Deadstock Project #003 — The Longshot Experiment x Uskees

Deadstock Project #003 — The Longshot Experiment x Uskees

Introducing the Deadstock Project #003 — 6 Panel Cap. Meticulously designed & crafted by hand from deadstock fabric in Manchester UK. 

The late 90s, Liverpool. A man walks into a charity shop and unearths something so ugly it’s perfect. The man, Mike Holmes. The treasure, a bucket hat covered in a Marlboro cigarette print.

You could say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and in this case, you’d be exactly right. Believe it or not, as striking as the print may have been, that wasn’t what made Mike fall in love with this particular bucket hat. It was the brim.

This was the start of a long search. The search for the perfect hat. After years of searching and falling short, the Long Shot Experiment was born.

We love both Mike’s passion for headwear and his determination to make the perfect product. Mike also lives just down the road from Uskees HQ. So there wasn’t really an excuse for us not to collaborate.

Using deadstock overshirt midweight cotton fabric, this collaboration utilises an Uskees pop of colour and signature fabric to create an exclusive range of 50 hats, each built entirely by one pair of hands, start to finish.

We paid Mike a visit during the middle of crafting our hats at his suburban-Manchester studio.

Mike, we're thrilled to finally collaborate with you. Your passion and expertise in headwear are evident in your work. Could you please share a bit about your journey, from discovering the Marlboro Bucket Hat in the charity shop to establishing The Longshot Exp., and eventually working in your own home design studio?

There’re quite a few years between finding that Marlboro bucket hat (aka “The Hat”) and where I am today. I found “The Hat” in Oxfam around 97-98 and lost track of it early 00s. I didn’t wear a single bucket hat between losing “The Hat” and making the first Long Shot bucket hat. In 2014, the itch to wear “The Hat” again combined with the need for a creative outlet led to The Long Shot Experiment. Over the past nine years I’ve gone from kitchen table, to spare room to home design studio/big shed.

I know subculture is a big part of what influences you too, where does that stem from? 

I am someone who is naturally drawn to the “others” in our society. Subcultures (which I think should be called über-cultures as they are above and beyond mainstream culture) are full of these others as they exist outside of the dominant culture. The folklorish nature of subcultures draw me in. Codes of dress, speech, taste and ideas that are often specific to each tribe and strongly adhered to fascinate me.

Not always but often there is a strong will to stand apart from mainstream norms within subcultures while being identifiable to your peers. The narcissist in me finds the “I’m not like everybody else” stance very appealing.

Music is obviously a big part of who you are and the longshot too, I’ve noticed you put a lot of music references into your artwork like the northern soul motif, for example. How does music influence your designs?

Music is a fuel and a mood enabler. Working alone it can sometimes be difficult to get in a productive/creative frame of mind. Music is a great way to get you there. Music is often a very important factor within the make up of subcultures so the musical references are subtle ways of signalling that I’m on the inside with the outsiders.

You must go through a lot of albums when making hats in the studio, what have you been listening to recently?

I’m trying to avoid the cliché, “I listen to everything really”. Now in my late 40s I’ve had time to come across and enjoy a lot of music. Probably the main influence for listening to different things came from skateboard videos. Skate vids could feature punk, hip hop, motown, deep funk or pure pop anthems. If you liked the brand and or the skater you’d likely end up liking the song even if it was something very different from what you’d usually go for. On a day to day basis in the workshop I’m quite contrary, if I listened to Northern Soul yesterday I can’t listen to it today. I like bandcamp to find new music too, there is so much great stuff being made and thanks to the internet you don’t need to rely on somebody taping you the latest thing to hear it.

What was the clothing scene like growing up in Liverpool? Were you and your friends into clothes?

I identify as a skateboarder despite never really skating these days. Between 1989 and the early 00s I was always skating and this influenced the clothing that me and my peers wore. In around 1991/2 the trend for huge oversized trousers began and it was skateboard culture that brought the style to European shores. With my first wages at 16 I bought a huge pair of orange jeans from Split skates in Manchester. This time gave me my first access to bespoke clothing. There was a jeans maker above a dance outfit shop in Liverpool city centre, Raphael’s. We would, as malnutritioned teenagers with 28” waists, order 40” waist jeans with 26” inside leg seams that the older scouse seamstress would dutifully make whilst grumbling that they’d never fit. As I remember it cost £24 a pair. Around this time I discovered the book ‘Street Style’ by Ted Polhemus that documented the style and clothing worn by various subcultures from the 1930s up to the 90s and beyond. Through this I came to explore and obsess over subcultures, dressing as a mod, rasta, psychedelic wanderer and other clothing lead flights of fancy!

How has The Longshot Exp. evolved over the years?

Now, nine years in, I feel the Long Shot has returned to how it began, making short runs (under 10 pieces) from interesting found fabrics.

The first hats were made from whatever I had, then I became convinced that I needed to follow to some extent a planned, seasonal approach. Through time different things have been tried and lessons learnt. Making small bulk runs for other brands alongside making really small ‘Experiments’ for Long Shot is where I am now and it seems to be a good balance creatively and commercially.


How do you infuse your personal style into the hats you design, and what aspects of your personal style are most evident in your creations?

I am my own customer which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on how you look at it. The Long Shot trades a lot on the idea of ‘if you know, you know’. It’s the discreet (or not so discreet sometimes) nods to music, film, culture that express my personal style the most. Deep down I’m still that 16 year old silently screaming, “look, I’m cool!”.

An obvious question, but one we’re really interested in knowing; what’s your all time favourite style of hat?

Hmm... I’m not sure I’ve got one. Some hats are easier to wear than others but what I want to wear from one day to the next depends on my mood. I love all my hat children equally.

Do you have any personal style icons that inspire your designs and what you make?

I’d say it’s more style tribes, rather than particular icons or people, That influence my designs. Scally style always has a place in my heart/mind, particularly those who push different elements within the Scally framework. I’d say Steve and Nige of Oi Polloi are notable masters within that paradigm. I love scruffy, beat up style too. The 1960s North American climbing culture is a great example of this, practical gear put together in unusual ways with nonchalance and a ‘devil may care’ attitude.

It’s a very cool thing that every single hat you sell has been designed and made by you, what’s it like working as a one man band?

It’s very busy, very fulfilling, very frustrating and all kinds of other things too. Ultimately though it makes me incredibly proud and happy to create. If I was to give any advice to others who work alone or are thinking of working alone, touch base with friends and peers when you can. It’s invigorating and energising. 

For fans of The Longshot Exp, Uskees & general headwear enthusiasts, what can you tell us about the hat you’ve designed for us?

It’s based on my ‘Bob’ style which is what I’d describe as a ‘dad style’ cap. It has a square, low profile silhouette that is intended to sit on the head with a natural nonchalance.

For this version I’ve used a selection of deadstock fabrics from the Uskees archive and colour blocked certain elements to create a playful effect.

We love how well your design pairs so well with our garments. Why do you think the Baseball cap is such a timeless design?

It is useful and utilitarian. William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I believe the baseball cap fulfils both requirements.

You hear a lot of people say, “I’m not a hat person", or “hats don’t suit me”, would you say they just haven’t found the right hat?

Funnily, that’s exactly what I say and it always sounds a bit too sales-y! But I genuinely mean it.

Finally, is there a specific message or feeling you hope people get when they wear one of your hats?

I hope that the hats help people express themselves in their own way.

Hats are available Tuesday 30 April — 12pm BST.
Members get 24hr early access before general release.
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