Festival season is in full swing around the country. In south Louisiana alone there is one somewhere every weekend. Don’t believe it? Check Clarence’s List. There is far more than even I thought we had. Some big ones just finished–Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Festival Internationale in Lafayette, and the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. These festivals tell us something about what the hats vendors need for festivals in 2012.
As a wholesaler of headwear, Accessory Wholesale gets a good feel for the hats that vendors are moving at a variety of outdoor events. For the festivals mentioned, durable straws were very strong, especially straw hats with big brims. Lindu straw lifeguards and safaris logged the most sales. Lindu straw has the durability to hold up in any weather and the wide brims provide shade in the hot days when the sun can bake you. Best of all, these straw hats are cheap. Vendors reported both guys and gals were buying these hats.
But some festival goers were more into hats that look cool than they were into protection from the sun. With so many musicians wearing fedoras, that’s the hat they just had to have. Straw stingy brim fedoras led the way here, but cotton fedoras in colors also got a fair share of the business.
LADIES WIDE BRIMS
Yes, ladies were buying lindu straw hats as well as the guys, but the gals that wanted to look fashionable went for floppy wide brims—even super wide brims. These hats, sometimes called swingers, have floppy brims that range from four inches to seven inches in super-widebrims.
Most have color choices and tan, white, and then black were best. One of the most popular styles selling was ribbon hats. What in the world are ribbon hats? Well, this is a new concept that has popped up in recent years. Narrow bands of grosgrain fabric are continuously sewn to create the wide brim hats. Brim sizes in these hats run the full range from 4 inches to 7 inches. The super wide brim retails for around $25.00, but that was probably considered cheap compared to a Jazz Fest ticket that cost $65.00. One terrific benefit the ribbon hats have is they are packable. When the festival is over pack them away and they will pop back in shape when unpacked.
Cowboy hats seem to be timeless. They were a big player in these early festivals, but not the number one seller. However, at the end of every summer, cowboy hats sell more units for us than any other category of casual hats. There are plenty of outdoor events where cowboy hats dominate—rodeos, horse shows, country music festivals, and they rank high at county fairs. Actually, there’s hardly an outdoor event that happens without cowboy hats.
The most popular shape is pinch front hats followed by cattlemen. A pinch front has a shape like a fedora that comes to a rounded point in the front with an indention on each side. They also have a C crown indention like fedoras. What is a C crown indention? Notice the top of the pinch front cowboy hat shown. Imagine this top domed out like a derby and then was pushed in. Then to make more head room, the center was pushed out again. This is the shape of a pinch front cowboy and also a fedora.
The cattleman has a crease down the center from front to back (this is called the cattleman crease). Elongated indentions are centered high on the crown.
Distressed straws with shapeable brims are the most popular cowboy hats. The hats are stained to look like they have been well-worn with perspiration stains. Manufacturers go through a lot of work to get this beat-up look that sells much better than a nice clean hat.
What about cowgirl hats? New this year is vibrant colors from the summer fashion palette. And who said cowgirl hats can’t be fashionable? Tangerine, yellow, turquoise, and lime—there all there. On the Pantone palette the colors have fancier names, but the cowgirl hats are capturing the hues.
The gambler is a hat with an attitude. It says something independent or rugged. And it is always a hit at South Louisiana festivals because so many musicians wear this style. Gamblers have an oval shape crown a C crown indention. The brim turns up slightly and flattens as it dips in the front and back. Often confused with a golf hat, however golf hats turn up at the edge all the way around rather than flattening in the front and back.
Lindu straw provides a handsome gambler with a 4 inch brim that is also inexpensive. Like we mentioned above lindu straw is durable so even though the hats are cheap, they last. Also this gambler has a chin strap so your customers are not going to lose their hats on a windy day.
ENDLESS OUTDOOR EVENTS FOR HATS
Are hats a business for you? Take a minute to think of all the outdoor events that will take place in your area—street fairs, cook outs, sporting events, fishing, beaches, garden shows, concerts, festivals, church fairs, car shows—the list is endless. And even without events that draw crowds, people need hats for working in the garden, mowing the grass, fishing trips, and vacations. Think about it. Hats are really important for our summer business, and will probably be a big boost for your summer sales.