Roc Nation has partnered up with New Era to launch their debut collaboration with the MLB for a capsule collection that will certainly catch the eye of anyone in tune with the culture. With the first debut on Friday, March 31, the limited edition collection will launch on two more occasions throughout 2017 on New Era and Lids websites, as well as flagship stores. This $50 collaboration is just the tip of the iceberg for the culture pushing teams.
VIBE caught up with the Roc’s Head of Lifestyle Operations Emory “Vegas” Jones to discuss the inspiration behind the collaboration, future plans for the brand and why New Era and Roc Nation form the perfect marriage. For now, Jay Z’s company is continuing the legacy of his quote “I make the Yankee hat more famous that a Yankee can.”
Vibe: How did the New Era x Roc Nation collaboration come together?
Emory Jones: I got a call from New Era. New Era having the official license for the MLB and Lids being a number one partner with that, it just felt like they wanted to make a change in the culture. It was brought to my eyes that they wanted to do something so you know me. When I first heard about it, I was all the way in. I look at the opportunity that is bigger than selling a hat.
Was the MLB your preferred sport to collaborate with?
Personally, I already do a lot of things with a lot of other sports. With New Era, I did a bunch of stuff with the NBA. We are ready to do some stuff with the NFL. When you think about a hat, our crown is famous right now. It’s a collector’s item. Why not go with the league who started the cap. I looked at it from that standpoint – MLB being America’s pastime. This was an opportunity to teach our youth who don’t understand [that] some more and bring them back into what was going on.
When I was growing up, soccer was my favorite sport, I used to play it all year long until I got to high school. When I got to high school, I stopped playing because that wasn’t the cool thing to do. [It was] football and basketball and then football and soccer were during the same season so I gave up something I loved just to please everybody else. I just wanted to show the youth that there is a lot of culture in all sports and I’m a big fan of MLB, always been since my mom embedded in me that the Yankees were the best thing ever. Me, being born in Maryland and moving back and forth since I was 14, people thought I became a Yankee fan after I started coming to New York and I was like, ‘Nah. From day one.’
Why is Roc Nation and New Era the perfect marriage?
Not to be arrogant, but what we do in Roc Nation is so in tune with the culture that it’s one of those things where we live it. When you talk about a cap, no one does it better than a New Era cap. I grew up on fitted hats. I remember I couldn’t wait to be able to afford a fitted hat because it was like stepping into a new space. Lids was the place. You would go by the Lids store and think, one day I’ll be able to get a fitted hat, and once I got my first fitted hat, I knew I arrived. It was an addiction. It was like you took another step into a higher place.
I know only a few hats are coming out in select Lids locations across the country, Is there going to be a re-release at some point?
Yes. The thing was to put it out there tastefully. I didn’t want to make it limited. It’s to be tasteful and understood. Once it’s understood why it’s done, we come back later with it. Everybody that knows me knows that I’m down for the everyday man. I love the everyday kid.
So what’s next for New Era and Roc Nation?
We’ve had a long relationship that has been going smooth since day one. We still have two more drops for MLB coming later. That’s already in play [and] happening this year. After that, I’m going to let it flow into some other leagues to and see what we can do.
You grew up a soccer fan. Do you see a possible collaboration with Roc Nation and that part of the culture?
Of course. That’s something that we have been talking about for the last couple of years. I feel like it’s one of the sports I would like to get the community more involved with. The thing that I loved about soccer growing up was that it kept me in shape. Being out in the field opens your mind up and I feel it’s more than just a sport. I think there are great opportunities there.
Jerseys are becoming a big thing. Is a Roc Nation soccer jersey in the works?
I’ll tell you what, I’m not gonna put it all out there, but there are a few things already in that pipeline.