In the latest Behind the Brand, we caught up with Quaker Marine. The vintage sportswear company best known for their long-billed weather-resistant caps. Check out the interview below to learn more about the company.
What is Quaker Marine?
Quaker Marine is a revived American heritage brand. Beginning in the 1940s, it made a range of unique caps for coastal communities: pleasure-cruisers, fishermen, merchant mariners, sailors, beach bums, you name it. It gained notoriety when Ernest Hemingway became a loyal customer. He was photographed wearing his Oysterman Cap extensively in the 50s. That’s what really put the company on the map. The company went under in 2011 during the financial crisis but was recently revived. Today, we make a range of hats for people who love the water, exactly like the originals from way back when. We even make them at the original factory in the USA. We also have a line of apparel that complements the hat.
Could you tell us a little history of how and when the company started?
The company was started by a man named Joe Kadison. He served in the Coast Guard during WWII, and he developed the original line of caps based on his experiences serving out on the water. He was totally passionate about caps — all the details and their functionality.
The “QUAKER” in the title is a little misleading. The company had nothing to do with Quakers other than that it was started in Philadelphia, PA, and Joe liked the way it sounded.
What defines your brand today?
Today, Quaker Marine is all about the water. We advocate connecting with the water, and the quality of experience being on the water engenders. There is something about the water — whether it’s a public pool, the ocean surf, river rafting, or a playground fountain — it brings you into the moment. We think that’s as important as ever today. Quaker’s customers value the ‘in-the-moment-ness’ of being connected to the water, and we hope to go along for the ride and be useful along the way.
Tell us about the Oysterman, what makes this hat unique?
The Oysterman is unlike any other cap out there. Today, 6-panel caps are a dime a dozen. The Oysterman is a different animal altogether. It’s a beautiful case of form following function. The four lateral panels create a low profile so the hat doesn’t blow off your head. The long bill actually shades your face instead of just being a decorative beak. And finally, the patent leather brim is water-repellent so the brim doesn’t soak and drip down your face.
I know you are offering some sustainably made shorts now? Can you tell us a little about how you produce these?
Yes, we’re really excited about these! Our new trunks are made with ECONYL yarn. This is made from an array of nylon waste: fishing nets, aquaculture components, and ocean plastic, along with fabric scraps destined for landfill. The way the yarn is produced, the regenerated nylon performs just as well as virgin nylon. And the best part is that once the wearer is done with the shorts, they can be regenerated again! That never-ending cycle is the right direction. It’s a great step for our company and we hope to integrate more and more items like this.
We heard you just opened up a Pop-Up shop in NY, where can people visit the story?
We’re down in Nolita on Mulberry between Spring and Prince. The exact address is 240 Mulberry, and we’re open Mon-Sat 11am-7pm and Sun 11am-6pm. Stop by, come chat and try on some hats!