If you know me, you know I love me a good hat. Almost to the point that if you see me out and about without a hat you might think something is wrong.
Hats are maybe the only fashion accessory that allow me to get away with not doing my hair but still look pretty pulled together/like I thought about my outfit (at least a little bit). Kind of the equivalent of sunglasses if you don’t want to do your makeup/maybe stayed up a little too late last night and need to hide the bags under your eyes.
Now, being the self-proclaimed hat expert that I am, if you asked me if I had a favorite, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. That would be like asking my mom to pick her favorite child — it’s impossible (it’s me, obviously). I like a good beanie when the temperatures drop below 60 (I am a Californian, after all). I’ll pull out a nice straw number if the weather’s warm and I’m looking for some extra sun protection. And let’s be real, you can never (like for serious, never) go wrong with a good wide brim fedora.
And while it’s clear that I would never be able to pick a favorite style, I am pretty partial to a few companies out there that make super rad hats but are also doing super rad things. Check a few of them out below.
One of my favorite hats of all time is my (read: my husband’s) vintage Stetson. I had always found that both the quality and style were just unmatched by a lot of hat companies out there today. That was until I saw the hats from Nosotros. San Francisco based Nosotros began after the founder bought, and quickly became obsessed with, a hat he found while on a trip to Peru. Consumed by the thing, he went back with the mission to produce similar items in Lima to raise money for education programs there. The result was Nosotros, which offers beautifully (I really can’t express this enough) made, custom, handcrafted hats. Their products are born in Peru, then designed and customized in San Francisco, with a portion of each sale going to build schools and social programs for Peruvian children. Que Bueno!
The founder of Equal Uprise was born in Ecuador, but now calls the U.S. home. Upon graduation from college, she left her corporate job in the hopes of starting a career that had a positive social impact. And as a counter to mass production so common in today’s manufacturing world, Equal Uprise focuses on artisans (mainly from Ecuador and Tunisia) that craft ethically made pieces, using traditional production methods and often with organic materials. All of their hats are fine crafted wool hats (meaning they are both super durable and waterproof) made by mother and son team, Carlos and Zoila, whose family has been producing fedora hats for over 100 years. Beyond their commitment to quality and sustainability, the other great thing about Equal Uprise is their commitment to the artisans. Their name represents the idea that success is attainable when it is equally shared, so they set aside 10% of profits from sales to fund business development projects for the artisans that craft each item in the shop. They guide the artisans through four phases — funds, consulting, planning and implementation — to ensure that they are constantly improving their business.
Just as all young boys do, the founders of Krochet Kids grew up with a healthy crocheting habit. No? Not a thing for all young boys? Either way, after travelling and volunteering around the world, the founders of Krochet Kids that also happened to have a knack for crochet sought to teach their craft to those in developing countries in order to empower them to rise above poverty. The team saw that they could teach women in poverty stricken regions of the world how to crochet amazing products for which they would earn a fair wage, thus creating a sustainable cycle of employment and empowerment. Their goal is to holistically equip people living in poverty with the skills, education and resources to change their circumstances forever, and they are seeing great success. Krochet Kids artisans not only earn a steady income (10x larger than before they worked with Krochet Kids), they also see increased savings (savings levels increase by 25x), healthier families, less physical abuse, more gender equality and more children in school. More of all of that, please.
Not only does Beyond Beanies have a crazy big selection of great, high quality beanies, but their impact is two-fold – with every Beyond Beanie purchase, you empower and artisan and help a child in need. Each artisan hand-signs her work, so you can then find your artisan on their website and check out her story. The purchase of a beanie also provides five meals to children in need — they also sell tons of other products that provide everything from school supplies to dental care.