Coal Headwear is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and the hits just keep coming. They recently released the one-of-a-kind, five-panel Richmond SE cap -- a collab between Coal and Otter Wax. Coal’s Head Designer Jenn Long gave us the backstory, and we got to wax up our own cap. She speaks to the inspiration behind the project, and how a little block of wax can turn a cap into a classic. Read on for the full interview. StokeLab: What is your role at Coal, and what part did you play in the design and development of the Richmond SE?
Jenn Long: I’m Head Designer—I work on seasonal concepts and styles, as well as developing new styles and colorways. For the Richmond SE I worked with Chris [Chase], the founder of Otter Wax, figuring out how to pair his product with ours. It was a collective discussion of what cap would be best for the project, fabric selection, what trims to use, what the final package should look and feel like.
What inspired this collaboration between Coal and Otter Wax? How did the two companies get connected?
It was pretty serendipitous. We already had waxed materials in our line and wanted a way to improve them. Around that same time, my fiancé was given a bar of Otter Wax by a friend of Chris Chase. I looked more into Otter Wax and really liked the story, the ingredients, the overall idea of the products and the inspiration behind the line. I reached out to Chris and found that he was just as interested in our products and story—the rest is history.
How long did it take to bring the project from conception to the February 2013 launch?
Between the early conversations to the actual product delivery it was about one year, start to finish.
How would you describe the design process? What was the end goal, from a fashion and function perspective?
For this particular piece we had more elements at play than our typical cap. We utilized one of our classic five-panel silhouettes [styles] paired with new fabric. Together with Chris, we created all new trims, and Chris created a new bar size and packaging specifically for our cap. The process was different because of involving a new voice and decision maker, but it was still pretty smooth. We all had the same thing in mind: pairing a timeless cap with the Otter Wax as a way to elevate the product, and giving the wearer the ability to add their own personal touch.
What stands out about the Richmond SE? Is it designed with a certain person in mind? It looks like it's made to stand the test of time…
The intention was to create something that is functional, classic and is current enough that you want to wear it now, and for years to come. We chose 100% cotton canvas in black and olive because of the classic, time tested nature of both colors. We kept the branding classy and clean too, from the suede label at the back to the subtle embroidery at the side.
Any other exciting projects in the works?
For Fall ‘13 we have a different silhouette with the Otter Wax package. We also have a new seven-panel cap, with fresh branding and a new stamped leather adjuster. Overall it’s a great update for someone who wants an understated, streamlined look that’s still a little different from a five panel. We have some other cap projects in the works; you will need to stay tuned for those … exciting things to come!
[Words and Photos by Mike Horn]