T-Files 010: Brett Wiley

Estate seem to be going from strength to strength – opening a great flagship location in Venice, adding new hat styles to their collections, and continuing to drop amazing collaborations at a rate that I suspect must seem very impressive to anyone else in the hat game. I’ve known Brett for a few years now, and if you’re familiar with Estate hats, you may already know that he plays a big role in everything they produce, from their own gear, through to the production they do for countless other brands. And since I met him through what I loosely call “the t-shirt game” (you can call it streetwear if you like) I thought it’d be cool to interview him and get some insight into the hat world…

Where are you today? Today I am beginning my day up in the SGV, Montrose to be exact, usually my days start in Venice, then I head to our main office up in Montrose, then out to the factory in the SGV and back to Venice. Lots of driving around. 76,000 miles on my 2007 Toyota… mostly all freeway miles with a few out of state trips as well.

Wow. What are you working on? I am making sure everything is running smoothly. We just finished up F/W09 for the Estate line, the reps and distributors all have the samples  now and are selling it well. Estate manufacturing produces hats for approximately 150 different companies in action sports, motor sports, street wear and several other genre’s. We are in the process of setting up our own manufacturer overseas. In the past estate has been all made in Los Angeles, however people want the hats cheaper and we want to be able to provide for the customer so we are working on our own overseas manufacturing. In the end it will lower the costs of the final hats down. So that the customer purchasing from a retail shop will be getting their hats for around $25/unit instead of $40/unit.

What is your role at Estate? My role is a little bit of everything, but majority is brand manager which carries over to all aspects of running an independent company.

Most people probably know Estate as a fitted hat maker. Can you talk about some of the new hat styles you’re now offering? Our most popular hats are definitely our fitteds, however we make 5 panel camper hats, snapbacks, strapbacks, pillbox’s, ivy leagues and beanies.  We are just beginning to get into the vintage baseball caps and pushing that out now.  Look for more of the Estate Heritage Collection soon…

What is the weirdest fabrication you’ve been asked to use? This is a difficult question, the weirdest fabrication….hmm i dont really know.  The tearaway hats are always a strange one.

Of all the collabo hats you’ve produced in the last few years, do you have a fave? We have done alot of great collab’s over the last few years, I have tons of favorites but on my current list of great’s would be the Gatorade hat we just did with Leroy and Gatorade, because the overall packaging was amazing. The King Stampede hats because of the classic look and feel. As far as wearability goes i would have to go with the Freeman Transport heritage collection hat, this hat is by far the most comfortable one I own. The best hat we have ever made though in my opinion would be the snowboard magazine tweed hat.

Have you seen anything cool or inspiring from any other brands lately? Well i like what Seven Union has been doing lately as far as hats, New Era obviously. I love the look incase is going for everything is so smooth with there branding and feel.  The rebirth of Alphanumeric and the branding is great as well. Stronghold Denim has got the vintage look and feel down. Bruxe bags is on my list of favorites as well… The thing with hats is well its all been done and then been redone and done again. There is nothing fresh or amazing. That is why we created the tearaways, it’s something fresh and new, however it’s only a select amount of people that like hats like that. So to me the freshest hats are the most classic-looking hats.

Where do you get inspiration for the Estate hats? Lately my inspiration has been coming from vintage baseball, as well as smooth designs of architecture and luxury items.

Why does streetwear suck/rule in ’09? How many flips on a t-shirt can you see? It all looks the same. I dont know i prefer clothes other than streetwear.

Anything else you’d like to mention? Check our blog for more info on what we are up to www.estatefitteds.blogspot.com or check out the online store if you want to pick up some estate hats www.estatela.com/store. Support US made goods.

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