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

Discussion in 'Hats' started by theinterchange, May 31, 2013.

  1. TheDane

    TheDane Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,670
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    That sounds like a very deep crease. I have only a few hats with a 6" crown. Most of them are around 5-1/2", but I don't think any of them are creased lower than 4-3/8" - 4-1/2" in the front. I always thought, my standard crease - an elongated diamond - was pretty deep. Well, there you go ... :)
     
  2. theoldnorthwest

    theoldnorthwest Familiar Face

    Messages:
    91
    Hello Dane,
    Thanks for the information. I just measured my open roads which are closer to 5" open crown and are about 4 1/4 with crease. Maybe the Sydney just had less material to work with even though it was 5 1/2" tall. I have a vintage Playboy which is just over 5" open and is 4 1/2" with crease. I bought the Sydney hoping it would look similar to the Playboy but it just didn't work for me. Its funny how different hats can look even though the measurements are very close. After creasing, the crown on the Sydney looked very small compared to the Playboy even though when open it measured a bit taller.
     
  3. TheDane

    TheDane Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,670
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    The look of the crease depends a lot on the flatness/roundness of the crown-top. Maybe the profile of the Sydney calls for a lower crease (I'm not familiar with that model)
     
  4. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    ^^^ if the felt is as bad as it sounds, it seems like you need to return it to Delmonico's as defective. They are a good vendor and should stand behind their product. I received a bogus Stetson from LL Bean a couple of years ago - it was just crap and they took it back with no problems. You shouldn't have to live with a hat as bad as that.
     
  5. CRH

    CRH Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,088
    Location:
    West Branch, IA
    I would just beat it into submission.
     
  6. g.durand

    g.durand One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,888
    Location:
    Down on the Bayou
    Bob1215--your experience is similar to mine. The first run of Premiere Stratoliners was issued in the Cornhill color and they got good reviews here. The Premiere Stetsonian in Tawny was issued at the same time and those who bought them and posted here seemed satisfied. Reports were the felt quality, although not of vintage caliber, was pliable and took a shape easily. I bought a Strat in Mink and found it much like the earlier reports--the crown and brim were consistently pounced and malleable and the felt was fairly consistent throughout the hat, although they still weren't as good as any vintage hat I own. I was satisfied enough initially that I bought another one in Caribou when they were issued. The hat that arrived is a lot like what you describe. The brim would not hold a shape but the crown was thick and stiff, indicating that much more shellac was applied there than to the brim. The crown was very difficult to shape, and I'm still not satisfied with it after a lot of effort. The brim of the Mink Strat eventually became more flexible and would not hold a shape either. I applied some hat stiffener to the brims of both hats and re-flanged them, but they don't behave like a vintage or a well-made custom hat. By comparison, I just received an unworn '50s Stetson 3X Open Road, and while not the top of the line hat in its day, it is easily dry creased and holds the shape I give it. Hatco still has a long way to go in terms of quality control and in its the ability to consistently produce good hats. But I'm afraid that there just isn't the demand on a scale that would cause Hatco to improve. The old skills, both in felting and in manufacturing consistency have been lost and the best we can do is seek out the best remaining vintage hats and support the best custom hatters. I'll keep the Hatco "Stetsons" and wear them as rain hats and in other situations where I don't want to risk one of my better hats.
     
  7. theoldnorthwest

    theoldnorthwest Familiar Face

    Messages:
    91
    CRH - I have really worked hard to get the hat to take a shape it just does not seem to want to cooperate.

    g.durand - sorry to hear you have had similar problems. I have not had any trouble with the brim on mine, it actually shaped up fairly well and seems to be holding the shape I gave it, I did not have to use the flange. The crown is another story. One positive thing about the crown, I have been able to keep it really tall at the front, almost 4.75".
     
  8. Landman

    Landman One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,751
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Bob, sorry to hear about your problems. I have an early Mink and Black Premiere Stratoliner. They both were easy to crease with a little steam. Sounds like the quality has gone downhill since the first runs. What color is your hat? Anyway you could post a picture? I'd be interested in seeing it and I'm sure some others would too.

    I'd also like to say that DelMonico's customer service is great and whenever possible I always try to buy from them.
     
  9. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    up north
    Don't expect a new hat to ever feel like a vintage hat from the 1940's or 1950's. That being said , from what I've seen of the new hats coming out of the Hatco factory is that the earth tone colors such as Tawny and Mink will feel better and shape easier than a Black or Caribou hat. This holds true for Borsalino hats as well.
     
  10. CRH

    CRH Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,088
    Location:
    West Branch, IA
    Working hard and beating to submission are not the same. It's more like a wrestling match. Don't give up, Bob. Sooner or later the crease will find you.
     
  11. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Man, I'm quite disappointed to hear of the apparent slip in quality from the early runs of these models. Quite disappointed.

    I'm no marketing guru, but I gotta believe that a market for higher quality hats will grow only when enough people are shown the difference between the lesser and better lids. I see the apparent success of Goorin Bros., who fetch about $125 for a wool felt hat, and I'm left wondering why a clearly superior product for only 50 bucks more isn't flying off the shelves. And then I read that the quality is slipping quite noticeably.

    Any clues as to how sales of these models are going? The fear is that if these models aren't at least a minor hit, we can kiss goodbye any more efforts in this direction in the foreseeable future.
     
  12. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    My mother's basement
    Ain't that the truth. One hit movie or TV show can spur phenomenal growth in sales. (Indiana Jones, anyone?) A fellow custom hatter friend of mine has seen a run on the style of porkpie worn by the lead character in the TV show "Breaking Bad."
     
  13. Jedwbpm

    Jedwbpm One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,031
    Location:
    West Coast Florida
    Matt has announced that the Premiere Statoliner is now available in Silverbelly with a redone pin
    [​IMG]

    Jeff
     
  14. facade

    facade A-List Customer

    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    Conklin, NY
    Some things I just don't understand. Maybe there's more to it then I guess. I fully understand why Hatco chooses to produce low-end hats. That's the market today. What I don't understand why they can't also produce high end hats as well. There doesn't seem to be any initial costs or extra costs that can't be recouped preventing them from producing both. The machinery is the same. There should be no need for extra employees. Produce a denser felt, replace the fishing line and glue with thread, establish some actual quality control and viola a much better hat. All of these can be added into the costs of the better quality hat. The high end hat is a limited market so it makes no sense to pursue it heavily. But why abandon it entirely when there no real cost to play in that market? The only reason I can think of is that they lack the skill to consistently produce a quality product and if they tried they'd have too many rejects.

    If I was Hatco I would have a flagship model no matter how low the sales were for the simple reason of shutting up people like me. If anyone asks me about a Hatco hat, I'd say don't bother they make junk hats. If they actually offered a decent hat, I would instead say if you really want a "Stetson" I'd stick with these models. Offering a range of qualities makes all the difference.
     
  15. alanfgag

    alanfgag

    Messages:
    14,646
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    There is no suitable market for high end dress hats. There is a market for high end western hats and the Stetson brand name still delivers to that audience.

    The small market for new dress hats at the high end is well served by Optimo and a few other smaller makers. The vintage market has ample supply for the equally tiny market for hats of bygone quality.
     
  16. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    My mother's basement
    That's about the size of it. Which is not to say that a market might be grown. But I'm not holding my breath.

    BTW, how is the quality of the Hatco brands of Westerns these days? Of the mass-produced cowboy hats I've handled in recent years, that only ones to make a positive impression were those carrying the Milano brand. And that was a few years ago. Milano has since been acquired by Dorfman Pacific.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  17. facade

    facade A-List Customer

    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    Conklin, NY
    By high end I don't mean Optimo 1000 territory. I simply mean a quality hat without compromises or obvious quality control issues. The market for more expensive hats is small, but if it costs you nothing to have a presence, why would you not? A no compromises $300 hat bearing the Stetson name won't make anyone rich but it would give them some positive press amongst the aficionados/retailors. And yes people will pay custom prices simply because the hat bares the Stetson name.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  18. facade

    facade A-List Customer

    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    Conklin, NY
    Sounds like the hat is good for some more extreme styles. I've seen a few examples of where the fedora crown is smashed almost flat. It had and interesting look, suitable for out in the speakeasies but not the office. Wish I had a photo as an example, but I don't.
     
  19. tommyK

    tommyK One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Berwick, PA
    You guys are making me feel lucky! Lucky i got in early at the $195 price and happy with the felt quality on my two Stratoliners. I agree with others criticism of the ribbon stitching. Perhaps I just don't have enough experience with great quality vintage examples to properly appreciate the differences.

    Could they be better? Yes. I think modern Borsalinos are closer to their vintage cousins but also fall short felt quality-wise and are way overpriced. Ultimately I think I will be taking advantage of some of the great custom makers for future purchases. But Mr. Deckard has shown us a few prototypes that could still entice me.
     
  20. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,958
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK CANADA
    Contemporary furfelt seems all over the place. Your initial beef was about a Christy's right? (too lazy to look for it)
    Many at COW say the felt is very airy, fluffed. I had the old Adventurer but have since flipped it. I thought it a serviceable hat at under $100 USD, but with sloppy stitching & indifferent overall finish & materials.

    What's scary is those guys at COW claim that the felt is the self same being used in Herbert Johnson's X3 more expensive "Poet" model, the dullards at HJ's having finally caught on & gotten a clue.

    If yer nut's too big for vintage I think Akubra or custom is yer best bet. Though I have surprisingly been seeing a few 62 & 63 size demi-vintage on eBay.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014

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