Interview with Jill Manoff, Editor in Chief of Glossy:

Bart Kooi has been building a brand-first fashion business since May 2020. 

At the height of the pandemic, Kooi launched the Instagram account Cabmate, meant to be a digital mood board-slash-creative outlet. He chose its "catchy, cosmopolitan" name after seeing the word in a newspaper story about Jon Weiser, founder of iconic NYC retailer Charivari. He created a logo for it using a font that he deemed modern, yet familiar.

Cabmate's focus on masculine-feminine, 'gos-minimalist style quickly attracted a large following of fashion A-listers. Rita Ora, fashion media veteran Katie Grand and influencer Camille Charriere are among the 11,000 Instagrammers who engage with his curation of decades-old Kate Moss and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy images.

When a friend encouraged him to "do something more" with the account to allow followers to "get the vibe" depicted in the posts, Kooi decided to launch ball caps based on their one-size-fits-all, unisex simplicity, he said. Each of the available styles features "Cabmate" in contrasting embroidery and sells for around $45.

France, Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands are Cabmate's top sales markets, and all of the company's growth to date has been organic, Kooi said. He declined to share sales figures.

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