelo Burlon and Francesco Ragazzi.

At the end of this discussion, there's to praise who always been a loyal of the snapback, over the trends: Jay Z. Beyoncé's husband has been photographed so many times with a snapback on his head, over a classic shaving haircut or on an afro hairstyle more jaunty, and in every context, he was always the coolest rapper with the baseball cap, enough to make it a part of his identity. In the last times, Brooklyn's rapper (not surprisingly the city where the modern snapback born) was often immortalized with a special New Era on, signed with the logo of Roc Nations Sports - with which he's trying to build his empire as a sports agent -, a good way to free promote his last idea as entrepreneur-rapper.

How snapback went from the baseball pitches to the runways we owe to its atypical shape, to its extremely street personality and to its soul, forged in the years by the rap battles in the hoods as by the skaters of all the world. In 2020, a new challenge awaits the old baseball cap: reconfirming itself as a cult item of the streetwear and return to the public eye.