Indiana Jones and the Fedora

The hat industry is buzzing, giddy in fact: “It’s coming. It’s coming.” No, it’s not the Russians or the Martians. It’s the new Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

These Indiana Jones movies – the first one was released in 1981 – have meant more to the hat business in the last half-century than any other event on the planet. The only thing that comes close is the relatively new realization that hats serve an enormous benefit in protecting people from the harmful effects of the sun. Imagine, the direct relevance of hats to one’s health has had less impact on the hat industry than a series of movies!

Indy’s hat is a modern-day icon. Its current influence on the hat buying public is nothing short of phenomenal. The current popularity of fedoras can be traced to the first Indiana Jones movie when Indy, played by Harrison Ford, wears a safari style fedora, where the medium-to-large brim is turned down in the front and the back. The hat has become emblematic of the man. After that, all fedora styles took off. Today’s fashionistas like their fedoras with stingy (short) brims – very much on the other side of the fedora brim length continuum from Indy. Whether they know it or not, these young hipsters are the direct fashion descendents from Indiana Jones’ Hat.

The newest installment is scheduled for release in May 2008. Harrison Ford was recently quoted, “I’m delighted to be back in business with my old friends. I don’t know if the pants still fit but I know the hat will.”

Fred Belinsky is the founder and president of The Village Hat Shop. The 4-store California chain is 28 years old. VillageHatShop.com launched in early 1997 and was the first online hat ecomerce site. Belinsky also runs Berets.com. Private label brands include Jaxon Hats, JaxonHats.com, and sur la tete. More of Belinsky’s articles can be seen at his HAT BLOG: Everthing Hats. VillageHatShop.com also publishes THE COWBOY HAT, an ezine featuring short fiction, essays, and poetry about the American West and the Mexican-American Border.

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