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Basques, Berets, and Bold Beginnings

From the iconic berets of British WWII generals, to the stylish caps that crowned the Beatles, to the rise of hip hop to modern day celebrities, Kangol has remained one of the most prestigious, stylish, and finest cap companies in the world for over three-quarters of a century. On October 29, 2014 Kangol will be celebrating 75 years of quality and renown by hosting several events around the world in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, featuring live performances, high-fashion, and lots and lots of hats.

Established officially in 1938 by Jacques Spreiregen, and initially marketed as the premier producer and distributor of the “must-have” post-war fashion item, the Basque beret. In the same year, Jacques created the name KANGOL, as a means of standing out from the competition. Though the true origin of the name isn’t confirmed, the leading theory is that the creator combined K from knitting, ANG from angora, and OL from wool. Regardless of the origin, the name served as an incredibly effective branding vehicle and helped secure Kangol’s role as the leading provider of berets worldwide; most memorably, with the British army and 1948 English Olympic team’s opening ceremony outfits.

In the glory and style of the 50′s and 60′s, Kangol hats stretched their boundaries and created some of their most iconic hats to date: the ’504′, ‘the Carricap’, and the ‘Tropic’. Pop-culture figures like the Beatles were wearing Kangol, and they made an overall expansion into the larger fashion scene. With the addition of the ‘Tropic’, Kangol successfully solved one of the largest problems of the hat and cap trade – how do you sell hats in the summer? The tropic was light, cool, and fit into just about anyone’s style of the day. This was a huge success and would further solidify Kangol as a global icon of fashion.

Golf, Princesses, and the dawn of Hip-Hop

It’s not common to find Princesses and Hip-Hop in the same sentence, but Kangol hats could be found on both. From the now famous 1983 cover of Vogue with Princess Diana proudly sporting a Kangol hat, to the hip-hop album covers and music videos of L.L. Cool J, Slick Rick, and Grand-Master Flash, the 80′s were absolutely transformative for the brand. In 1983, Kangol made a brilliant branding move and adopted the Kangaroo logo. This stemmed from the newly grown american customer base going into hat stores and asking for “kangaroo” hats.

Hipster-Hats and Secret Agent Bosses

Kangol still has a strong presence in mordern popular culture. Possibly the most well known celebrity rocking the Kangol brand now, is everyone’s favorite level 10 agent, head of S.H.I.E.L.D., snakes-on-planes hating, hollywood mega-star [Nick Fury] Samuel L Jackson. The old friend of the Avengers can be found sporting Kangol’s ‘Furgora’, the furry black beanie of legend. Let’s put it this way, if the beanie were an item in an MMORPG or dungeon crawler video game, it would be legendary, grant +all-the-money, give x10 to all stats, but would also give -10 defense to snakes (if they are on planes). It is woven from threads of awesome.

Besides the mountain of Hollywood stars, Kangol can be found down at your local whole foods on the ironically-stylish heads of Hipsters and cleverly dressed individuals alike. If you are so lucky to find you way to one of the many 75th anniversary events around the globe on October 26th, you can bet you will see all walks of life in a colorful sea of hats, both on the stage, and in the crowd.

I Can Haz Kangol?

Of course you can, but only if you say ‘plz’! Here at Levine Hats, we have been carrying Kangol since they were first available. Since we’ve been around for over a century, we have had plenty of time to curate the best Kangol products. Come check out our huge selection of Kangols today at levinehat.com, and you too can join the party in style on the 26th to celebrate the legacy of Kangol with the world!

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