The Ampal Creative is one of those brands that inspires us. They do their own thing, on their own terms and produce some of the finest caps we've ever seen, and trust us, we've seen (and tried on) a lot. While some may consider hats or caps just another accessory, The Ampal Creative uses premium deadstock fabrics, a great fit inspired by the vintage baseball caps they grew up with and they produce everything in the States. After years of working together, the moment was finally there to collaborate on a nifty little series of three awesome hats, designed to stand the test of time.
As you're reading this, you probably know who we are, but you may not be too familiar with The Ampal Creative. We had a little talk with Andrew, one of the two people behind the brand, to offer up some insights.
The Ampal Creative lives by the “Made Like They Used To” ethos. What are some of the brands you have in mind when you reference the quality of clothing back in the day? How did you get into these brands, or quality clothing in general?
"Made like they used to" was always meant to reference more than just clothes. After getting deeper into old motorcycles, I was blown away by how well a properly setup bike from the 40's can still ride 70-75 years later. I'm not a big vintage guy for my personal clothes. A big inspiration was my first trip to Japan in 2008. Visiting Neighborhood, W-taps, Visvim and a few boutiques in Japan really inspired me to step our game up. In 2015, I went to Europe for Wheels and Waves and grabbed a pair of Japanese selvage Eat Dust jeans. I had a random pair of selvage denim, someone had given me before, but these were the first ones I tried on, picked out etc. and I haven't looked back. I previously would be given clothes from various brands and I would always blow through the jeans in less than a year.
Love hearing that! Since 2010, all your products are produced in the USA. Was it hard to find the right suppliers and manufacturers at home?
It was really hard. I had to switch to overseas for one collection pre-2010 because my first domestic factory shut down. We have a great relationship with all our US factories and almost everything comes from 1 of 3 partners.
In general, what would you say is the most rewarding aspect of doing your own brand? On the flipside, what’s the most annoying or frustrating thing about it?
Having your own company is a blessing and a curse – it’s just Gregg and I. The best part has been meeting and working with some great people and the travel related to Ampal that I hope picks up again moving forward. The worst is the job literally never ending. I regularly check my email late at night. Sometimes I go to bed worrying about Ampal stuff because if there's an issue its up to me to solve it.
Has it ever been a plan of yours to venture into a clothing line, maybe shirts or sweatshirts, or are you perfectly happy with the range you have now?
Yeah, we will but I'd say more dabble in some pieces vs transitioning to a full clothing line. We're going to do a few T's later this summer.
The Ampal Creative started because you couldn’t find what you needed in the headwear market around 2007. What was it exactly that you found to be lacking?
There wasn't much. Sports fitted hats, some flexfits, some truckers. No one really paid attention to headwear as a category then.
You most probably remember the first ever baseball cap you got as a kid. What was it and how did you get it?
I remember when I was 10 years old, my brother and I both really wanted the San Diego Padres fitted wool official baseball cap. They were like $30+ even in the early 90's and you could only get them at the stadium, so that was a hard NO from my folks. But my uncle got us both fitteds one holiday and we were PSYCHED. I had it until high school when a friend borrowed it (still a big deal then) and lost it.
What’s next for TAC?
Stay Tuned! Travel is big inspiration for me creatively. I'm excited to get back out there.
Pictures: Wouter Struyf
Model: Gijs Grondelaers