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Open Crown Stetsons: A Call (Plea) to Retailers!!

johnnycanuck

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,916
Location
Alberta
Goodness. I get the deal with owning a Stetson. "The name in hat brands" But what are you really asking for? A factory produced old style hat. You can go with Akubra and buy one today. In fact they probably made the Stratoliner under the Stetson label for the AU market. Contact Hatsdirect and see what they can do for you. In fact for the price they will charge, you can probably get Mike over at Buckaroo Hatters to make you one. Just saying.
Johnny
 
Messages
10,523
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
HatCo has always been willing to do "runs" for hat shops for a committed number of hats. Randy's post about getting numerous hat shops to ask for an open crown model is a different issue (color selection & range of sizes).
I agree some folks here at the Lounge would be interested in a "run" of a hat that meets the vintage dimensions that we like, see the runs of Akubras the Lounge has been involved in. More power to the HatWrks shop if they want to go with a "run". I think lots of the posts here are a warning of what they can expect....
 

facade

A-List Customer
Messages
315
Location
Conklin, NY
I have no problem with any retailer working with Hatco to produce and sell an open-crowned Stratoliner. I think it's great. As for the Stetson Nostalgia, I'd much prefer to see that style sold under the Dobbs brand. I think that style is a better fit for the Dobbs name and heritage. Hell, I'd become a retailer if I had the chance to offer a Dobbs Nostalgia-style hat (as part of a Heritage series!).

Brad


Would there be any difference in the actual hat other than the name? Is there any difference in Hatco brands? Or is the only difference between a Knox, Dobbs, Stetson, Cavanagh etc. which box they grab the sweatband from? Seeing the factory tour pictures with the finishing materials for every brand name all residing next to each other in one box after another, lead me to wonder if there is any difference other than the labeling.
 
Messages
10,523
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
Would there be any difference in the actual hat other than the name? Is there any difference in Hatco brands? Or is the only difference between a Knox, Dobbs, Stetson, Cavanagh etc. which box they grab the sweatband from? Seeing the factory tour pictures with the finishing materials for every brand name all residing next to each other in one box after another, lead me to wonder if there is any difference other than the labeling.

I know the dye recipes are different, especially between Resistol & Stetson silverbelly. When they do the felt body runs in Longview, TX, they use the dyes from the particular acquisition/licensing agreement. Not sure about felt bodies being for different fur weight or mixtures...
 

theinterchange

One Too Many
Messages
1,673
Location
Why do you ask?
Guys, I understand that folks have differing opinions and respect that! It's just when the vehemence with which you state your position borders on "shooting the messenger", things get out of hand. As I feel it almost did before.

Things seem to be moving at a clip for the possibility of seeing these in hand. I've been having some back-and-forth (independently) with my connection at Stetson and the owner of HatWrks and both parties are anxious to make this a reality. I'll post more info when I get it.

As for addressing the quality of this offering. I've been told that it's more in line with what we'd want out of a hat, a step up from the normal Stetson felt, and put together like they used to be. (and is why I keep driving that point home) No, I haven't touched one, but I trust my source as a "like mind" to our way of thinking, he's a "fedora guy" all the way. The one thing I haven't been told is the thickness of the felt, but I'm pretty sure it will be thinner, since things seem to be going as accurate as possible to the old style.

I know the Nostalgia was a bit thick for open crown, I never owned one, but handled one owned by an Orlando area member. Even for its thickness, it was surprisingly pliable. As Brad Bowers mentioned, the Nostalgia would have felt more at home in another brand's line than Stetson.

As for going custom, I know a lot of guys want that, but honestly, I'm too much of a "flipper" to want to spend too much on a custom. I try to keep my collection as minimal as possible so if a hat's not getting regular wear, it's gone. I'd rather spend less on a factory hat, or make sure I've got a good condition vintage specimen.

Then there's always the suggestion of buying Akubra. I'm not anti-Akubra, I love what they offer, and have owned MANY! The Campdraft is an excellent hat, as is the Federation line, the Squatter, etc. Akubra makes a great, classically styled hat. What's special about the Stratoliner is, we'd be getting a factory hat made to specs by Americans in America. While I'm not a diehard "patriot" type, I like knowing things I buy are made by folks who are getting a decent wage and good working conditions. Yes, I know Akubra provides, that, too!

As has been said, the name Stetson carries with it a weight that transcends the "folks in the know about hats". To borrow a line from The Doctor, "Stetsons are cool." (I don't, however, agree that fezes are cool.). Say Stetson and people know what you're talking about. Stetson has a heritage, and despite what some may say, they still carry weight. As "mayserwinger" said, Stetson has long licensed their hats out, this ain't new news. We always hear about the Campdraft starting life as a licensed Open Road, who knows what other Stetsons were made down under by Akubra, yet didn't make the transition to an Akubra branded product? I suspect a number of classic lines were axed when they ceased partnership.

Anyway, thank you for being a bit more civil in your responses! Things were just escalating into a cliched bashing of Hatco and Stetson and that wasn't the tone I was hoping for!

As stated before, I will post any new information when I get it. Which should be later today, I hope!

Randy
 
Messages
14,788
Location
Buffalo, NY
As has been said, the name Stetson carries with it a weight that transcends the "folks in the know about hats". To borrow a line from The Doctor, "Stetsons are cool." (I don't, however, agree that fezes are cool.). Say Stetson and people know what you're talking about. Stetson has a heritage, and despite what some may say, they still carry weight.

In my opinion, the Stetson product today has about as much connection with its heritage as the product line of Abercrombie & Fitch. If you'd like to form and crease a hat yourself I would recommend vintage from an era when felted hats were intended for such personalization.
 
Messages
10,523
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
From what I recall of the prototype of the Strat40, as it was labeled, the felt body was spot on.
Lots of us held one at FedFest in Garland plus the one I got to evaluate (sure would like it back)....


It was issues with stitching in of the sweat, ribbon band placement & the bound edge stitching as well, that precluded the initiative going further.
 

Banky

One of the Regulars
Messages
227
Location
Milwaukee, WI
I'll say this much. I'm all for bringing back old styles with vintage proportions and styling. However, that being said I was burned bad by a hatco whippet. Got caught in a light shower and the felt developed dimples and just generally made the hat look bad. On top of that the ribbon didn't even cover the sweat stitching. They would have to up their quality substantially to make me a buyer. The talk of going with an Akubra offering is well founded. Their quality is top notch and I don't feel like I've just thrown 150+ dollars into the trash when I go with them. As I said I'm not hating, I don't have any old grudge against hatco. I would've chaulked it up to getting a "lemon" if I hadn't read plenty of accounts with experiences similar to my own. I'm just saying I gave them the benefit of the doubt and I feel like I wasted my money. I think anyone would be leery if they lost money once to a company to give them more when the quality is unknown.
 
Last edited:

RBH

Bartender
For the record...I am not nor will I allow Stetson [Hatco] bashing to go on in any thread.
Constructive criticism is another matter.
For the record I have straw hats made by both Art Fawcett and Mike Moore.
But my favorite that I wear every day is the milan Stetson Stratoliner.
I did have it reblocked, but it has a full crown so it reblocks very well and I like the taller crown.

We worked for several months to try and get the issues ironed out... we were not satisfied with the answers
we recieved from Stetson on our quality concerns.
Mike Moore decided to drop any further attempts on the matter.
End of that story.
After this I assumed that it was known that ""Stetson"" would make a run of any style hat as long as the customer would buy the minium amount to place the order.

As I said I wish GiGi the best... but from being in her store I would not think this type hat would appeal to her clientele.
 

1961MJS

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,351
Location
Norman Oklahoma
Hi

I had a decent, but not great experience with my Hatco Stetson Temple. I paid less than $100 for it a few years ago in Saint Joseph Missouri's outlet store. I brushed it when I brought it home, and got the brown dust off it, no big deal there. It didn't seem to change the appearance much when I did that. The Temple isn't really shaped like the Indy hat I wanted, so I'm getting someone else to make me one. The ribbon does cover the stitching, although all of my hats have been in need of a slight stretching and the ribbons have ridden up a hair.

IN MY OPINION, Stetson will probably not get the business needed to make a bunch of 1930's style wide brimmed high crowned fur felt fedoras at a profit. They could do the Beaver Brand model online and allow you to choose brim, crown, color, ribbon etc, but that didn't seem to work out that well for Beaver Brand....

Just my $0.02 and probably not worth that.
 

DougC

Practically Family
Messages
635
Location
San Antonio
Did I miss whether the hat the OP posted was an old or new picture of the open crowned Stetson? If I missed the answer, I'll go back. If I didn't-is it a new or old hat? Just curious; I like modern Stetsons and would like one with a taller, open crown. I like creasing my own hat.
 

theinterchange

One Too Many
Messages
1,673
Location
Why do you ask?
Did I miss whether the hat the OP posted was an old or new picture of the open crowned Stetson? If I missed the answer, I'll go back. If I didn't-is it a new or old hat? Just curious; I like modern Stetsons and would like one with a taller, open crown. I like creasing my own hat.

I covered this already, but to save you time: It's a new photo.

I'm puzzed as to why people keep assuming this is an old photo?[huh]

As for the whole, Stetson isn't what it was debate. These are being made in a (continuously producing since before Hatco) Resistol factory that has inherited a lot of original Stetson equipment, blocks, etc and employees that were there pre-Hatco. So what if they make several different brands in the same factory? With that logic, one might as well discount a 2013 Ford or Chevy as not being "heritage worthy" because they make several different brands in the same factory.

And comparing Akubras with a dress body Stetson isn't exactly fair since Akubras by and large are "outdoor" or "country" hats, not dress hats. Comparisons to the more outdoor aimed Stetsons like the Dune would be more apt.

Just some counter points to the continually rammed home points being made.

Randy
 

theinterchange

One Too Many
Messages
1,673
Location
Why do you ask?
Hi

I had a decent, but not great experience with my Hatco Stetson Temple. I paid less than $100 for it a few years ago in Saint Joseph Missouri's outlet store. I brushed it when I brought it home, and got the brown dust off it, no big deal there. It didn't seem to change the appearance much when I did that. The Temple isn't really shaped like the Indy hat I wanted, so I'm getting someone else to make me one. The ribbon does cover the stitching, although all of my hats have been in need of a slight stretching and the ribbons have ridden up a hair.

IN MY OPINION, Stetson will probably not get the business needed to make a bunch of 1930's style wide brimmed high crowned fur felt fedoras at a profit. They could do the Beaver Brand model online and allow you to choose brim, crown, color, ribbon etc, but that didn't seem to work out that well for Beaver Brand....

Just my $0.02 and probably not worth that.

I only recently heard about the demise of Beaver Brand. That is unfortunate, they made a nice product.
 

DougC

Practically Family
Messages
635
Location
San Antonio
Great-it's a new picture. The reason I asked is because I really didn't see an answer other that to say you saw the pictures on the internet. That's why I asked anyway. What are the dimensions of the crown and brim? 'Cause, yeah, I like it.

As for the Stetsons aren't what they were-who cares? I live in Texas and they are made in Texas. I support local production when I can. Of course, I also have a couple Akubras. The last Stetson I bought is a 10x western-nice hat! I get lots of compliments on it when I wear it. The hat before that was a 20x Open Road made as part of a special batch of hats for Paris Hatters-again, a nice hat made in Texas, by Texans. Both of these hats hold up well in the rain. But, then so does my 1990s 4x Stetson.

Separately, be careful about your thought on Akubra. Although they make a great field hat, the dress hats are pretty nice too. The FL Heritage Campdraft is as nice or nicer than my vintage Stetsons from the 40s and 50s. And, my Federation IV Deluxe is pretty dang awesome. I think you would be better served by focusing on your original question rather than get sucked in to the debate on what hat is best-for the record, that would be my Borsalino Alessandria that has great felt and awesome dimensions...oh yeah, and it came open crown!
 

DougC

Practically Family
Messages
635
Location
San Antonio
theinterchange-sorry; you didn't poke fingers at Akubra! In fact, you indicated the hats I mentioned from Akubra are well made. Sorry to indicate otherwise.
 

frussell

One Too Many
Messages
1,409
Location
California Desert
I'm always pulling for Stetson, but their new hats keep letting me down. In the last few years, I've owned a few Temples, one Nostalgia, and whatever the all-beaver one was called (Pinnacle?), as well as two of their "milans." All I have left is one of the milans. I'd love a milan Strat, but have never seen one in 7 7/8. The Nostalgia was very comfortable, and looked sharp, but the felt quality was sketchy at best, so I sent it on down the road. I still think their Caribou is one of the best shades of grey out there, and will be willing to give them another try if something like what's being discussed comes to pass, but given the past several years, I'm not super optimistic. And yes, the Temples I owned had all the problems described in all the negative threads, and stayed in my house less than a few days each. Frank
 

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