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Highsnobiety Q&A March, 8 2013

A Conversation with 40oz VAN & A Look at his ‘KIDS’ NY Hat

Here we present a short Q&A with the Bronx-Bomber  40oz Van. Ultimately known for his high fashion inspired snap backs that sell out in a 12 hour span, Van discusses his roots, recent success, inspiration and how he built a name and business for himself.

So 40oz. Van, tell us a little about yourself, where your from? How you incorporated the name 40oz. Van.?

I’m a born and raised New Yorker, Bronx bred, but currently residing in New Rochelle (Westchester). My real name is Joel, but everyone knows me better as 40oz VAN. A few years back I use to throw huge BBQ’s Uptown in Washington Heights where 40oz’s we’re given out for free by me. The Van part of my name came from the actual sneakers, I use to wear a lot of Vans SK8 HI’s, half cabs etc.

We all know the NY ‘Balmain’ inspired snapback was the first official release you did yourself, but I know you’ve done work with Deadline Ltd. on that ‘H.N.I.C.’ collab, was that when you realized it was your time to step in and design your own stuff?

Peace to NA & Junebug from Deadline, they were the first people to give me an opportunity to collaborate with an actual established brand, before anyone knew me as a designer. After the success with that, I knew it was time to test the waters with my own stuff, and start a brand of my own.

How is it dealing with success that came around so fast?

It’s still surreal to see people wearing my snapbacks when I’m in the streets, it’s like a natural high. Success is a gift and a curse, you have to be built a certain way to continue progressing with it, and the last thing you should ever do is get too comfortable.

So why snapbacks and not fitteds? 

You always have to keep your eyes and ears to the streets, especially keeping up to date on whats in and whats not. I respect the New Era fitted, I grew up on those, but at the moment there’s a higher demand for snapbacks. Also, I wouldn’t want any girl in a fitted hat, girls in snapbacks are sexier.

That’s true. Ever think of branching out the brand to tees and other apparel?

Maybe in the future, but at the moment I’m currently focused on headwear and accessories.

What advice can you give some of the people that are trying to get into the business?

Go left when everyone is going right; Pay close attention to what’s in style at the moment and make it better.

What are you currently working on at the moment and when can we expect it to be released?

I’m revamping everything, from http://40ozNY.com, to all of my designs. I have a few surprise collaborations, more limited 12 hour availability only pieces, and future events. Keep an eye out for my ode to the movie ‘KIDS’ by Larry Clark snapback, that will be releasing early this March.

The hat is pictured below:

Interview: Gio Ortiz

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