Western & English Today

Spring 2016

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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30 Western & English Today SPRING 2016 Jimmy Pryor of Houston-based SunBody Hats, however, is skeptical of the winter straw trend. "We have a number of cus- tomers who say the palm-leaf hats are the only category hats they will keep out all year. Some customers farther north say they will sell them all year, but others say it's summer only. I had one young man from New Mexico who said he found palm-leaf hats better in the winter because felts really soak up water and get very cold." "It's not a hard cutof," Catalena says. "Some people go by the weather and some people go by the rules. As trends go, we're selling more straws earlier, and straw season's lasting a lot lon- ger, but we still sell felt hats year-round." At Catalena Hatters, which sells about half locally from its store and half worldwide, including Australia, through its web- site, more people are opting for nicer straw hats. "More people will wear a nice straw hat for dress and are more concerned with style now, along with blocking the sun," Catalena says. "Where- as straw hats used to be something to toss on and throw away." "I do better with middle than the low end," Dallas Hats' Mo- rales says. "Te $60–$70 hat. Few people are buying $500 hats, but the low-end, the $20 hat, is the magic price. It's kind of steady." Especially in markets popular with tourists. "Tey like the low-end touristy hats," says Amber Kline, owner of the Prescott Trading Company, located in Prescott, Arizona's popular Whis- key Row. "Tey like the $20 range. Tey know if they trash it or break it or lose it, it's not a big deal." TREND-SETTERS AND TRIED-AND-TRUE Mundee notes that American Hat Company is designing for three consumers: the trendsetter, the trend-adopter, and the tried-and- true. "Te trendsetter's the younger guy," Mundee says. "He's not afraid. Wants to stand out in the crowd. Te trend-adopter? Tat's the guy that's behind the trendsetter, waiting to see if everybody's laughing at the hat. He lets the trendsetter blaze the trail. And the tried-and-true, he's more like Keith [Maddox] and me. He still likes whites with vents, light colors or chocolate or taupe." One of the most popular colors at American Hat is steel gray. "Te interesting thing about the steel color is that any color rib- bon works on that hat," Mundee says. "Pink, gray, black, any- thing. We give you a full range of colors so you can make that hat your own. It's for the person who doesn't want to wear a cookie-cutter hat." Tat's true at Bailey, too. "Steel gray has been really popular, and we're transitioning that into our felt business as well," Andrus says. For SunBody, their tried-and-true Reata straw (styled afer the hat worn by "horse whisperer" Buck Brannaman's daughter, Reata, in the critically acclaimed 2011 documentary Buck) has been the company's top-selling hat for 4½ years. Last year, the company introduced Reata Two, a Guatemalan palm with a 4½- inch brim and 4½-inch crown, and it has been in the top 10. "And we've only showed it online and at the shows," Pryor says. "I think it's all attributable to the name." Other new styles include bold additions to the George Strait Collection at Resistol. "We're going outside the box," Bolin says, "and brightening things up a little bit." Resistol has also changed the lacquer treatment in its Tuf Hedeman Collection, and consumers will fnd new looks from Hatco's Wrangler Hats, as well. Charlie 1 Horse, Hatco's most fashion-forward line, has brought out new looks and treatments in its Wanted, Wild West, Back at the Ranch, and Youth collections. Even classic Stetson has introduced new design elements and styles across the board, from its 1000X Premier Collection to its Youth Collection. Milano Hat Company's Larry Mahan line will be honoring the 50th anniversary of Mahan's frst — of six — All-Around world champion titles. "Larry Mahan burst onto the rodeo circuit in the early 1960s," Starnes says. "Te sport had never seen any- thing like him. Young and brash, Larry won titles and looked good doing it; a combination of his fashy riding style and his famboyant fashion made him an original and forever changed the sport of rodeo. In 1966, Larry won his frst All-Around title, and we thought it ftting to commemorate that historic event by ABOVE: STETSON, RESISTOL, AND MILANO HAT CO.

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