The modern ball cap can trace its ties to baseball all the way back to 1860 when the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore a similar design to keep the sun out of their faces during game play. The ball cap has evolved throughout the years and is worn not only by baseball players, but almost every athlete wears one before, during, or after game play. Even our military wears them while on duty as part of the uniform (at least the Navy). Nearly everyone owns at least one ball cap, but do you know how many are made in the U.S.A.?
A look in my closet revealed this…
Even though its design was made popular by an American sport, of the 28 hats and visors in my closet, China topped the list with 21; followed by the Philippines with 2; and then Taiwan, Macau, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and U.S.A. each with 1. Even the NRA cap with an American flag stitched on the side was made in China. It is really difficult to walk into a store and find a cap that isn’t made overseas, but all hope is not lost. Competition Headwear, of Denver, Colorado, is one company that has bucked the trend of sending production overseas and only manufactures caps that are 100-percent made in America.
Founded in the early 1980s, Competition Headwear designs, embroiders, and assemblies their caps entirely inside the same facility. The present owners, who acquired the company in 1992, have grown the business into one that has 200 heads of embroidery equipment and the ability to manufacture almost 4,000 caps in one day. Keeping both the embroidery and assembly in one facility allows Competition Headwear to not only control the manufacturing process, but actually make a better product.
Their primary business focus is the manufacturing of custom caps for the events, entertainment, and promotional industries. Their customers are in the business of marketing a product. With keeping the manufacturing in-house, unlike other cap makers, they can embroider the material used in a cap before actually assembling the finished cap. This allows the artwork to be a large as possible, providing the most marketing exposure that they can.
Along with the embroidery capability, Competition Headwear provides what almost seems like an endless choice of options for those ordering a custom cap. The options include over 10 different cap styles and over 20 fabric choices, each with a number of color choices; not to mention many closure, visor, and embellishment options. Enough choices to make that custom cap stand out from the crowd.
With a tiny percentage of baseball caps on the market that are actually made in American, finding one can be difficult, but not impossible. Apparel that is labeled ‘Made in the USA’ falls under different labeling requirements than other products so sometimes careful examination is needed. Competition Headwear knows this and along with priding themselves on where their product is made, they have a page dedicated to educating consumers about how to identify an actual American made cap.
Baseball is an American sport and so too should be the equipment and apparel. Domestic cap manufacturers do exist, it is just a question of if they have a contract with the team that you support. But if you are in charge of sourcing ball caps for your team, company, or client, visit the online ordering section of Competition Headwear to see if an American made cap is in the budget.