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Our Heritage

 

At Christys' London, craft is key. Since its founding in 1773, Miller Christys' passion for impeccable quality and skilled craftsmanship has passed through generations of hat makers, safeguarding Christys' red and gold insignia as a symbol synonymous with fine traditionally crafted hats.

Official helmet manufacturer of the UK Police Force for two centuries, Christys stands as the Godfather of British hat making - not least since its Homburg hat was worn by Marlon Brando's Don Corleone. The cult of Christys us recognisable throughout cinema, fashion, music and politcs. amassing an electric lineup of wearers from Winston Churchill to Kate Moss, Indiana Jones to Brad Pitt.

Christys was and is a brand with an eye on the future and, while method have remained largely unchanged and heritage is paramount, it is the capacity to transcend trends and social borders that makes Christys' hats as sought after as ever.

Historic. Iconic. Trailblazing

Throughout the world when people see a Christys’ Hat they know there has been no compromise in quality and that the hat on their head bears the tradition started by Miller Christy in England many years ago.

Hat Etiquette

Etiquette and formality have always played a part in hat wearing. At the turn of the 20th Century, ladies would not consider venturing out without a hat and gloves, and would often change their hats several times a day. Gentleman would always wear a hat appropriate to each activity. In the Edwardian age, everyone (rich or poor) would wear a hat. During World War II, hats were not rationed as they were regarded as a morale booster, and Christys supported the war effort within its family-run company, effectively running it like an extended family. After the World Wars, men returning from Allied forces were obliged to wear a hat for a certain time as part of their demobilisation process, from six weeks to a few months so hatting continued to thrive.

The Largest Hat Making Company In The World

Stockport in Cheshire was a hub of hat-making in England in the 1700s and 1800s, with 53 hatting firms there by 1864 including Christys. Stockport Museum is home to ‘The Christys Collection’, testimony to the influence the company had in this proud hatting town. The Christy Papers include a 500 page booklet detailing its trade marks registered around the world at the height of the British Empire. At its height, the Stockport factory alone employed 3,000 local people and was always managed by direct descendants of the company’s founder. By 1843 Christys was the largest hat and cap making factory in the world. Queen Elizabeth the late Queen Mother visited the Stockport factory in 1963 having commissioned Christys to make miniature hats for Queen Elizabeth II’s dolls house many years earlier.

The Hat Journey

There are a number of unique processes in creating the perfect Christys’ felt hat and before that can even begin there is significant work simply preparing the fibres, cleaning, treating and ageing them, before creating the felt fabric itself. Felt differs from every other fabric in that it is made from a myriad of short single animal fibres which are interlocked and then manipulated with water and steam. Once the fur is treated it is formed together into a large cone shape that undergoes various steam and pressure processes to shrink it. It is then dyed in a cone dying machine and a stiffener called shellac is added.

The next step of the hat journey is to turn this rough cone shape into a hat! The crown will be blocked to the desired shape and the brim will be set in a process called flanging. The hat will then be sanded, polished, and brushed to the customer’s requirements before being trimmed. The journey is such that craftsmen train for many years to develop their hatting skills, and Christys pride themselves on the unique craftsmanship still applied to their hat making.

Catwalk And Collaborations

Today’s hat collection embraces the very best of Christys’ heritage and introduces a sense of high fashion as well as casual day to day hats and caps. Every hat on the Usher OMG World Tour was produced by Christys as were the hats on the catwalk for Kenzo’s 2011 show. Christys’ Hats also appeared on Gok’s Fashion Roadshow. Recognised as the go-to brand for headwear, Christys collaborates with other iconic British fashion brands so the hats are often seen on the catwalk.

Fashion Forward

Once the prerogative of the rich and famous, the hat has once again become a must-have fashion item among fashion conscious consumers. As well as their regular appearances on the catwalk, Christys’ Hats are a familiar sight in top British retailers including the quintessentially English Hackett, Austin Reed, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Christys is constantly developing its collection to make it relevant for today’s market. The advanced styling, together with Christys traditional hat making skills, provide a winning combination which makes a Christys’ Hat a much coveted accessory. Christys’ Hats are seen regularly on the heads of celebrity actors, musicians and models, such as Kate Moss, One Direction, Will.I.Am, Cara Delevingne, Justin Timberlake, Chris Pine, The Libertines, and many more. All appreciate the very special ingredients that go into the making of a Christys’ Hat.

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