I remember being in Paris when I was first invited to visit the New York showroom where the Stetson master brand lives. I have to admit that when I thought of the brand name Stetson, the first thing that came to mind was classic American cowboy hats. I'd like to think that I have an open mind when it comes to fashion and style, so I accepted the invitation not really knowing what to expect. I quickly learned that the area that maintained the most growth over the past few years for them has been and remains their dress hat collection, which accounts for over 50% of global sales.
Now showrooms are nothing new to me, and at this point, I am not easily impressed, however the experience at Stetson was golden. There I learned of their history dating back to 1865, this is a company rich in tradition, proud of it's product, and ever expanding in terms of ventures and collaborations (currently they have collaborations with Albertus Swanepoel, and Billy Reid). Stetson not only makes hats, but also functional clothing ranging from jeans to t-shirts, to button up shirts, to boots. Their Stetson Original has been among the top 20 men fragrances for the past 20 years (a feat that few fragrances can lay claim to), and their corrective eye wear launched in the 1980's is one of the best selling collections of men's frames.
One of the things that particularly stands out about Stetson is their commitment to quality, something that is evident in the master craftsmanship of the products that bear the brand name.
While speaking to Pamela Fields, the company's Chief Executive Officer, I was invited to take a look at the company's lending library, which not only was a testament to the years of work, but also an excellent source of hat history in general (the library is open to the general public upon request). It was Pamela that also explained to me that every item had a story, and while fashion was important, at Stetson " we put great value on being authentic and true to our heritage. Products have to function first, be fashionable later."
I left the showroom wanting to share my experience with others. For those who look for a connection between themselves and the product they wear, I can say that Stetson embodies a functional product that has that little extra detail for those who demand both quality, and great style.
Stetson dress hats can be found at Barney's, Brooks Bros, Saks, Bloomingdale's. Western hats at Shepler's, Boot Barn, Cavender's