Snapback to the Future

By Zachary Gray

It seems that every decade there is a trend in fashion that stands out. The 80’s featured leg warmers and shoulder pads; Air-Jordans and flannels highlighted the 90s, and the 2000s popularized Sperry Top-Siders and yoga pants. But the end of the decade and the start of the 2010s seems to be taking a trip to the past. As fitted baseball caps remain popular in men’s head-ware, snapbacks have been making a comeback.

Snapbacks are on the rise again

The term snapback comes from the adjustable strap on the back of the hat. Made from a durable plastic, the strap features buttons which “snap” into place. Snapbacks are typically made of cotton or wool, feature vibrant colors and large designs. The brim of the hat is almost always flat.

For years, snapbacks were used in various sports, especially for the NBA Draft. A newly drafted player would be given the team’s snapback to wear before shaking hands with the commissioner. Below is an example from the 1996 NBA draft, as Allen Iverson is drafted #1 overall (Iverson receives his hat at 0:53).

During the early 90’s, West Coast rap was popularizing snapbacks, especially Oakland Raiders hats. Snapbacks would gain popularity throughout different age groups, areas, and other demographics. Towards the end of the decade, fitted hats took over.

Ice Cube rocking the Raiders snapback

Snapsbacks have made a comeback, though. Whether it’s the classic style, the vibrant colors, or simply the fit, it’s unsure why snapbacks are at such high demand again. Hat stores such as Lids and HatWorld sell New Era and Mitchell & Ness snapbacks for $30 dollars. Vintage snapbacks can be found online, with prices ranging from $20-$70 dollars. Even when the trend seemed to have gone out of style, snapbacks are proving to be timeless.

Michigan Wolverines snapback, made by New Era

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