Two Norwegian brothers made it their mission to perfect the all-American baseball cap — and that undertaking was actualized with the founding of Varsity Headwear, a sustainable luxury headwear company based in Norway that aligns handcrafted, premium product and ethical manufacturing.
Founded in Oslo by Alexander and Sebastian Adams in 2013, the design duo is squarely focused on ideal fit, form and delivering a true sense of luxury with its product: Its baseball caps are made with cashmere, alpaca, synthetic suede and wool, as well as technical fabrics such as sleek and buttery soft oilskin, linen cotton and corduroy.
And now, the brand paves its path forward with a sense of duty. For this coming Black Friday, Varsity Headwear has partnered with UNICEF Norway, a chapter of UNICEF Global, for an “Anti-black Friday” weekend event. The brand will donate 10 percent of all sales to UNICEF beginning on Black Friday and throughout the weekend, until Sunday night — the idea is to offer shoppers an alternative to standard holiday sales, reevaluate consumption, and instead give back to the community at a time when it’s needed most.
Here, Alexander Adams, cofounder of Varsity Headwear, talks to WWD about its partnership with UNICEF and the narrative behind the brand.
WWD: What was the genesis of Varsity Headwear?
Alexander Adams: Both my brother and I share a love for classic baseball caps but could never find one with the quality and shape we desired. Baseball caps are traditionally thought of as cheap, sports products — not as luxury fashion accessories. We saw an opportunity to redefine and elevate the traditional American baseball cap and become the world’s first high-end cap specialist.
From the beginning, we have focused on perfecting the fit, feel and fabrics of our caps. Over seven years of continuous development has gone into perfecting the caps you see today. Our goal has always been simple: to create a timeless baseball cap made from quality materials with a premium fit that customers love and continue to wear for years to come.
WWD: Let’s discuss the brand’s collaboration with UNICEF. What initiated this partnership?
A.A.: Our dream has always been to build an honest and sustainable brand everyone at Varsity Headwear is proud of. We are committed to building a business that is more than just about selling caps and we feel a certain responsibility to give back during these times.
UNICEF is a global organization that positively impacts communities by saving children’s lives and fighting for their rights from early childhood to adolescence. Their mission is something that really resonates with us — every child deserves the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
This Black Friday weekend, we are proud to be partnering with UNICEF Norway (a chapter of UNICEF Global) by donating a minimum of 10 percent of the proceeds from each sale from Friday to Sunday night. In addition, we have committed to making a monetary donation to the organization, in an effort to continue what we hope will be a long-standing relationship. Last year, we donated 250 caps to children in need over the holiday season.
Historically, Black Friday sales encourage overproduction and overconsumption, something we know is not a sustainable long-term solution – and something we do not believe in. Thus, we believe we can make a significant impact in changing the world, one cap at a time, by partnering with one of the world’s most impactful charities.
WWD: What is the process for selecting fabrics?
A.A.: As with any new project or process at Varsity Headwear, we start by dreaming big. We ask ourselves, what the most ideal solution for our needs would be and then work back until it is possible to accomplish.
When selecting fabrics, we work closely with our suppliers and partners to bring our customers the most premium, cutting-edge fabrics sourced from some of the world’s most luxurious and sustainable mills. For example, we use Oilskin sourced from the original oilskin factory in Dundee, Scotland and use wool from the infamous Loro Piana from Italy, our denim from Japan, technical fabrics from Switzerland and linens are from Italy.
WWD: Why is Varsity differentiated in the market? How would you describe your customer?
A.A.: Varsity Headwear is one of the only brands solely focused on caps. We wanted to give the same level of consideration and time to our caps, as a perfectly tailored suit. Every component of our caps has been thought through and designed with the utmost intention.
For example, shape may seem like a simple adjustment, but people would be surprised to know how hard it is to make a beautifully shaped and great fitting cap. When worn, a cap becomes a part of you, which makes it quite personal.
We also take great pride in the quality of materials we use in our caps. We have traveled the world to source the most technical and luxurious fabrics from the best and most sustainable fabric producers.
Our customers vary in age, gender and come from a wide range of backgrounds. What they all share in common though, is the desire to find a high-quality cap, timeless in style and most importantly, a cap that fits well. They value the craftsmanship and attention to detail in our caps — some even considering themselves as collectors (or cap connoisseurs). Our customers are extremely loyal, and once they purchase their very first Varsity Headwear cap, it’s hard to find a better fitting and looking cap.
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