Creating hats that fit the modern man. This summer, Neighburr has found a way to elevate the classic baseball cap with clean lines, geometric shapes, architecture, and travel inspire to inspire sophistication in style. We sat down with founder Mark Gatto to learn more about the collection.
1. What sparked your career in designing hats?
There are two things that have been constants in my life: design and ball caps. I grew up in an artistic household and have always worn ball caps as long as I can remember. I’ve spent the past 12 years honing my design skills as a graphic designer. When I couldn’t find a clean and simple ball cap with minimal branding, even in a city like Toronto, I knew I had to create my own. Previously, the baseball hat options were limited to either a sports team logo or something with bold, in-your-face branding. I was searching for subtlety and nuance. I wanted to create that essential black ball cap that’s sophisticated, neutral and perfect for my next lunch meeting, night on the town or weekend away.
I love living in Toronto. Such a great city but life can also move at a frantic pace here. Creating minimal ball caps was my way of injecting some simplicity into an often chaotic urban lifestyle.
2. Where did you draw your inspiration from for your latest collection?
My first collection was centered on creating simple shapes and icons inspired by travel, architecture, geometry and mid-century modern furniture. Some of the lines in mid-century modern furniture, for example, are beautifully simple and incredible. I admire the talented designers who are able to create timeless pieces. At the heart of all my designs is the theme of simplifying. Remove any elements that aren’t absolutely essential, in order to create the greatest impact.
3. How do you define Neighburr’s style/aesthetic?
Clean and minimal, streamlined, understated.
4. What has been the biggest achievement / obstacle in your career so far?
Finding the right manufacturing partners who can execute my products the way I envisioned. I’m obsessed with getting every single detail right. It’s what separates good from great. Finding partners who share this vision has been a challenge.
Starting an entirely new business in an industry I’m new to. Design has always been a part of my life but getting up to speed on everything fashion has been a learning experience. The challenge energizes me. There are always opportunities to offer something different.
5. Any advice for aspiring #CREATORS?
BE PATIENT! There will be lots of ups and downs on the way to chasing your passion…more than you’ll ever anticipate. But it will be worth it. If you’re building something you love, you won’t be sidetracked by bumps in the road.
Take imperfect action! A fashion guru named Jane Hamill brought this to my attention a few years ago and it has been my mantra ever since. Take imperfect action every day. This may sound counter-intuitive, but often times, when it comes to our business, we want things to look and be a certain way and we won’t stop until it’s perfect. This perfectionism can bring all your progress to a screeching halt. I set extremely high standards for myself and this brand, but there are times when getting something done is much more valuable than waiting until it’s perfect.
Find a mentor in the industry. Your family and friends will support you no matter what, but you need an objective mentor to give you honest feedback.