Western & English Today

SUM 2014

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

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32 Western & English Today SUMMER 2014 styles with smaller brims. But those younger hatwearers? "Tey want something a little bit wilder that sets them apart from everyone else," says Ricky Bolin, HatCo's president. Bolin points out that those wilder looks can be found with HatCo's Charlie 1 Horse products. "Older men are looking for the classic shapes that only Stetson or Resistol have. Some people want something a little bit wilder that sets them apart from everyone else." Stephanie Fetsch, marketing manager at St. Louis-based Henschel Hat Co., agrees. "Young men have been really into the hat with diversity in shaping," she says. "Tey are the number one buyers for our 5168 Outback." "Traditional cowboys always order the same hat," Dallas Hats' Eddie Morales says. "Te young kids are the ones setting the trend. Tey're always looking for something new." And women? "Te ladies are very fashion-forward, wanting the special under-brim designs of leather, fur or lace, with some bling," says Christine Distasio, sales and marketing coordinator for New York-based Bollman Hat Co., which produces Bailey Hats. "Tey are into unique shapes such as Gus or bolero and, of course, our most popular low-center-dent shape that seems to fatter any head." Adds Kinney: "Women's hats are starting to get a boost from mainstream. We have seen women's Western hats included on the New York runways." At Miami, Florida-based Montecarlo Hats/Bullhide Hat Co., Andres Sarasti points to design-color rhinestone and pinch-front hats as being popular with female consumers, while Fetsch says, "Women usually like the distressed look because it gives it a more bohemian look. Te distressed felt look is taking over more hat designs, not just Western." Which brings us to distressed treatments in felt hats. Greeley Hatworks added distressed treatments to its RANCH WORN (Western) and URBAN DECAY (Fedoras) lines. "We put a new frst-quality hat through 17 steps of rugged love to give your hat the look of Granddad's old hat, in a contemporary style and without the order," Johnson says. Outback Trading Co.'s distressed-look hat, the Sidekick, continues in popularity over several years, with no signs of waning. Milano's Kinney points out that distressed looks are popular in Western fashion collections, such as Dorfman Pacifc's SCALA Ranch, Blue Chair Bay by Kenny Chesney and SCALA Western collections, adding, "We don't see the distressed look as much in traditional Western felts, but it is still very strong in the Western fashion felts." Likewise, Bollman keeps distressed looks in its frontier line or lower-X qualities, and it's not a focus at American Hat Co. or Montecarlo/Bullhide. "It's more in with the wannabe cowboys, to wear to the rodeo and to parties," Sarasti says. Or, as HatCo's Bolin puts it: "Generally, distressing appeals to non-Western consumers and not our core market. Ranchers, rodeo competitors and horse people are some of the hardest working people out there, and they distress their hats naturally." Special treatments, on the other hand, are also getting extra attention. "Our designers are always trying new band treatments or bound edges," Kinney says. "We launched our Bent Rail Collection by Justin Hats this year, and it has been terrifc. We completely redesigned our Justin line and used the Bent Rail Collection to push the envelope." Elsewhere: "We have introduced a new hat called the SHUCK in our Core line, which is a polished fur, making it look very high end," Distasio says. "Te hat is scratched on a special machine to pull fbers out and then polished down to get a sheen. For our Renegade line, I came up with a dip-dyed felt. We started with a base color and dipped hat into another dye and also added a polish to it. It looks like the coat of a well-groomed horse." Bailey's Windriver line is also getting attention. "It ofers our litefelts that are packable, crushable and water repellent," Distasio says, "and the outdoors and Western market seems to really be digging them for their durability and comfort." At Greeley, custom brim treatments, in which Johnson collaborated with Livewire Clothing by adding a diferent material in the beginning stages of the hatmaking process, are the rage. "More fashion than function," Johnson says, "this trend seems to be bringing a new life to a classic style." Greeley is also consulting with two street-wear brands — "more hipster, less rapper," Johnson says — on developing felt lines. Henschel's customers want water-resistant treatments HENSCHEL HAT CO. DALLAS HATS 0714 Fall Felt.indd 32 6/19/14 1:46 PM

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