Stetson has been a manufacturer of hats, caps and accessories since 1865
John Batterson Stetson was born in 1830 in New Jersey, the son of a hatter, he set out to pan for gold and, legend says, out of necessity he began to make hats for himself using the primitive techniques of felt working. Upon his return to Philadelphia he opened a small business with the ‘Boss of the Plain’ model, with a wide brim and at the beginning of the century he owned the largest hat factory in the world: 1200 workers. Its mythical witnesses have been Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Will Rogers, later the movie stars from John Wayne, James Dean, Roy
Rogers and Frank Sinatra, more recently it is the hat of Indiana Jones and ‘ Urban cowboy’.
The company continues to grow even after the founder’s death in 1906.
In 1915 it has 25 buildings and 5400 employees. In the 1920s production opens up to less sporty models: top hats, bowler hats, trilby (narrow brim) and customize it for presidents and senators begins. Tom Mix, a western star, wears them and when he travels he brings twelve models with him to give to important people. In the 1930s, the manufacture of women’s hats was added: berets, tricorns, round ‘pillboxes’, cloches. The production expands to include baseball caps and a summer collection with straw models.
From manufacturer to licensor
At the end of the 1950s there was a crisis in the headgear industry: hats were no longer a “must” but an optional accessory. In this context, many hat shops went bankrupt. Stetson survived as The Western Hat.
In 1970 Stetson changed from manufacturer to licensor and closed his factory forever. It was the beginning of a new era. Following the release of cult films such as “Indiana Jones” and “Urban Cowboy”, the hat trade saw strong growth during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly due to the high demand for western hats.
In 1998 FWS took over the exclusive distribution of the brand in Europe and shortly after became the official licensee.
Friedrich W.Schneider becomes Stetson licensee
In 1970 Stetson changed from manufacturer to licensor and closed his factory forever. Subsequently, in 1998 Friedrich W.Schneider took over the exclusive distribution of the brand in Europe and shortly after became the official licensee.
Collaborations with music and sport
In 2009 Stetson launched the “Stetson Rocks” campaign, a special collaboration with various musicians who embodied the different facets of Stetson. Stetson has been interested in sports since 2015. In addition to the Kölner Haie ice hockey team, the Cologne Crocodiles football team is also one of the brand’s sports partners.