Five-Panel Hats

Five picks for staying shaded this summer

The hot summer sun calls for a hat that blocks out rays without overheating your head. Find solace in the unstructured fit of the five-panel cap—by design this style favors lightweight fabrics and a slimmer silhouette, making it an ideal option for warmer climes. From party prints to subdued denim, the following are five casual caps to replace your sticker-clad fitted this summer.

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HUF

Nothing signals good times ahead quite like a Hawaiian print. In that spirit, HUF, San Francisco’s finest purveyor of skate and street stylings, released the perfect hat for the season, the tropical Parrot Volley. The lightweight woven fabric and metal grommet air holes allow the head to breathe, while the nylon strap keeps it firmly in place. With a worldwide following akin to that of Supreme, HUF sold out of the Parrot Volley online immediately after last week’s launch but word has it DQM has an exclusive stash dropping this Wednesday, 27 June at their NYC location.

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FairEnds

FairEnds’ Hickory Camp Cap lends the five-panel look an understated, Americana vibe with its vintage train conductor aesthetic—one that handsomely accents a simple Levi’s and white tee ensemble. The unstructured cotton body forms to your head from the first wear for a supremely comfortable fit. The Montana-based FairEnds hat sells from Unis for $39.

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DQM

As a notable pioneer of NYC street style, DQM has been a leader in the hat game for years. Since the Vans DQM General opened last September, the skate-centric boutique has ramped up their in-house line to include a tightly edited assortment of fashion wares—case in point, the North South Camp Cap. This Supplex nylon hat is super lightweight and comes in multiple colorways so you won’t have any problems matching your new favorite summer kit. Find the North South Camp Cap at DQM in NYC and online for $42.

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Coal

A blue oxford cloth shirt is a basic staple every man should have hanging in his closet. If you’re not the button-down type of guy—or you simply want to carry over the look into your accessories—check Coal’s oxford cloth Richmond hat instead. Sharing the same soft cotton fabric, this refined cap features a lightweight mesh lining and taped seams to ensure it lasts a lifetime. The Richmond—also available in green oxford—is available for $30 directly from Coal.

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ONLY

Harlem’s ONLY has been vital in the ongoing evolution of sophisticated menswear and street style. To appeal to both scenes, the American-made Tombs five-panel features subtle Native American-inspired detailing on the label and is available in a muted-red cotton twill and a more subdued blue denim. Find it online for $32 or schedule an appointment at ONLY’s Corner Store.

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McBess

Illustrations, music videos, Berlin Wall murals and more from London’s quirky Frenchman

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French illustrator, film director and creative polymath Mathieu Bessudo, or McBess as he is more widely known, is a London-based artist with an eye for incredible detail and a mind for a surreal rearrangement of the most simplistic of subject matters.

McBess’ illustrations are inspired by the drama of everyday life, by relationships, food and musical instruments that are re-modeled and contorted to create a microcosm in monochrome while simultaneously appearing to be something ripped right out of a nightmarish 1930s Fleischer Cartoon. The latest of these irreverent incarnations can be seen in his new collection for Berlin’s Dudes Factory shop, which includes a T-bone shaped chopping block, a gramophone, a beerstein (hand-thrown and fired in Bavaria), prints, plates and more.

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In 2011 McBess was asked by Dudes Factory to venture beyond his everyday subject matter and to apply himself to a project more serious than steaks and electric guitars. 
Based at Berlin’s Freedom Park, he worked on a segment of the infamous Berlin wall in commemoration of the 50th year since its construction.

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McBess approached the project with a degree of subtlety, claiming that he wanted his design to be “as low key possible”. The result of his efforts is stunning—his faint references to the Berlin bear, check-points and the separation of East and West Berliners is made clear without being too obvious, and it boasts copious details but isn’t weighed down by traditional motifs and symbolism.

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In addition to his illustration work, McBess is a director at the Soho-based film company The Mill, an ultra-creative arm of the VFX Company. McBess’ show-reel displays the same rigorous attention to detail and fluidity that is so evident in his illustrations, and it is when brought to life by film that Bessudo’s work is perhaps at its most commanding. Various film projects include music videos for his rock band The Dead Pirates and “Dark Arts“, his title sequence work for the 2012 Ciclope International Advertising Crafts Festival.

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Unsurprisingly, the Frenchman markets himself as “expensive” and fairly states, “You either deal with how I work, or I just don’t do a good project.” Download The Dead Pirates new EP FAT online for £3 and pick up McBess prints and merchandise from his shop.

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Bixby & Co.

Whole food candy bars inspired by the roaring ’20s

Bixby & Co. is a fledgling candy bar company with a knack for making delectable sweet treats from whole foods and organic ingredients. Hoping to reinvent the classic American snack, McAleer began producing vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free treats with half the sugar of a traditional candy bar, drawing inspiration from her adventurous great-great-grandparents, Lillian and William K. Bixby, for the chocolate’s 1920s packaging and irreverent attitude. Combining a health-conscious culinary sophistication with that sense of sporty nostalgia, Bixby bars are all about the fusion of whole foods and silky chocolate in a compact treat.

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First launched in December 2011, McAleer’s unlikely education spanned Chinese, art history and design before settling in the pastry arts. Her shop, located in New York’s Hudson Valley, produces each of Bixby & Co.’s handmade bars. Eco-conscious to the last, the packaging is composed of soy ink printed on FSC-certified paper. McAleer’s sustainability efforts have won the bars Rainforest Alliance Certification and a membership in Youth Trade.

McAleer’s art and design education shines through in the throwback packaging. Cheeky names like “Whippersnapper” and “Knockout” theme the bars, which are mostly inspired by leisure sports of the ’20s. “Heart’s Delight“—a seductive combination of dark chocolate, almonds, dried strawberries and ceylon cinnamon—features an etching of famed ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle. The newly introduced “Mulligan” and “Birdie” flavors are a his-and-hers pair that pay tribute to McAleer’s days as a golfer.

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As the popularity of bean-to-bar chocolate compels confectioners to reconsider sweets, Bixby & Co. is turning that same passion for ingredients toward the candy bar. The flavors are inspired by McAleer’s time abroad in China, where unlikely flavor marriages along the silk road have bred rich regional cuisines. McAleer’s tribute to China, “To the Nines” brings together white chocolate, goji berries, pistachios, almonds and cardamom. “I had this equation of chocolate, fruit, nut and spice that occurred to me,” says McAleer. After a a dose of sweet chocolate and sour fruit, the lingering taste is often a spice—ranging from savory fleur de sel to spicy tellicherry black pepper. The addition of organic brown rice crisp lightens the bar considerably, separating elements and making for a more delicate texture.

Bixby & Co. chocolate bars are available from the company’s online shop.

Images by James Thorne

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Art Basel: Other Worlds

A selection of mind-bending, multimedia works from Switzerland’s expansive art show

While several works at this year’s Art Basel touched upon the animalistic side of humanity, another parallel looked to the future with otherworldly and scientifically driven design. From a Nouveau Realism throwback to forward-thinking student work, there were numerous sculptures, paintings and more to stimulate the mind’s analytical side.

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In studying experience design at Stockholm’s renowned Konstfack University, Farvash Razavi explores the possibilities of blending science and design. By working closely with scientists, Razavi’s work holds a fragile, if not sterile feel, lending it an aesthetic that blurs sculpture with science experiment. In her “Scale of Existence”, at Design Miami/Basel, suspended, beaker-like globes encircle meticulously detailed miniature circuit boards like a nucleus within a cell, reflecting the “invisible, macro-level” of creation.

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Often described as “Outsider Art”, Chris Hipkiss‘ intricate drawings of elaborate scenarios immediately draw in the eye and threaten not to let go. Heightened with striking red accents, these mostly black-and-white works seem to center around an imposing subject engulfed in repeating characters and structures. Presented by Galerie Susanne Zander, Hipkiss’ “Fucking Plasma Sun Hater” and “Forget The Sun” present a menacing landscape dominated by whirling barbs and sharp slogans.

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Resembling an alien fungi and constructed entirely of wood, Tony Cragg‘s “Round The Block” measures nearly seven by eight feet in size. The smooth surface of the massive sculpture leads the eye through the stratified structure of the individual wood plains, allowing one to look past the knots and imperfections to comprehend the piece as a whole. The way the undulations of the brilliantly polished wood both absorb and reflect light is the truly transforming characteristic of this beautiful contemporary sculpture. Keep an eye on Galerie Hans Meyer for more from Cragg.

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While California-born artist Doug Aitken is best known for his experience in photography, sculpture, film and sound installations, his paint series “To Give It All Away” offers insight into his endless artistic talent. The 24 framed watercolor on paper works achieve incredible depth while managing a bizarre balance between chaotic and calm with cooling color choices and a large-scale presentation. By presenting the works in a grid, Aitken gives order to his cubist-inspired paintings while inviting the eye to explore the varied landscapes.

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Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is best known for his elemental use of basic materials to enhance his large-scale sculptures and installations. For Basel he presented “Your Two-Tone Dawn Light”, a hanging sculpture made of colored glass and LED lights encased in an aluminum and steel skeleton. The transfixing orb of burnt oranges and deep blues conjures images of science fiction movies and early ’70s psychedelic art. See NYC’s Tanya Bonakdar Gallery for more from Eliasson.

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“Open Universe”, Ricci Albenda‘s suspended wire sculpture on view at Andrew Kreps Gallery, takes a three-dimensional approach to his signature optical illusion installation paintings. The sculpture presents an imaginary space seen through a fish-eye lens, bending the framework—and one’s mind. The minimalist material approach is particularly intriguing, showing how a simple take on a complex idea often holds the strongest impact.

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Destined to be one of the shortest art movements in history from the very moment of its inception, the Nouveau Réalisme movement began in 1960 and fell apart shortly after. Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois pays tribute to two of the 13 artists attributed to the movement with an exhibition of works by Ultra-Lettrists Jacques Villaglé and Raymond Hains. Focused on the symbolic use of letters and decolletage to make statements on capitalism, the duo’s distinct take on poster art is eternally relevant.

Images by Josh Rubin

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The Beer Wrench

Fix a flat and open a beer at the same time with Budnitz Bicycles’ new titanium tool

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Combining a trifecta of our own personal passions—minimalist design, bicycles and beer—is the newly released Beer Wrench from Budnitz Bicycles. The pocket-sized tool features a 15mm wrench to remove axle bolts on one end, and a bottle opener on the other, and secures to most bicycles’ water bottle cage mount with two easily removable thumb-screws. Made by the company that put super simple, titanium bicycles on the map, each wrench is machined from aerospace-grade titanium to cut weight down to an ultra-light 35 grams.

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While designed specifically to fit any standard axle bolt, the 15mm wrench is also compatible with Shimano’s Afline internal hub bolts and Pitlock spindle keys. Plus, the simple engraving on the bottle opener—”The road is the destination”—may just help to ease the inevitable frustration of fixing a flat. Find the Beer Wrench directly from Budnitz Bicycles online for $38.

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Luna Seo

Prisms reflect “That Piece of Time” in a young designer’s new collection
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Seoul-born designer Luna Seo integrates prisms into her new collection, “That Piece of Time”, capitalizing on both the symbolism and unique refractive qualities of the prism as a metaphorical reminder of small daily wonders. “The prism is a medium that represents pieces of time,” says Seo. “It unveils pieces of time through the meetings between light and light-refracting materials. The idea is that these objects grasp time from the sunlight and shed unexpected, unrepeatable moments.”

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A recent graduate from the Konstfack in Stockholm, Seo’s collection premiered at the Konstfack Degree Show and will show again at Tent London during the London Design Festival this September. The collection includes a vase and a coffee table, both items showcasing Seo’s desire to awaken a sense of surprise and a renewed appreciation for nature in her viewer.

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The coffee table is made from solid walnut and is comprised of two levels separated by a glass prism. The prism refracts light onto the floor below and also reveals the graphic hidden beneath the table depending on the viewer’s vantage point. Similar to the table, Seo’s vase is comprised of a prism suspended from a stainless steel rod and granite base.”As expected, the role of the vase is ultimately to hold flowers,” explains Seo. “This vase also creates its own blossoms in time with the collaboration of the sun. It shows what is embedded inside daylight and reveals its beauty.”

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For more information regarding pricing and availability, check out Seo’s website.

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Tom Gilmour Illustration

Hand-drawn artwork inspired by traditional tattoos and macabre iconography

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Creating work dominated by occult imagery, nomadic themes and heavy linework, London-based illustrator Tom Gilmour says he finds inspiration in “black tattoo art and early 80’s skateboard graphics” to achieve a powerful aesthetic akin to something of a morbid blend of Gus Wagner and Jim Phillips. Gilmour draws each piece by hand in ink with splashes of watercolor and digital renderings to achieve certain shading effects.

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While the deep gradients and heavy iconography of traditional tattoos are still very much present, Gilmour’s intricate designs tend to lean towards the experimentation of mixed symbolism for a unique depth not often seen in the flash-style tattoos from which he draws inspiration. By designing for paper rather than skin, Gilmour is free to draw without regard to certain contours or the stylistic limits of a tattoo gun, resulting in intricate detail and an unconventional use of space. The full-bleed design style, enhanced by the use of freehand script, helps much of Gilmour’s work make the leap from tattoo sketch to fine art.

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Working as an illustrator by profession, Gilmour often lends his artistic abilities to various like-minded enterprises outside of his own sketchbook. Included in the impressive list of music-centric commissions is album cover art for metal band Lay Siege, T-shirt design for Cold Night For Alligators and promotional posters for international music festivals Sonisphere and Download. Gilmour takes such commercial assignments as opportunities to showcase his talents without sacrificing any style or artistic vision.

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For a closer look at Gilmour’s illustrations see his personal site and design collective. To see more recent works and for the chance to purchase one-off prints see Gilmour’s often-updated blog and check out Wood & Cloud Publishing Co.

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Draw Coffee

Ben Blake’s growing collection of filter doodles celebrate the coffee community

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Taking his belief that “coffee inspires creativity” to a literal level, Ben Blake documents his coffee journey in a series of doodles and sketches on filters, sharing his clever graphic narratives with a growing number of fans on his site, Draw Coffee. He considers all requests for java-related images, and his drawings span visual narratives about coffee companies, events, brewing methods and more. Blake even gamely incorporated CH dog-duo Otis and Logan into a recent set of filters.

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Coffee drinkers are joined by the industry in taking notice of Blake’s art, with recent collaborations including a shell for a ZPM Espresso machine, and a line of mugs and apparel for Kuma Coffee in Seattle.

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We asked Blake—who by day works in development for a liberal arts university—to share his thoughts about making, drawing and drinking joe.

When did you start drawing? Do you remember the moment when you realized that you love to draw?

I’ve been drawing ever since my Mom and Grandma told me to use my imagination. I started drawing famous cartoon characters from books such as Where’s Waldo, Dr. Seuss, and Calvin and Hobbes—over the years, drawing has really followed me. I remember all throughout high school and college using drawing as a way to pay attention in class. I don’t know that there is any particular moment where I realized I loved drawing—I think at some point I realized that I could sit down and draw for hours, wake up the next day, and still have an urge to put something on paper. There aren’t many things that drive me like drawing does.

What was your first coffee-related doodle? Why did you draw it?

At some point in college, I started to love coffee—not because it helped me stay awake, but because I recognized there was something special about it. As I started to learn more about coffee, I started to think about it a lot more. That’s when it started making its way into my doodles. I don’t always do coffee-themed doodles, but nearly 100% of the time, a coffee cup makes its way into the doodle somewhere. It’s kind of my not-so-sneaky tribute to coffee.

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Why did you decide to draw so many of your sketches and doodles on coffee filters?

I think it was a natural extension of what I wanted to do with Draw Coffee. I wanted to present something unique that wasn’t being done— actually, the more I think about it, its kind of a stereotypical and cheesy thing for me to have done. I think the Hario filters have a nice, symmetrical shape, and the borders give the drawing some sort of finality.

When did you start Draw Coffee? What was your inspiration for starting the site?

Back in November, I discovered the website Dear Coffee, I Love You. I think the thing that brought me there was the “Coffee Lover Gift Guide” post—it made me realize how many coffee gadgets I wanted. After browsing the site a bit, I was inspired to learn even more about coffee. Two things happened right after that—first, I won a high-quality grinder from Baratza, which helped kickstart my journey to learn about coffee and how to make wonderful coffee at home. Second, La Marzocco USA started a Facebook challenge where they asked fans to post a picture of their brew method and brewing recipe each day. I participated, but I started to realize that my pictures looked the same as everyone else’s pictures. I didn’t like that, so I started to doodle mine instead. I wanted to keep track and share what I was learning, so I decided to start a year-long project where I would learn as much about coffee as I could, and doodle about it.

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Why do you like coffee and the coffee community so much?

I have experienced a community full of passionate and creative individuals who love coffee. I’ve been welcomed with open arms by so many people—the drawing thing helped, obviously, but people are so willing to teach and share about coffee. It’s exciting, and I think it’s contagious.

One thing that seems to set the coffee industry apart from other industries is its collaborative nature. I think most wise, knowledgeable people in the specialty coffee industry recognize that there is no current definition of “best”. That’s important, I think, because rather than investing time into battering the competition and living on an island, folks are investing time in bettering the industry—working together on maintaining best and sustainable practices.

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Where is the next coffee place you will be visiting?

Well, I’m fresh off trips to Portland, Seattle, and Chicago, but my cousin and I have a coffee-touring trip planned for either Chicago or New York in the near future. Beyond that, I know I’ll be in Kansas City, up and down the East Coast, and possibly down to Atlanta to see Jason Dominy of Batdorf & Bronson before my wife and I move to Bologna, Italy.

After all of this focus on the coffee world, have your coffee-making skills improved?

The more I learn about coffee, the better the coffee I make at home tastes, and the more I realize how complex and intricate coffee can be. What used to be a dull, bitter, muddy liquid has now become this bright, sweet, fruity, and complex drink that I look forward to hand-brewing a few times a day. It’s pretty common for people—mostly me— to describe coffee as “the nectar of the gods”.

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What’s next for Draw Coffee?

I think as long as I keep learning and experiencing new things related to coffee, I’m going to keep drawing on my filters, but I’ve been also been doing a lot of projects with roasters, companies, and other websites. Through those commissioned projects, I’ve started to weigh taking design classes to learn typography, graphic design, etc. I would love to continue evolving my drawing styles, and hopefully expand them into other industries and ride that into even more collaborations. It’s been a fun ride the last six months, and I’m trying to let this grow organically to see where it takes me. Hopefully people will continue to find value or inspiration in my doodles, and hopefully they’ll want to learn more about coffee, too.

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