BRAND: Block Headwear
SINCE: Spring 2000
FOUNDED BY: Ciomi McCabe
HOME BASE: New York City
WHY WE CO-SIGN: Despite what some of us think, headwear is more than just fitteds and snapbacks. Block Headwear, a New York-based brand dedicated to bringing variety and flare to the ubiquitous accessory, is spearheaded by a 15-plus year veteran milliner, Ciomi McCabe, who has worked for industry leaders like Kangol. She creates quality hats that are simple and relaxed, classic yet modern, and offers any dude willing to switch out his blue Yankee, a topper that significantly ups his style quotient.
Keep reading for our interview Ciomi McCabe. Our picks from Block Headwear's most recent collection are also after the jump...
Complex: You know the saying, "shoes can make or break an outfit"? What about hats?
Ciomi: If you really want to make a statement, wear a hat. Hats define your personality. When you find one that fits your style, it accentuates your entire wardrobe.
Complex: We definitely agree. How did you come up with the name "Block Headwear"?
Ciomi: A "block" is the mold upon which you form a hat. Â The name Block Headwear pays homage to the centuries-old art of hat making, where material is molded and steamed around a piece of wood—a "block"—to give the hat its shape. It also plays off the idea of a "block" being the place where you're from and how that influences your style.
Complex: Interesting. So what's your block like and how has it influenced your designs?
Ciomi: I've lived on many blocks... from Cuba, to Caracas, to Miami, to NYC. I think every block I've lived on has influenced my design sensibility. Perhaps this is why Block has the distinction of being a global brand.
Complex: What are your thoughts on the notion that most dudes equate "hat" solely with snapbacks and fitteds?
Ciomi: Actually I'm seeing that men are becoming more aware of styles other than baseball hats—they are finally moving beyond team sports and looking back to old school silhouettes like fedoras, newsboys, and ivys with a contemporary twist.
Complex: Nothing wrong with team sports, but just don't be doused in all that all the time, right? What's the biggest trends in menswear right now, and please suggest some headwear to go with those trends.
Ciomi: Cleaned-up looks and tailored silhouettes with a casual aesthetic is the look going forward. Block's spring/summer and autumn/winter 2010 collections were designed to complement these trends. Fedoras and ivys remain strong silhouettes with special attention placed on textures, and fabric mixing.
Complex: What's your all-time favorite hat on guys?
Ciomi: It's not about the style, it's about how a man wears his hat and the confidence that he exudes.
Complex: Good point. Lastly, what are some challenges faced by a brand that only produces hats?
Ciomi: I believe it's a strength since my energies aren't spent designing into additional categories—there is no diversion from what I'm trying to create. But with that aside, we're looking into developing accessories to complement Block's collections.