Most of us in the wholesale and retail fashion industry see those waves in our sales charts with the summer usually being in the valley. Well here is something flying under the radar that you don’t want to tell your competition about. Wholesale hats are picking up steam this summer and have been on a steady rise.
In the wholesale business we see trends developing because retailers nationwide start increasing orders in certain accessories. This can be a fad or it can be a trend and trends are important to us because they are long term. Fads are a flash in the pan-usually good for one season-but trends develop with small movements that come together for wide acceptance and rise and fall over a long period, often a decade.
Well wholesale hats seem to be undergoing this trend development. Three years ago cowboy hats became a fashion statement and built to a frenzy level. They’ve come back to earth a little, but are still a very good item with more wholesale cowboy hats shipping than any other hat category.
Next over the last few seasons the runways showed models wearing a lot more hats. By the spring preview shows for 2008, it became such a statement that nearly every fashion reporter had to notice and comment on it.
Hollywood and the music world are also in the act with celebrities and performers more than ever decked out in hats-far more than we saw two years ago. They make a huge impression on the young who are following the style of the stars.
Fashion magazines are giving hats more coverage also-sometimes a full page on specific hats likes fedoras. Even the ads are onboard with models wearing hats.
All this is building into something far bigger than a summer fad. A trend is building that could carry on for the next several years. So now is the time to start staking out your ground as the “hat place” in your area and summer is the time to start because hats peak in summer to help fill in the valley on your sales chart.
Maybe hats are new to you so you need to know which wholesale hats to buy. Let’s begin with the wholesale hats that are at the top of their game right now. This summer nothing beats wide brims and cowboy hats. These two hat categories will account for more than 60% of the casual hat business. Thank Ralph Lauren for promoting gorgeous wide brim hats on the spring runways. Five inch rims are good, but super-widebrims (6 inches or more) are the statement fashion magazines are hyping and the Kentucky Derby saw oodles of them gracing the celebrities. These hats flatter a look so much, women almost forget about the sun protection the hats provide. Natural is best, but colors are too good to ignore-especially white, ivory, and black.
Now for the American icon-the cowboy hat. Don’t write the obituary on these super-cool hats that add character and individualism to a look with the simple addition of a hat. Natural or distressed straws in shapeable cowboy hats with rolled brims do best. How many celebrities have we seen in that look? Celebrities actually kicked off the cowboy hat craze with Britney and J-Lo showing up in straw rolled brims and then everyone had to have one. The range of cowboy hats has so many options that there is something for everyone, but young adults are the biggest market. Don’t worry about cowboy hats. They are like the pink bunny that just keeps going and going.
For shops catering to young adults, fedoras and newsboys are a must. Not a lot of sun protection here-but a ton of personality. Fedoras and newsboys are celebrity favorites with TV and magazines giving them gobs of exposure. Wholesale hats shipping this season include lots of newsboys in the summer bright colors of yellow, orange, and apple green. Basics like white and black are also good as well as patterns of pinstripes and polka dots. Fedoras are a little more toned down with white, brown, and black the best.
Other casual hats are also good like kettle shapes with an upturned brim and those Gone-with-the-Wind looks in braid-and-sewn straw, but the four key hats we focused on catch 75% or more of wholesale hats that are selling so concentrate on them first. Please keep this, well…under your hat…so all our competition doesn’t know what we’re up to.