Herbert Lewis Johnson learned hatting as an apprentice in London and opened his own shop in 1889. The company's initial reputation was established with Top Hats, Bowlers, Fedoras and military headwear.
Famous wearers of Herbert Johnson hats have included rock legend Jimi Hendrix, TV's Patrick Macnee as John Steed in The Avengers, Tom Baker as Doctor Who and Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman. Global prestige came in 1981 with the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Harrison Ford, as Indiana Jones, wore a Herbert Johnson Fedora. The company inexplicably missed a huge opportunity to capitalise on the success of Indiana Jones and their association with the franchise stopped with the third film. Other hat companies were delighted to step in.
In 1996, after multiple changes, Herbert Johnson was bought by Swaine Adeney Brigg, yet the next 10 years still did not see investment in its Fedoras. Finally, 2016 brought a moment of inspiration: the owners established a new team and supply chain, under the direction of a newly-hired master hatter. She has made a rapid, transformative impact on quality and the reputation of the company.