Collector or Consumer?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Rmccamey, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    One inherent motivation of all humans (and almost all organiaztions) is to survive. I know that I have only a finite number of days to live and the longer I live, the more I like things that are older than me. There is a fundamental need for me to be connected to some "things" that were around before I was.That may seem rather materialistic, but it is something much deeper. I have a set of spurs and an old pocket knife of my grandfathers. Neither has any monetary value but both are old and it is conforting to touch a few of the things he touched. His memory survives, in part, due to the conection to these tangible items. No, these items do not replace him and if they were stolen would not diminish my memories of him, but they are a connection to him. By extension, I want to survive. I gather hats for my own pleasure and enjoyment, but underneath it all, I hope a few of these hats will survive beyond my years. Again, this sounds somewhat materialistic but it really isn't. I know my hats will fade to dust with time but I hope a few generations will be left with a few tangible items as reminders of me. In the end, I am primarily a consumer. I like to wear hats and if I wear them out or sell them, so be it. I do like to share with others and I can't deny there is an element of satisfaction from getting the approval of others. But my drive to collect a few special hats has less to do with impressing others and more to do with leaving a small mark that will extend beyond my years. No, tangible things wil never replace my physical being or my personal impact on my children or grandchildren, but I hope a few of my hats will help keep some of those memories alive for just a little while after I'm gone.
     
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  2. That is a very universal drive. Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, countless mausoleums, etc., were all built to leave something behind after we are gone. The ever increasing awareness of our own mortality as we age has caused all sorts of oddities in human history.

    I completely understand having some physical touchstones to the past too. Mine bring me a sense of connectivity...the continuity of generations. I get the same satisfaction researching my family genealogy. When I find an ancestor I never met or even heard of its like something lost has been found and he/she is a real person again. I also find peace knowing that I’m a part of this history and that I have a place in the grand story.

    Randy, you opened some pretty serious rabbit holes with this thread. Who knew hats could segue into metaphysics and philosophy?
     
  3. No apology necessary. I probably dropped something in my translation too. There are everyday consumer goods & there are vintage & heritage goods that thru their longevity have taken on a life of their own & should be allowed to live out their natural life unmolested while in our care.
     
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  4. Great posts! Some things the me-me-me generation doesn't seem to get.
     
  5. Short Balding Guy

    Short Balding Guy I'll Lock Up

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    Well said Brent. Th sentiments and admiration about Garrett I share. Eric -
     
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  6. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    As I have said before, Randy, I have almost a hundred Aloha shirts, more correspondent and spectator shoes than I have wardrobe space, but hats, got to say, I've got hats under control. But only Loungers would call fifteen hats a trifle.
     
  7. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Thank you, Brent. Certainly we do not delve into the grand questions of humankind each time we acquire the next new hat. But I think it is healthy to understand our internal motivations and what draws us to hats in the first place. Wherever we are along the Collectors or Consumer continuum, those of us on TFL are a very specialized subset of hat wearers and I am often amazed at the great diversity of hats we have and the even greater diversity of discussions/topics/threads there are about hats - a product, as has been said before, that is really fairly simple in its design and manfacture.

    I believe another common denomiator in this discussion is that hat wearers "think about" wearing hats - even those hat wearers in the general public (ie,, those not on TFL). We all get dressed every day, and while some here are very fashion conscious, I don't really think about the shirt I'm wearing or the pants I'm wearing after the initial selection is made each morning. Hats, on the other hand, are something I "think about". Even if I forget which hat is on top of my head during the day, I always have some sense that I am wearing a hat. Like others here, I'm not too concerned with what other people might think about me or the way I look or dress but I am also quite confortable being labeled as "that guy who wears hats". In today's world I like to think that being a "hat guy" is a good thing and sets a positive tone with people I encounter.

    One of the related rabbit holes you mention is why those of us here are part of TFL at all? What draws us to want to display our hats and talk to others about our hats? Personally, I very much enjoy the sense of comradarie and common interest we share in this 24X7 electronic "hat conference" called TFL and I suspect that, whether Collector or Consumer, most of us on TFL participate because we have some inner drive or motivation to learn, to understand and "to know".

    Hats are fascinating items, indeed!

    20200323_085246.jpg

     
  8. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Yes sir, and one reason I did not want to put a number in the original post (it is always N + 1, right)! It is a safe bet to say that those of us here have many more hats than most other people in this world (the HAS syndrome). I always appreciate your insights and observations, and I know others do as well, so keep 'em coming.

    PS, if the Mrs. every considers a business on the side, I know there are many here, myself included, who would die for a Mrs. GHT Aloha shirt :)

     
  9. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Hats can be an expensive hobby, but like all things collectable, wearable, desirable, cost only becomes part of the considered equation if it impacts on the realities of life. Hat collecting is not in the gambling league. So it is with my shirts and with the shirts that she has made as gifts for others. Friends are shocked when I tell them that it would cost nigh on two hundred pounds if she sold them as a business. It takes three and a half yards of fabric at fifteen pounds a yard to make one shirt. Add in the stiffener, the notions, the paper pattern and ten hours of skilled labour and you start to understand why they are so expensive.

    Cheap shirts are made in bulk, up to a hundred are cut out in one go, that's why the fit is never as good as a one off bespoke. So too are hats. In fact anything in your wardrobe will be much more expensive if it's made to measure. When I was after a powder blue Strat to fit my largish cranium, as in seven and three quarters, that I wanted for a wedding, my best bet was bespoke. That's when I turned to Esther. I hope she still looks in from time to time, and I'm sure that she won't mind me telling you that the hat cost me two hundred euros, that's about two hundred and forty US dollars. A price that I thought fair and competitive, knowing the hours of love and labour that my lady puts into a shirt, I knew that Esther would be doing much the same in crafting my wedding hat.

    That hat gets limited wear since the wedding, the colour limits what it can be worn with and that's much the same with most of my wardrobe, hence the fifteen hats. The hat that I am going to wear today is decided on when I open the draw to select underwear and socks. The trousers have to match or contrast the socks, the shoes too. Sometimes I will wear a formal shirt, other times an Aloha shirt, then I think about which jacket and finally I select my lid for the day. Is that sad, who cares?

    My hat(s) get far less attention than the baggy trousers that my missus makes for me and even the less baggy pants still attract a comment or two just because the hems have a turned up cuff. As for the two tone shoes, I get asked if they can be photographed. Probably to post on Facebook under some spurious title. Am I a collector or consumer, possibly a bit of both. What I need to do is send my wife off to millinery classes.
     
  10. There isn’t some sort homogeneous outlook in any generation. People have worshiped possessions and have even been buried with them for millennia. Some enjoy possessions without giving them much thought. Some let their possessions rule them and invest emotion into inanimate objects. Others are ambivalent or even dismissive of possessions. Some are influenced by avarice and greed, while others are aficionados who feel compelled to collect. Some just like hats and like wearing hats, and find enjoyment in collecting, wearing, and learning about them. I don’t presume to claim to know why others do what they do, but certainly greed, vanity, and materialism are not only found in certain generations anymore than humility, kindness, and selflessness are.

    I have three daughters and I assume that none of my hats will be in the family for long once I’m gone, and that’s fine with me. I don’t feel superior for it, but honestly I just can’t care that much for any possession. I do, however, understand the touchstones to previous generations, and deceased family members in particular. A tactile reminder or connection to the person can be a powerful thing.

    My collecting has also given me something to do. Often my job is more about being available if there’s a problem and I’ll have hours to fill each day. It’s a fun pastime to hunt for hats, refine searches, find new sources of hats, and share photos etc. with those who share an interest. In the end, it’s been the people I’ve met virtually here that I’ve enjoyed more than any hat. I often wonder if hats are interesting enough to keep holding my attention much longer, but while I can see moving on to some other pursuit (not leather jackets) I’ll always be grateful for the friendship I’ve made here. My mantra is: people are what matter not “things.” This works for me, but no judgment if anyone else feels differently.
     
  11. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Exactly so. Your entire post is an accomplished observation both of the pleasure of collecting and in describing the many members of The Lounge from many different countries and cultures. Whilst the popular social media sites seem to be nothing more than a platform for making cruel, spiteful attacks from an anonymous computer, The Lounge remains civilised, refined and virtually spat-free. Long may it be so.
     
  12. glider

    glider One of the Regulars

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    I suppose I would say that I'm more collector than not, but not real serious. What I mean is I wont buy a hat that doesn't fit or that I wouldn't wear. I would like to eventually own every style hat and cap and I prefer older hats by manufactures that are fairly rare.
     
  13. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    Having not yet weighed in on this, I will say I have a collector mindset. Ever since I was a wee lad, I collected something. Vinyl LPs, baseball (reds) memorabilia, cookbooks, and other such things that furthered my interests and generally fell within something that I enjoy. While I've never been truly fashion conscious, I like to look decent, and got into hats because I thought my "formal" self could use an upgrade.

    To no one's surprise here, a Panama led to a fur felt which led to this place which led to vintage which led to custom which led to refurbishing, and so on. Most collectibles I have pursued were more personal. You display your sports memorabilia at home, you don't carry your cookbooks around, and unless you turn up your stereo really loud, nobody knows you have an amazing collection. Hats, on the other hand, are more outward and because they are two or three deviations from the mean, noticeable.

    While I do it for myself and my personal enjoyment, I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about my public appearance. That's part of the motivation.
     
  14. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I'm an early year Millennial who didn't grow up poor, but definitely grew up with thrifty parents. Call it the result of a cheap Polack father and a thrifty Italian mother, but I've always been more of a "reuse/recycle" kind of person. We've always fixed tools where possible, made furniture last as long as we've could (we've got an old couch in our living room that is nearing 30 years old, and only this year just got a rip in it), and use our clothes, cars, etc for as long as they will last us.

    As I'm nearing my 30s, I'm starting to understand why the toiling Soviet proletariats despised us Americans and our decadent, single use, throwaway society. You used to be able to say, "they sure don't build em like they used to." Now it's "they don't build em to last." We're perfectly aware of how gluttonous a people we've become, and somehow we've come to be perfectly okay with dropping good money on a logoed ball cap that we might wear a dozen times, versus spending good money on useful headwear that's built to last and be purposeful, not just a fashion accessory.

    There is something to be said of collecting, and god knows I've collected my fair share of useless items over my years. I'm far from a simple, utilitarian man, but I do like the things I collect to have a utilitarian purpose. That is, I like to collect items beyond the sake of collecting them. I like to USE the items I've accrued. For me, hats, jackets, shoes, books, etc all should be useful to me. I should be benefitting from my collection. As Norman Bates said, a hobby should pass the time, not fill it. If you're not benefitting from spending money on something, why spend the money at all?
     
  15. We become a throwaway society thru planned obsolescence but also thru technology. As an example my dad bought a 17-jewel Hamilton Self-Winding Automatic wristwatch in 1962 (at least that's the model yr). He wore that watch every day of his life, work & leisure (and my dad was no cube farming desk jockey) until about 1979 when it quit running. It had never been cleaned, lubed or serviced in any way. By 1979 LCD battery watches with no moving parts, were a dime a dozen. They were cheaper than getting the Hamilton serviced. When the battery went dead you got a new watch, not a new battery. In fact I think he got a free watch once where he banked. I had forgotten all about the Hamilton until I found it among his things upon his death. I had it serviced & it runs perfectly today. I wear the Hamilton when I feel like it. I have an Omega Seamaster 23-jewel Self-Winding watch I got as a HS graduation present. It has been serviced & I wear it when I feel like it.

    Where have I advocated not using the items you collect? I have just given two examples indicating quite the opposite. I have advocated using them, treating them with respect, & not modifying them to fit into some preconceived notion about filling out a collection. People collect all kinds of things; some things are only available in a finite number. I advocate against permanently changing something & destroying it's originality for the simple sake of checking it off a want list for your collection. Take your time, enjoy the hunt & look for the real deal that fits the collection.

    I've got no problem on how people spend their money or how much they pay for something so long as they have been the ones to earn the money they soend. Yrs back when I would see those bumper stickers that said, "We're Spending Our Children's Inheritance" I never understood why people would even think that way. It would make me mad; why would parents ever do that? It doesn't bother me anymore but I earned it, & I've taken care of my own.
     
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  16. glider

    glider One of the Regulars

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    I'm not sure money has anything to do with this actually. Cool old hats are where you find them, I've picked up some nice hats over the years for very little money. I am kinda tight though, I just recently passed on a Stetson gun club that 60 bucks probably would have bought. It just wasn't worth that to me. That was probably a steal for someone that really wanted it, I didn't.
     
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  17. Nicely put, comrade ;)
     
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  18. Short Balding Guy

    Short Balding Guy I'll Lock Up

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    +1 to Jack's advocating treating the vintage hats with respect and not modifying them. Using them as they were designed seems to me to be the respectful thing to do. The added value to me is knowing it was as designed, manufactured and sold. Increased value for the history of the "retail chain" (manufacturer, retailer & owner(s)). I now admite that knowing the "chain" is a value that has grown on me. At first the brands, models, features captured me. I now have an increased appreciation to the "chain." My exception "category" is the hats that have been truly worn and whooped. Modification or refurb is needed for these. My analogy would be that of a vintage auto. Whooped and not able to be usable vintage, then should be modified. No black and white for me as the spectrum is wide and diverse.

    Perhaps the option of Collector or Consumer should have an other option. I would like to think of myself as a hat/cap aficianto. Aficianto, as in one who appreciates the different hats/caps out in the world. I actually find some amusement and can appreciate those who pick up a "fedora" at Target. With empathy and respect I understand their purchase and passion. Will it develop to a Fedora Lounge Hat level? Perhaps, but I still appreciate. Denigrating the choice is showing disrespect to the individuals decision. Without knowing more of the purchase influence and decision, we could only make a partial judgement. It is not good enough for me to call "error."

    It is hard not to judge based upon the "code of points" that is based upon my preferences. The human condition is one of great variability in 2020 and our judgements should reflect that breadth, IMO.

    Consumer/collector/afficianto's of hats/caps can find a home on this forum, IMO.

    Watching the meteor showers while composing and typing this evening, Eric -
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  19. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    The Soviet proletariats that I know that escaped did not despise us....they envied us. Our autos started ,stopped, and we did not wait for years to buy one, our TV's did not explode and when my friend took her visiting mother (Yugoslavian Communist Party member) to the local US mega super market the mom broke down in tears at the wonder of it all.
     
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  20. DesertDan

    DesertDan One Too Many

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    Given your definitions I am a consumer.
    I have some modern and some vintage hats and quite a few custom hats but none of them are "closet queens" all of them get worn.
     

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