In a move set to revolutionise the streetwear landscape of Kuala Lumpur, New Era recently unveiled its first flagship store at The Starhill, an iconic mall, infusing the Malaysian capital with a fresh dose of fashion innovation. As the official cap provider for major sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, and NBA, New Era has long been an icon of street style and self-expression. Now, the brand is extending its global reach by investing in Malaysia, a burgeoning hub for contemporary fashion.&nb
With unique in-store experiences and exclusive collections, the flagship aims to be more than just a retail outlet – it’s a statement of intent, heralding a new chapter for streetwear in Malaysia. Daniel Broderick, New Era’s managing director for Asia Pacific, recently shed light on how this iconic brand aims to shape the future of fashion in the region. The current state of affairs “Malaysia has a growing economy and a strong consumer market, making it an attractive destination for expanding retail businesses. Additionally, Kuala Lumpur serves as a major hub in the Asia-Pacific region, with excellent connectivity and accessibility,” he told Inside Retail. He went on to say that the city’s diverse and multicultural population also presents an opportunity for New Era to tap into various customer segments. “Furthermore, Malaysia’s favourable business environment, stable political climate, and supportive government policies contribute to its appeal as a strategic location for international brands seeking to establish a strong presence in the APAC region,” he added. The APAC marketplace Broderick said that the APAC market presents both challenges and opportunities for the headwear industry and New Era. Challenges include intense competition from local and international brands, varying consumer preferences across different countries, and the need to navigate complex regulatory environments. “Nonetheless, the region also offers significant opportunities. APAC has a large and diverse population, with a growing middle class and increasing disposable income. This presents a vast consumer base for headwear products,” he noted. He reiterated that the region’s rising urbanisation, fashion-conscious youth, and growing popularity of sports and streetwear culture create a favourable market for New Era’s trendy and sports-inspired headwear. Varied experiences Broderick has been at New Era since 2010, leading the APAC team, and he has witnessed several key milestones and turning points in growing the headwear culture in the region. “One significant milestone was the expansion of our distribution network, establishing partnerships with influential retailers and e-commerce platforms. This allowed us to reach a wider audience and increase brand visibility,” he explained. Another turning point was its collaboration with local sports teams, leagues and trendy brands to elevate its brand presence within the street-fashion community. The brand also invested in targeted marketing campaigns, leveraging social media and celebrity endorsements to engage with a younger demographic. “My experience working with renowned brands like Adidas and Foot Locker has greatly influenced my approach to growing the New Era brand in the APAC region. It has instilled in me a deep understanding of the sports fashion industry, market dynamics, and consumer trends,” he said. Broderick said that he gained valuable insights into effective brand positioning, marketing strategies, and building strong partnerships with retailers and influencers. This experience has also sharpened his ability to adapt to diverse markets and tailor strategies to meet the specific needs and preferences of APAC consumers. Being a New Yorker “As a New Yorker representing New Era in the Asia Pacific market, I understand the importance of bringing the essence of the brand’s roots while respecting and embracing the diverse fashion culture of the region,” he elaborated. He strives to strike a balance that resonates with both the brand’s heritage and the local market preferences. This involves incorporating elements of New York’s urban streetwear culture into its designs, while also incorporating local influences and trends. “By collaborating with local artists, designers, and influencers, we infuse authenticity and relevance into our products, ensuring they appeal to the unique tastes of the Asia Pacific market. This approach allows us to maintain the brand’s identity while fostering a strong connection with the local fashion culture,” he stated. The brand is aiming to create unique and limited-edition collections that resonate with the diverse tastes and preferences of the APAC marketplace. Customisation is key Interestingly, customisation services, such as the heat seal machine, play a crucial role in connecting with the consumer. The region has a diverse and fashion-conscious population that seeks unique, personalised experiences. “By offering customisation services, the brand taps into this desire for individuality and self-expression. These sessions allow consumers to create one-of-a-kind caps that align with their personal style and preferences,” he stressed. Broderick said this process fosters a deeper connection between the brand and the consumer, as they feel involved in the design process. Additionally, customisation services provide an opportunity to showcase the brand’s craftsmanship, quality, and attention to detail, further enhancing brand loyalty and customer engagement. The team also leverages data and analytics to gain valuable insights into consumer behaviour and trends in the APAC market. By analysing market research, consumer surveys, and sales data, they can identify patterns, preferences, and emerging trends. “This allows us to make informed decisions regarding product offerings, pricing strategies, and targeted marketing campaigns. We also utilise data to identify market gaps and opportunities, enabling us to tailor our offerings to meet the specific demands of the consumer,” he said. The future Looking ahead, New Era has ambitious plans for further expansion in the Asia Pacific region. Broderick aims to strengthen the brand’s presence by opening more flagship stores in key cities, strategically expanding its retail footprint. “Additionally, we will continue to cultivate strong partnerships with local retailers, e-commerce platforms, and influential figures to enhance brand visibility and reach. We will also invest in targeted marketing campaigns, leveraging digital platforms and social media to engage with the region’s tech-savvy population,” he noted. Ultimately, Broderick will also be closely monitoring market trends and consumer preferences to ensure its product offerings remain relevant and appealing. “Through these initiatives, New Era is committed to solidifying its position as a leader in headwear fashion in the APAC market,” he concluded.