List of Custom, made-to-order, Fur Felt Fedora hatmakers and hatters

Discussion in 'Hats' started by JonSolo, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. You can probably tell from the pic, it's not a full leather brim. It's a thin leather overlay on top the felt brim.
     
  2. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots I'll Lock Up

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    Noticed that but still seems significant. Just checked their site. They seem to specialize in hats with too much $#!+ on them.
     
  3. Top notch work though. Popular with people on the horse show circuit. You won't see any match stix, scorch marks or fake stitches.
     
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  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I really like the Riley model.
     
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  5. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    Hard to tell without knowing how tall she is.
     

  6. I bought a couple Staker hats a few years ago. My experience wasn’t good: he took one hat back and I sold the other at a big loss. I’m glad you had a better experience.
     
  7. Robieman

    Robieman One of the Regulars

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    Tennessee
    I hate to hear that, but I guess it's good you said something. All I've ordered at this point is one of the hatbands.
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.

  8. My hats arrived with a horrible chemical smell that didn’t dissipate. He also made one with western weight felt and not dress weight that I asked for: he admitted to knowingly doing it against my wishes. I think he was just using what he had on hand. He made me wait over a month for my refund because he didn’t have any money in his PayPal account. I got the feeling he was sort of fly-by-night.

    Maybe my experience was not normal, but there are enough hatters out there that I don’t think I’ll try Staker again.
     
    Robieman likes this.
  9. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I wonder, is Tim at Alley Kat back making hats?
     

  10. I agree. I think there’s an element of bragging rights with those westerns. I don’t think it’s Kias and Cadillacs as much as it’s Levi’s and Gucci. No doubt some are better quality than others. There are always those who will buy certain brands to impress others.
     
    Frunobulax likes this.
  11. Robieman

    Robieman One of the Regulars

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    Considering all that, one can't blame you for not trying him again. Thanks for the info.
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.
  12. Western hats need to be made to fit & fit well because they were worn outdoors in all kinds of wind & weather. Even today, ask a barrel racer how they need their hat to fit sometime. In 1988 or 1989 when I ordered my first custom Western hat I sat for a measuring with a Conformateur that unlike the Formillion, would also measure the crown height up & over the top of my head. There may have been other Western hatters at the time using a Conformateur and/or Formillion but the only two I knew of were Kevin O'Farrell & Ritch Rand. They were also using good quality 2" wide sweatbands.

    How many times do we field the same old question from newbies trying to buy a new 6X Open Road but find the crown touches the top of their head? How many times do you see pics of soft felt hats that are too small; sit too high on the head because they were measured wrong?

    You may remember a prior discussion here on FL concerning the Conformateur & Formillion, & how they were not needed for a soft felt custom fedora hat. But if we took a vote of us who own custom Art Fawcett VS hats made from measurements taken with his plastic Formillion, it would be unanimous that they are some of the best fitting soft felt hats we own. Pretty obvious Art didn't think it was a gimmick. When have you ever seen a VS sit 2-3" too high? Custom hatters are popping up like mushrooms yet few if any make hats from measurements made with a Conformateur or Formillion.

    Custom bootmakers are much the same way. The best fit comes from boots made by bootmakers who not only measure width & length of your feet but also measure your arch & measure up & over the top of your foot, your ankle, etc. The late Paul Bond (& those he trained) was the master. He would actually carve a boot last from the measurements he took of your feet. You can't get that from a tracing or plaster impression. There's a reason you pay more for a Paul Bond boot than one of the Valley boots.

    A good custom hat starts with the fit. I'm reminded of James Carville's famous quote: "It's the economy, stupid!" So yeah, I stand by my Kias & Cadillacs comment.
     
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  13. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    I don't think it's a binary choice. Serious cowboys and Western wearers that need them for a purpose will certainly pay good prices for a good hat with a proper fit. There is, I am also sure, a sizable faction that spend good money for a similar hat that doesn't need it for performance, but because some guy on the PBR circuit wears one.
     
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  14. I don't know of any celebrity or PBR guy who wears or endorses a custom hat. If they are wearing $1,000 hats they are most likely Stetson El Presidente's or something like that. Those are off the shelf & like comparing apples to oranges with customs.

    And a custom is a lifetime hat.
     
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  15. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I understand your argument and largely agree. The flaw in the argument is that many of the western hatters that charge the big dollars still charge those big dollars for an order taken over the internet without the use of either of the mentioned measuring devices. Given a choice I would buy from a custom maker that I could visit and be fitted but I have customs from many custom hatters and I guess I am fortunate to have a pretty standard LO head shape so a 59cmLO fits me well and I discern no difference in the fit from those hatters who use the measuring devices and those who do not.
     
    Frunobulax likes this.
  16. Talking strictly Western & Western dress hats I would never order a custom made hat without being fitted. Soft felt may be an entirely different matter.

    I can wear a custom Western all day long, never have to touch it, adjust it, push it up or take it off. With the proper fit once I put it on I couldn't tell you if it's bunny or beaver, Winchester or FEPSA. The joy & comfort of wearing the hat is all about the measurement & the sweat. And it's a lifetime hat.

    Of course none of this matters if you sell the hat two wks after getting it.
     
    Bamaboots likes this.
  17. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I think I am fortunate to have a standard 59cm LO as all (except for one or two that don't) fit perfectly.
    The main point is that there is no correlation between pricing and the use of a measuring device amongst either fedora dress weight makers and western hatters. If I am going to drop $1700 on a Rand or Greeley then yes, I will go to the shop and get the full meal deal but most of them offer internet sales too and there doesn't appear to be any mail order discount offered.
     
  18. Ahh, but caveat emptor. That's on the buyer. Why would anyone ever spend $1700 without getting a fitting? To save $300 in airfare? I would love a Tatton Baird 3x6 but I would not consider ordering without going for a fitting, & I give Ken @Wyldkarma credit for doing just that for his Tatton Baird. What I don't understand is ordering a custom Western hat from a hatter who makes maybe a few Westerns each yr. Why take that risk?

    Maybe there should be an Infinite Monkey Theorem along the lines of give a monkey a FEPSA hood & an infinite amount of time & that monkey will make you a hat that fits properly.
     
    Bamaboots likes this.

  19. I just find it much more common among western hats. We all know Optimo of Chicago in part for Graham’s much higher than average pricing. Sure, he offers unique colors and unique felts, but is his quality 2-3 times what Art Fawcett’s was or what Michael Gannon’s is? Don’t get me wrong, Optimo has more overhead and he’s also following a different business plan and making it work for him!

    While there are some, like Watson, that will gladly charge you huge sums for both styles, it’s much more common to see a custom western hat costing over $1,000 than it is to see a custom fedora at those prices. Most of the hatters charging the big money don’t offer anything special in the way of quality or fit, they just charge more. Good for them if they can get their prices. I’m not interested in buying prestige or cachet. I’m sure that some of the custom western hatters are more deserving of their prices than others just as in custom fedora hatters.

    I also see this western pricing exemplified in some factory hats: Stetson wanted $400ish for a pure beaver Excellent quality fedora (their top end dress hat), but $1500 or more for their top end western. It’s not that the materials were that much more. You also see many of those expensive western, factory and customs, sporting precious stones and other hat bling: apparently much of that market like their “Gucci” hats, and that fine too. To each their own.
     
  20. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    I attended a Greeley Hat trunk show in Oregon. I would say his pricing has to be reflected i the fit because it certainly was not in the quality of the felt. \his felts were okay...he would not divulge his source but the color palette was def not Winchester unless he commissioned his own palette from them. The quality was good but not an OMG level of difference....certainly not enough to justify the multiples of money asked for over a custom fedora.
     
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