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Tradition vs. Innovation: Where Do They Meet?

March 2nd, 2010 Posted in Hats in the News

Which Batman do you prefer: Adam West or Christian Bale? There’s something to be said about the cheesy sound effects, the suit that wasn’t very flattering, and the super villains that seemed more charming than diabolical. Maybe you prefer the chiseled, high technology suit, the business like demeanor, and the never-ending internal conflict of the present day Dark Knight. Whichever one you choose, is any answer really wrong?

It’s the endless debate, the internal struggle between tradition and innovation. Everything is meant to evolve, and things are constantly changing all around us. When we have the ability to mold these things, how do we balance the importance of keeping with traditional and creating things more suitable to our times? Short answer: I don’t know.

Hats have a history that dates back to our great grandfather’s great grandfather, and even before that. Look at the classic black fedora today versus 100 years ago. On the surface, it’s pretty much the same. Classic pinch front crown, 2 3/8” snap brim, and grosgrain hat band. It’s the subtleties that surprisingly spur on more debate than one may imagine. Traditional fedoras used to have grosgrain or leather sweatbands. Now we have manufacturing technology with fancy names like Dri-Lex Eco Friendly sweatbands, especially made to whisk away sweat and dirt from your forehead. To someone just getting into hats, that sounds much more appealing than a basic grosgrain sweat. To your grandfather, just unnecessary bells and whistles.

With buzz words like vintage, traditional, and classic being thrown around like rice at a wedding, where does that line get drawn?

Our Spring Belfry Purple Collection and Women’s Modern Vintage Collection try to blend a long history of hat style with some of today’s modern fashions. To us, vintage doesn’t have to mean boring, but in a niche that values tradition more than most, the marriage between tradition and innovation can sometimes be a rocky one.

- James

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