by the Curator
I've always loved the look of hats, since first watching ‘The Lone Ranger’ on TV as a boy in England and dreaming of my own Cowboy Hat. I occasionally wore a Trilby at university but hats were completely out of fashion at that time. Much later, while living in Belgium, my childhood dream was realised, when I acquired a black Resistol Cowboy Hat and my first Indiana Jones Fedora. Not long after, we relocated to Hong Kong.
In Asia, there are low ceilings and hot sun. If you are tall, bald and clumsy, you either wear a hat every day or you will have problems. I learned this lesson the hard way with many head injuries so for personal safety, I had to wear hats. While searching for new hats, I quickly became dissatisfied with what I could find in department stores and fashion outlets.
First hat experience
One day, I managed to buy a classy vintage Knox Fedora. The first experience of wearing a vintage hat was life changing. Despite its age, I was overwhelmed by the quality of the felt, the detailed craftsmanship and my suddenly improved appearance in the mirror! At that moment, I resolved only to buy hats of the highest quality and began collecting them. Wearing a different hat every single day, I realised that people in Hong Kong were calling me 戴帽的男人 or “the man in the hat”. I also began to understand that collecting wasn't enough. I now wanted other people to share in what I had discovered. I started using social media with a newly created brand logo and named it The Man In The Hat!
Opening a hat shop was never in our plan, but we were often asked where these beautiful hats came from. In 2017, we joined a 'Movember' event and made a hat talk session. As a result of the intriguing hat stories that we presented, we sold several vintage hats that night. This confirmed that hat culture can re-emerge and encouraged us to consider a business around it.
We moved onto the next stage with a series of outings to Sunday open markets in Discovery Bay, which went very well. Many people started noticing our brand and asked "Where is your shop?"
Opening a shop
It was only a matter of time before we took the plunge. In 2018, we opened a small retail unit in Sai Ying Pun featuring Classic, Vintage and Custom hats. Now we can say that we are the first and only men's hat shop in Hong Kong.