It seems like everyone these days is wearing a New Era 59Fifty fitted baseball cap. But it’s not just about the color of underbrims, unique colorways, old-school World Series patches, or what team you’re representing anymore. These days, some of the most coveted fitted hats boast embroidery that ranges from a simple branding hit—like those ever popular “MoMA” Yankee fitteds—to detailed renderings of palm trees or the Statue of Liberty. These types of hats are easy to find at Lids, Hat Club, your local mom and pop shop, or on New Era’s webstore these days.But you definitely won’t find those crazy embroidered fitteds that stars like Quavo and Wiz Khalifa are wearing as easily. That’s because those hats are essentially one of ones, produced in extremely limited batches out of a small apartment in Jacksonville, Florida, by a 29-year-old named Darius McQueen. He’s better known as Lordfubu, the founder of the brand Everything We Do Is Limited, which has held the custom New Era fitted game in a headlock.
“The idea of bringing that whole TI$A snapback type of vibe on a fitted, I thought that was groundbreaking at the time,” says Lordfubu. “And it proved its point. You got big companies, New Era themselves, making their own general release versions of Lordfubu hats. It doesn’t bother me, it’s just funny to see.”
In March of 2020, Lordfubu launched Everything We Do Is Limited, a streetwear brand that has gained widespread recognition for its uniquely embroidered fitted hats and apparel. You’ve likely seen his hats on members of the Migos, who all rocked Lordfubu’s fitteds in the music video for “Why Not” earlier this year. And if you didn’t catch them there, you might have seen Chief Keef wearing Lordfubu’s hats in some fit pics recently. Juelz Santana recently wore one on a date with his wife, and Druski rocked his Fubu fitted while flying on a private jet. From Amine to J.I.D, everyone is wearing Lordfubu’s pieces and Quavo has even told Complex that Lordfubu is one of the only designers he’s tapped in with today. Quavo loves the brand so much that he even wore a EWDIL fitted while hanging out with Bobby Shmurda on the New York rapper’s first day out. Quavo has one of the rarest Fubu fitteds, since the designer made him a custom Atlanta Braves hat that used the “A” to spell out Quavo’s name with embroidery.
“Out of all the hats he could have chosen for that day, he put that one on one. There are no words for that feeling,” says Lordfubu, who has even shipped hats to Drake. “You just scroll [on Instagram], you see it, and you’re like: ‘Holy shit, it’s real.’”
At ComplexCon, Everything We Do Is Limited will drop an exclusive range of products at the event’s “Brands To Watch” space. Alongside the embroidered fitted caps, a yellow, Snoop Dogg-inspired knit sweater, MF Doom tribute T-shirts, socks, blankets, and more will be available. An independent business owner who sells directly to his customers, Lordfubu credits the success of his brand to proper timing. Prior to launching Everything We Do Is Limited, Lordfubu had already built a hardcore cult following as a hip-hop producer known for his ethereal and dreamy collaborations with ASAP Ant. But creating his own clothing brand was a dream Lordfubu had ever since he was a teenager. Fortunately, music unexpectedly opened that door into streetwear for him. He produced his first pieces in January of last year––a T-shirt and a pair of Champion shorts through a collaboration with ASAP Ant’s Marino Infantry skate brand.
“That was the first $8,000 I ever made selling a product, I didn’t know that was possible. I was doing things like selling beats and drum kits for $25 to just make $500 at the end of the week,” remembers Lordfubu, who redesigned a Marino Infantry logo that replaced the brand’s skateboards with Akai drum kits. “But seeing how lucrative and how interested people were in what I was creating fueled a fire within me.”
His collaboration with Marino Infantry rolled into launching Everything We Do Is Limited a couple of months later. Although Lordfubu has always loved fitteds ever since he was a kid matching his Cincinnati Reds cap with a pair of sneakers, the idea to embroider them only came after he noticed the resurging popularity of fitteds at the start of the pandemic. Immediately, Lordfubu remembered the success of Taz Arnold’s TI$A hats—which arrived at the height of the vintage snapbacks trend—and sought to recapture a similar energy with his embroidered fitteds. The success came instantly.
“Maybe items would sit on the site for five to 10 minutes, but for the most part, things were moving at a very fast pace,” says Lordfubu, when recounting the reception he received for his first drops. “Today, I can’t even keep things on the website for five seconds.”
Since launching his brand, Lordfubu has been busy designing, shipping, and dropping his custom embroidered pieces nearly every day. Aside from learning how to design clothes through YouTube videos, he’s developed a strong relationship with a professional local embroidery store that brings his pop-culture inspired designs to life. True to his brand’s name, he produces his products in extremely limited runs. For example, he might take just a single Yeezy Gap hoodie, hit it with an embroidery inspired by Gundam, and then drop a link on Twitter for just one lucky supporter to buy it. Since he’s somewhat of an underground fitted cap bootlegger, Lordfubu says he’s banned from buying hats directly from New Era. But he has been able to keep his inventory stable by purchasing from their stockists and buying fitteds for retail—which explains the high asking price of $160 per cap. Lordfubu says that he’s personally obsessed with researching the history of team logos, and he seeks to understand how certain logos evolved or why certain patches were used over the years. His embroideries are inspired by his own interests in video games and anime, but also from his research into the areas his hats represent.
“A Florida Marlins hat, I’ll look at it and I’ll ask myself what in Florida is prominent that wouldn’t look goofy on a hat, but still looks cool enough to make? You don’t want to just put bullshit on bullshit,” says Lordfubu, who points out the backlash New Era received from locals nationwide when the brand released an embroidered fitted cap collection dubbed “City Market.” “It’s supposed to mean something and make sense. Unlike when New Era did the whole ‘City Market’ drop. That’s the No. 1 example of doing bullshit on bullshit, and they got called out for it.”
But Lordfubu isn’t looking to knock New Era out. As a designer who looks toward color theory to come up with unique embroideries, he says that one of his biggest goals is to officially collaborate with New Era on custom hat colorways for three different teams. Although more designers are producing their own unique embroidered fitteds, Lordfubu says he’s not worried about any competitors because he also produces blankets, socks, shirts, hoodies, sweaters, and more. And the success of his brand doesn’t mean he’s turned his back away from the studio either. In August, Lordfubu produced a full-length album for AK The Savior of The Underachievers and also dropped a new single with ASAP Twelvyy.
“It has actually helped me a lot, being an owner of a brand and a music producer. Because when it’s time to make music again, I can do that with a free mind,” says Lordfubu, who is currently developing his album Fubu In a M3. “I was making beats to make money and it killed the quality of my music. When it’s time to make music nowadays, it’s a release now rather than an occupation.”
Despite the fact that major hat retailers like Lids have called up Lordfubu for potential Everything We Do Is Limited collaborations, Lordfubu says that he wants to remain independent and be underground for as long as possible. Since his days selling beats, he says he has always wanted to present himself as someone who stays committed to his fans before anything else.
“I don’t want a storefront or anything where it’s not out of my apartment anymore,” says Lordfubu. “I want it to always be underground, hard to get your hands on, and not easy to find. The only way you can have it is if you really are invested in what’s going on on this side.”
ComplexCon takes place from Nov. 6 to Nov. 7 in Long Beach, Calif. Sign up for more info and access at complexcon.com.