Custom patches on hats have become more than just a fashion…
Hats are to people what cake toppers are to cakes. A statement piece, if you will. Is it a wedding cake or an expensive tiered red velvet dessert? The little bride and groom make the difference.
Likewise, hats are small details that impact the overall impression of an outfit. Nothing says rugged masculinity quite like a cowboy hat or sophisticated leisure like a floppy sun hat.
Choosing the right brand is as important as choosing the right hat for an occasion. You want something well-made that will hold its value for many years. Here’s a list of the best hat brands, from classic labels to contemporary milliners.
1. New Era
With a name like New Era and a thoroughly modern product, you’d be forgiven for thinking this maker of baseball caps is contemporary. However, founded in the 1920s, New Era has been in business for over a hundred years.
Its iconic 59Fifty fitted cap, designed in 1954, has undergone minimal changes with two versions: the original flat visor and the low profile with a curved visor. As the official on-field cap of the MLB, sideline cap of the NFL, and on-court cap of the NBA, New Era is the only brand to have exclusive rights to all major US sports leagues.
New Era debuted in pop culture and streetwear fashion industry in the 1990s with director Spike Lee’s infamous red Yankees cap (at the time, all NY Yankee caps were blue). This collaboration propelled a new era (pun intended) of creativity and collaboration. The brand has over 500 licenses, from Marvel to Warner Bros., the Louvre, and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
The world of hats isn’t immune to the soft power of Hallyu (Korean culture wave). Flexfit, the American company of the Korean brand Yupoong, is a private-label manufacturer of casual headwear. Their domestic and international customization program helps you create branded hats for corporate functions, family reunions, or whatever concept you envision.
Flexfit guarantees industry-standard quality. But that’s not what puts it on our list of best hat brands. It’s the brand’s commitment to innovation, specifically the invention of Flexfit® Technology, a revolutionary fusion of tech and performance for a stretch-fit cap.
Everyone has a different head shape. With the polyurethane spandex in the sweatband and crown, the cap fits perfectly to every head shape, whether square, oblong, or diamond-shaped.
Other technology includes water repellency, stain block, thermal regulation, and a seamless front panel for an uninterrupted customization canvas.
This British label started in 1938, supplying berets to the British military. In the 1960s, Kangol experienced a surge in popularity when it obtained the sole right to distribute any hat with the image and endorsement of the iconic British band, The Beatles.
Another surge in popularity comes through the music world in the 1980s and 1990s, with Hip Hop artists like LL Cool J and Run DMC sporting the bucket hat. The brand adopted the kangaroo icon since American consumers kept asking for the ‘kangaroo’ hat.
The current 90s fashion revival has once again launched Kangol to the spotlight with the bucket hat styles trending among streetwear fashion influencers and luxury fashion brands.
Other styles offered include army caps, flat caps, and pork pies.
If you like a story of the little guy winning big, then this brand is for you. The brand took its name from the year 1947 when the D’Angelo brothers started selling sporting memorabilia at Boston’s Fenway Park at age 12.
In addition to sport caps, ’47 holds licenses to sell merchandise from all major sporting leagues in the US, including the NCAA. So, apart from a long-term exclusive contract with the major sporting groups and a 30-year head start, what makes ’47 different from New Era?
’47 offers a casual and unstructured style. If you want the pro-athlete look, then go with New Era. If you’re going for a relaxed, worn feel, then ’47 fits the bill. They also have a collection of legacy and retro logos, feeding into the vintage aesthetic.
Richardson started as a sporting goods distributor before designing and manufacturing their own products. Founded in the 1970s, this American brand is our list’s new kid on the block. Yet, they’ve already gardened a reputation for durable, high-quality hats.
That’s because the company is vertically integrated, meaning they own various stages of production. By controlling the design, manufacture, and distribution of their products, they guarantee the quality of the materials and construction of their hats.
In addition to its branded products, Richardson is a leader in the customer cap market. With a large selection of colors, styles, and designs, you can create personalized headwear for amateur teams, corporate events, and retail brands.
Their most popular hat is the Richardson 112 trucker hat. It has a pre-curved visor with a mesh back panel and comes in only solid colors. It is also one size fits all with an adjustable snapback. The high-profile front panels provide a large canvas for logos, patches, or custom artwork. Other popular styles are the Richardson 112P with patterns on the front panel, the Richardson 110 without the snapback, and Richardson 115 with a low profile.
What do fedoras and trucker hats have in common? A family of talented hat makers. Goorin was founded in 1895 on the back of a horse and cart. Back then, fedoras, boaters, trilby, and bowler hats trended. As these styles fell out of fashion in the 1960s, this family-owned brand expanded into sportswear with trucker hats.
In 2003, the Goorin Bros. Hats launched The Farm, an experimental patch design using animals to create fashion pieces. Each animal is given a personality, presented in touch-in-cheek descriptions. For example, the rooster symbolizes sexuality, resurrection, and observance, while the lone wolf represents strength, independence, and nonconformity.
The trucker line doesn’t mean Goorin Bros. Hats has let go of its heritage. The company continues making artisanal hats like the pork pie hat worn by Breaking Bad lead character Walter White. With a revival of classic hat styles, you can expect to experience a time warp on their website.
7. Christys’ London
Christys’ London has a long history of traditional craftsmanship – 250 years. The official manufacturer of the UK Police Force helmet uses the same methods and factory to produce iconic pieces.
For example, the Homburg worn by Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Winston Churchill; and the fedora re-popularized in the 1980s by the Indiana Jones franchise.
You won’t find re-imagined versions of the baseball hat or beanies in any of Christys’ collections. Their commitment to heritage and ability to transcend trends with classic silhouettes affords them the same legendary status as the famous heads that wear their hats.
Few could successfully argue that there is anything more American than cowboys. Nothing embodies this American spirit of resilience and resourcefulness like a Stetson hat.
Stetson has become the standard brand for Western enthusiasts. The original designs are made with the same durable and waterproof material, continuing 150 years of authentic craftsmanship.
The label diversifies its products with materials like straw and fur. The hats retain the classic Americana style but are more comfortable to wear. They also sell truckers and baseball caps.
No fashion list is complete without the Italians. Our list of best hat brands includes Borsalino, the oldest Italian hatmaker. This is undoubtedly one of the most iconic hat brands from around the world.
Founded in 1857, the company uses the same old-fashioned techniques, including making rabbit fur felt. This step characterizes an authentic Borsalino fedora. Each hat has at least 50 manual steps and can take up to two months to make. Straw hats receive the same kind of attention with each hand twisted.
This commitment to traditional craftsmanship means the brand has perfected timeless silhouettes like female fedoras, Panama hats, and flat caps.
10. Lock & Co. Hatters
If you think a 250-year legacy is impressive, try 347 years. That’s how long Lock & Co. Hatters has been in business. The British label is the oldest hatmaker in the world. The company has been in the family for seven generations and has operated from No.6 St. James since 1765.
When you’ve been in the business for centuries, you know a thing or two about quality, and the brand has two royal warrants that attest to this.
Lock & Co. offers three collections – the men’s, the women’s, and the Lock Couture collections. The first two offer a mix of modern and classic style hats, from the pillbox to the bucket hat and the silk top hat to the beanie. The couture collection showcases handcrafted pieces made with premium materials.
That’s it. Those are the 10 best hat brands on the market today. The choice is now yours. What kind of a look do you want to pull off? Are you looking for something classy and elegant? Or perhaps you need something more casual and trendy? These ten brands have the perfect hat for you.
And if you’re looking for a way to make your hat stand out, get in touch with us. We’ll help customize your hats to give them a personal touch.