What Hatco COULD produce with modern materials and different blocks

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Joshbru3, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. I can attest to that. I grew up in the South in the days when one went without hat or sunscreen. In my 50's now I have had several small basal cell cancers and a precancerous lesion removed. So I'm all for the utility function of hats, plus they look good!
     
  2. danofarlington

    danofarlington My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    If hats continue to be worn, I think a certain per cent of the customers will be more adventurous in their selections than the majority. You have, for example, Alive n Amplified and Joshbru opting for high-crowned hats. I bought a high-crown hat from a custom maker. Actually, Open Roads and Akubra Federations and Campdrafts are high-crowned hats. So, if you had more hat-wearing out there, a greater variety of styles would be in demand eventually. The drive to look different rather than the same will persist, hats or no hats. But distinguishing yourself with a different hat look should always be popular. I look at all the hats selected here on TFL, and maybe most of them I wouldn't wear, but I like that other people selected those styles and I have my own kind of hat style selection. I would hate it if everyone picked the same hat style.
     
  3. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Those are both among the reasons often cited for the decline in hats. And it might go some way toward explaining why Western hats didn't all but disappear half a century ago, as city hats did. For the guy who works outside, in the sun and the rain and the snow, a hat is far more than affectation.

    But I don't discount the whims of fashion. If I were to hazard a guess, it would be that the large majority of Western hat buyers have little practical use for the thing, at least not any more than a fedora wearer has a practical need for his hat.

    Still, those of us with shiny pates can attest to the utility of a hat -- any hat, pretty much. I feel about my hats much as I feel about my eyeglasses. Ever since my cataract surgery, something like eight years ago now, I've been legal to drive without my spectacles. But I see better with them (who doesn't want to see better?) and they're little windshields over my eyes. How people without eyeglasses can walk into the wind or be in dusty conditions without squinting and getting grit in their eyes is a mystery to me. And, truth be told, I think I look better with specs than without them. So I have a few pairs.

    One item of male attire with essentially no utility, but which is still all but ubiquitous in many contexts, is the necktie. But the necktie isn't attire so much as social signifier. For some, a hat is essentially the same thing, although what it signifies is hardly the same thing. And what particular hats signify vary widely as well. A "hipster" wouldn't be seen in a dime store cowboy's hat, and vice-versa.
     
  4. You make a good point Tony with regard to men's fashion in general. How many of the photos from Depression and Golden Era do we see with men in neckties, even those in blue collar work?
    Comparitively, how many men regularly wear ties today, even to church or special events outside of work?
    Is the necktie fated to go the way of the hat? I will say, at least my hats serve some function to protect my head, but I do like those vintage ties, too!
     
  5. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Well, it has been speculated that the necktie is on its way out. Whether or not the hard data -- sales figures, mostly -- support that contention, I couldn't say. But I can concur with your anecdotal observations. Neckties are still very much de rigueur in many business contexts. But most of my physicians (I gotta stop seeing those guys) no longer seem to find them necessary, fewer and fewer guys wear them to after-hours gatherings, and even presidents and prime ministers go tieless in more and more settings.

    And, like you, I dig my vintage ties. Got more of 'em than I'll ever wear.
     
  6. danofarlington

    danofarlington My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Just as Jack Kennedy killed the hat, Ahmedinajad killed the tie. He's the first world leader I saw wearing suitcoat and open-necked shirt. I'm just saying.
     
  7. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

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    Ha!

    At my dept's undergraduate graduation dinner, a friend of Persian descent was asking about the dress code on behalf of her family. She asks "so should I tell my family it's fancy dress or Persian fancy dress?" My friend goes "What's Persian fancy? No tie?"

    ....maybe that's an international relations student only joke, haha. :cool:
     
  8. dawgvet

    dawgvet Familiar Face

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    Josh, really like what you did with reblocking of this modern hat! It is impressive the difference it makes.
    I have a hat that I would like to have reblocked to a different crown shape. Any chance you could be talked into doing this?
    Thanks
    Jed
     
  9. rlk

    rlk I'll Lock Up

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    They do make 30's style hats...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

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    That can't be. :)
     
  11. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    It seems I've been hearing more and more stories like this. Palefaces, as a group, can take only so many decades of exposure to bright sunlight before skin cancers show up. If there's anything to be said for the dreary climate here on the shores of Puget Sound, it's that a guy is less likely to develop such cancers.

    I certainly hope that yours are of the easily treatable type. A friend of my dewy-eyed bride's, a youngish woman who had lived up here for a few years, now resides back in the Sacramento area, where she grew up. It seems this blond-haired, blue-eyed lass is always getting her skin cancer tended to. She regards it quite casually now.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  12. -30-

    -30- A-List Customer

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    "Palefaces, as a group, can take only so many decades of exposure to bright sunlight before skin cancers show up."
    QUOTE: tonyb.

    It's really not only that; fair-haired/dirty blonde men are more prone to colour blindness and sunshine intensity than those

    of whom may be darker.
    (Which I am.)

    All of the above reasons plus my "New Age" (65 & retired) and my wanting to dress in the manner that I did during the 70's & 80's,

    "led me back to the lid".


    Regards,
    -30-
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  13. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Thank you for the time and effort you put in to this experiment. A wonderful result (but don't get it wet!).

    If I might state the obvious, part of the reason we don't see such hats and do see stingy, low-crowned, often
    fabric "fedoras" is because style as a whole has taken a dive. People are interested in comfort (at least as they
    perceive it), lowest possible price tag, and disposable clothing. I work in high tech and I see a marked divide
    between those who dress well and those who wear t-shirts or other low quality clothing. I have nothing against
    comfort and often wear t-shirts myself, but I have a lot against lowest possible price and disposable clothing for the
    way it creates sweatshops and wastes resources. But that is a tangent (and a lot of quality vintage clothing was made
    in sweatshops).

    I think it's a big statement to wear a high crown fedora with a t-shirt. I think it would have been in the old days, too.
    The more casual, disposable wool or fabric stingy is understandably perceived as more in keeping with that style. Like the cap.
    So what you're looking for here is a change to the overall style norms of the times. Good luck with that.

    That said, there is a market for high end hats. We have often seen high end trends move "downward" in the market. There may
    be room for a mid-range hat that is not disposable.

    There might also be room for a new kind of hat. What we have seen here is a hat that has been styled to a standard many decades old.
    What about a new style that people today can call their own? I remember many years ago seeing an experiment Art Fawcett was working
    on in his Rodeo store, with stitched ridges across the crown. He has created original variations on classic designs, like the Spumoni.
    Borsalino in decades past experimented with dye patterns in felt and with some surprising designs.

    I think there may be room in hat shops for "limited edition" hats. That sort of marketing can be done in the shop
    and might appeal to higher end buyers. You won't see someone else wearing one, it looks unique, and it is made to last.
    If Hatco made one of these a year and sold 100 of them (the "new Stetson 100") it could keep a segment of the market happy
    and educate others on what hats could be.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  14. danofarlington

    danofarlington My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    A good fedora will also cut down on hair cancer.
     
  15. KingAndrew

    KingAndrew A-List Customer

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    First, I want to say hello to TonyB. I didn't check the thread for a while, but I can tell you the weather in Shanghai in December was pretty cold. Shanghai is very humid. So when it gets into the freezing range, it feels much colder. It can also get pretty breezy. On the other hand, the Christmas decorations here were just beautiful. And although we got snow a couple of times this winter (including the night of Chinese New Year), it never stuck. So we had a lovely white dusting that just vanished before people had to go to work. All the atmosphere with none of the plowing and salting.

    But back to hats. Several posts have commented on the fact that Western hats are much bigger sellers and sell for more money than fedoras. This reminds me of the old "The Stetson is part of the man" ad campaign. In the 1940s and earlier a man was truly identified with his hat. It symbolized his position in the world (diplomats in homburgs, businessmen in derbies and fedoras, the railroad engineer's striped cap). Since he wore it next to his face, the hat was part of his persona and any ill treatment of the hat was taken as a personal affront. The loss of a hat was deeply felt and a man would act quickly to get a new lid. In fact, he might want to get a replica of the old hat, which is why those "to duplicate reference this number" labels were in the sweatbands. Certainly we can see this is all the hat-related phrases in our language (tip of the hat, black hat, hats off, throw the hat in the ring, eat my hat, talking through his hat, etc.).

    Today's cowboy hat wearers still have that strong attachment to their hats. The cowboy hat IS how they see themselves. The style, color, shape, and material tell the world who they are. And while many ranchers and farmers who sport these hats benefit from the functionality that attracted the original cowpokes 150 years ago, it is clear that most folks wearing Western hats today are primarily making a style statement. It's a statement they feel strongly enough about to pay top dollar for quality materials, workmanship, and trim.

    Obviously the members here at the Fedora Lounge have a similar feeling about our hats. But for the moment we are a small blip in the marketplace. However, I am hopeful that as today's hipsters get used to wearing their fabric trilbies as a fashion statement, more and more of them will begin to seek a better, fancier hat. And slowly we can grow segment of men who appreciate such things. Certainly we can see that people pay hundreds of dollars to buy what they perceive as "better" jeans or sneakers. So a segment of the hipsters will seek out better hats, if only to "one-up" their friends.

    And as they get older, they will appreciate the protection from the elements that a good hat provides, especially when the hair begins to thin out.

    Andrew
     
  16. danofarlington

    danofarlington My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I agree with that. It sounds right.
     

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