New Era Partners With Ecko’s Sweat Equity

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 16 /PRNewswire/ — New Era Cap Co., Inc., the leading headwear designer and manufacturer, collaborated with Sweat Equity Enterprises (SEE) to create an original line of caps and t-shirts that will launch in April 2009. Founded by designer/entrepreneur Marc Ecko, SEE is a nonprofit organization where teens develop professional-quality designs for corporate partners.

Since January 2008, New Era’s renowned team of designers has been working with the students of SEE to fashion their own unique masterpieces from scratch. Through this collaboration, New Era has guided the SEE students with the same intensive design, technological and entrepreneurship training that has made them the leader in the industry for the last 89 years.

“New Era is proud to align itself with such a rewarding program for teens like SEE,” said Gerry Matos, SVP of Marketing at New Era. “The opportunity to work with these innovative, bright young minds has not only helped to spark a new wave of fashion for New Era, but it will also inspire the youth of the nation to continue to pursue their dreams and realize that anything is possible.”

SEE is a project-based learning program where high school students participate during the school day. “By demystifying the products that they love, SEE students find an entry point that makes learning cool. We are empowering young people with skills that they can actually take to the bank and at the same time showing companies that this is what corporate responsibility can be about,” said Marc Ecko, SEE’s Founder. Proceeds of the sale of the SEE-designed caps and t-shirts will benefit SEE’s global expansion.

SEE teen designer, Raymond Bargallo, 16, explained the process. “I started by doing research and finding inspiration, then I put the elements together by sketching on paper and using Photoshop and Illustrator. I had to think about who I wanted to sell to and why they would buy this cap. You have to think about your audience: the consumer. It is different from a regular art class where you are just making a project for your portfolio; this is real.”

The New Era project is the sixteenth project for SEE since the organization was founded in 2005. Over the years, students have designed cars for Nissan, outerwear for Ecko Unlimited, marketing and electronics for RadioShack, shoes for Sketchers, graphics for Saks Fifth Avenue, skateboards for Zoo York, marketing for Best Buy, graphic design for New York Cares and watches for Callanen.

The caps will hit New Era stores in mid-April 2009. Visit www.neweracap.com for more information on the SEE program and the view the products. Finish Line will also have the collection of SEE product in its stores. The approximately retail cost for the caps will be $34 and between $28 and $30 for the t-shirts.

About New Era Cap

Founded in 1920, New Era Cap Company, Inc., the leading headwear manufacturer and creator of New Era Apparel, brings to market products that transcend time, culture, sport and fashion. Producing more than 35 million caps per year, New Era is the exclusive manufacturer and marketer of the official on-field cap worn by every Major League Baseball team and their Minor League affiliates and maintaining agreements with other licensed entities. On the street, New Era is known as the Originator of the True Fitted for its signature cap style, the 59FIFTY. The Company is headquartered in Buffalo, New York and operates facilities in Alabama, Canada, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong. New Era is a ‘Category A’ affiliate of the Fair Labor Association.

About SEE

Sweat Equity Enterprises (SEE) builds groundbreaking collaborations between youth and industry: a real-world learning opportunity for teens and an innovation lab for design professionals and companies. The nonprofit organization provides opportunities for both youth and industry to gain in mutually beneficial ways. Youth increase their professional, academic and personal skills, while industry gathers innovation, market research, and high-quality design. Through SEE’s project-based learning program, participants gain intensive design, technology and entrepreneurship training as they develop original graphic, product and apparel designs from concept to prototype or even production in collaboration with a company. Youth participate in school by completing a SEE project for school credit or in a year-round program taking place out of school hours in SEE’s professional design studio. SEE is expanding to engage thousands of youth, educators and professionals worldwide. SEE’s powerful new model of real-world learning raises visibility for the potential of young people and the power of design, promotes stronger models in corporate and non-profit partnership, and acts as a catalyst for companies to invest in education.