BRAND: New Era

SINCE: New Era in 1920; Tradition in 2006

HOME BASE: Buffalo, NY

WHY WE CO-SIGN: As soon as Jay-Z killed the throwback jersey on wax, we started patiently waiting for sports gear to make a return. Since then we've seen a couple companies try to capitalize on that market with pieces that were either too uninspired or poorly designed. But finally, there seems to be a rightful heir to the throwback throne. New Era, the company that makes every hat in your closet, and Tradition, an Atlanta-based apparel design company, have come together to create New Era presents Tradition. The line signals not only a return of sports attire but also the HBCU steez that rappers used to rock heavy in the mid-'90s...

The new line will consist of caps and a full line of apparel (jerseys, jackets, sweatshirts, tees, and fleeces) to support "the Yard" initiative which works to promote and advance "the tradition, culture and aspirations of Historically Black Colleges and Universities." And if you cop a couple items not only will it be a good look for you, you'll also be supporting underprivileged kids as a portion of all sales will be put towards scholarships—it's a win/win. We wouldn't even be surprised if we saw Jigga rockin' a couple pieces. As long as they came in all-black, of course.

WHERE TO FIND IT: New Era Tradition Collection later this month.

Complex: How has "the Yard" influenced the overall look and feel of your collection?

Gerard Murray of Tradition: The inspiration for the collection is always developed first with our Tradition creative team, who extensively research the history and rich legacy of these schools. We then find a theme for the season that fits the selected schools and build out a collection to which we feel will represent the pride and passion of the school's current student body, alumni and faithful supporters. We stay true to being authentic and classic with every detail.

WOOL COLLEGE TEAM
Available September 15 at New Era, $170
woolcollege

Complex: Any anticipated collaborations?

Todd Sokolowski of New Era: Since there has been no fashionable collection put together like this,the buzz to do even more are endless for the NE / Tradition team. We are currently exploring the idea with a major footwear brand and also an electronic accessory company about creating a limited addition package for certain schools. Until licensing approval and rights are cleared they are on ice for now. We have also been in contact with notable celebrity Alumni to possibly create a small fashion group inspired by them for their school.

EVER SINCE HENLEY
Available September 15 at New Era, $50
henley

Complex: What are your retail plans for the future?

Todd Sokolowski, New Era: The goal from the very beginning was to create a fashion forward collegiate collection for school bookstores, to cater to the students keen fashion sense in a way that's never been done before. We also want to current with the styles/direction in the marketplace so that our key fashion retail doors would appreciate and not just look at as the standard license product seen over the years. This creative hook up with apparel and headwear, as it relates to New Era presents Tradition, has been long over due in market place.The time is now to fill this void, be it building more business it with our new & existing retail partners domestic and global. Also a major factor will be the NE flagship stores and our E shop that will also play a key role with providing an avenue to answer the demands and needs.