This is the Brent Black hat I had made last year and that a reader reminded me I had yet to report back on. I apologise, and can only plead a queue of other projects.
Back in August I wrote about Brent Black himself, the craftsman and campaigner, who lives and works in Hawaii.
His is the kind of business that makes me glad I live in the internet age. It is innovative, unswerving in its dedication to quality, and only possible because the internet allows Brent to connect directly with the few dozen customers around the world who are willing to pay for his uncompromising product. It allows him to bypass the economics of the rest of the industry, which have relentlessly undermined quality in favour of quantity.
I then wrote a post later that month about the hat-making process. In some ways it contains the best of all other crafts, requiring an involvement in everything from sourcing plant shoots fitting the human head.
Perhaps I am recapping these posts because there is relatively little to say about the finished hat. It is beautiful, perfect in every way. When it arrived it wasn’t perfect: it had a black hatband around it rather brown, as requested. But Brent went to extreme pains to correct that as swiftly as possible. And it is perfect now.
It is hopefully possible to see the fineness of the weave on the hat. I am not obsessive enough to count the number of rows per square inch, but I have never seen anything finer, including on hats that are a lot more expensive (this is Brent’s $1000 level of quality).
The fit is also a delight. As a man with a ‘long oval’ head, most hats do not fit very well until they have been reblocked to that shape, or worn enough times to adapt. Most felt hats will do that relatively quickly, but they are still never perfect, the brim always buckling slightly along the sides.
Even at the much cheaper end of Brent’s range (his hats start at around $500) I would recommend him for the impressive fit and dedication to the finished product.