Local custom hat company FITTEDS CLT will relocate from its Third Ward home to Camp North End, with an opening scheduled for March, the company announced on Wednesday.
Launched by local entrepreneur Giovanni “Gio” Brown, FITTEDS CLT is one of the only local manufacturers and suppliers of one-off, custom-made New Era and Mitchell & Ness hats, with designs featuring unique color combinations and side patches done in-store by the FITTEDS team. The company offers officially licensed products from the MLB, NBA and NFL.
The most recognizable custom design from FITTEDS CLT is the purple brim. The company made headlines in summer 2022 after collaborating with local creative David Butler and the Charlotte Knights on a new hat design in commemoration of the team’s HBCU Night.
Brown relocated from Harlem, New York to Charlotte in 2016 and sold shoes and hats on Instagram before opening his brick-and-mortar FITTEDS CLT location in Third Ward in 2020.
In a release announcing the upcoming move on Wednesday, Brown said he noticed that custom-made fitted caps, a New York fashion staple, were hard to come across in the Queen City.
“Where I’m from, everyone wears fitteds, you can catch someone’s grandma in a fitted, but there was no one in Charlotte serving that audience,” he stated. “Launching the business has been great for me, and for the city’s hat culture that’s been forming here for many years — and I’m proud to say FITTEDS has played a major part in that.”
Brown started by selling individual caps on Instagram, building a following of transplants from Northern states. Since opening his Third Ward location, however, he’s seen an expansion in clientele that not only includes Charlotte natives but customers up and down the East Coast, justifying his move into a larger space.
The 800-square-foot Camp North End location will not only showcase his inventory but serve as a social hangout for fellow hat and fashion lovers, featuring a basketball hoop for laid-back — or maybe more competitive — shoot-arounds.
More than a hat store, Brown sees the new FITTEDS CLT location as a platform, “where its products can serve as a promotional tool to showcase the work of other local artists and creatives – growing exposure and traction for their work,” according to the release.
He hopes to begin hosting in-store events like pop-ups and collaborations around mid-2023.
Brown’s move was inspired by a Beyond Open small business grant from Foundation for the Carolinas that he applied for in 2022, and though he was not part of the first round of grantees announced on Jan. 27, he decided to move forward with the move anyway.
“While the grant was the initial motivation to look for space in the North End corridor, the supportive community I’ve experienced at Camp North End — full of other unique small business owners and creatives — solidified that I made the right choice,” Brown said in the release.
Tommy Mann, development director at Camp North End, celebrated the addition of FITTEDS CLT to the campus, which has recently announced other new additions to its Keswick location, where FITTEDS will be located, including streetwear design company Current Nostalgia and Room Service, a cocktail lounge collaboration between two current Camp North End tenants.
“From the beginning we envisioned Camp North End as an opportunity for creative, market-disrupting and community-oriented tenants like FITTEDS,” Mann stated in the release. “We are thrilled they chose Camp North End for their new retail location and look forward to Gio’s continued success.”
The new shop will be open Monday-Saturday. Updates can be found on the FITTEDS Instagram.
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