The first thing, or better to say, the first place that comes to mind when speaking about the concept of Akubra and the hats Akubra is, of course, Australia. Australian hats have been “born” in this country and gaining popularity over time, have crossed the borders of other countries, among them North America.
But what are Akubra hats like? How did they appear in fashion, especially in Australian fashion? What material is used to make them? What is the right way of preserving them for a long time without having them damaged? Find the answer to these and many other questions regarding the famous Australian hats by reading on and revealing the mystery behind these uniquely styled hats with us!
The Origin of Akubra Hats
The term “akubra” came into use around 1912 and derives from an Aboriginal language word that means head covering, a hat. In 1925 Akubra officially became an Australian brand name led by the son-in-law of a famous cap manufacturer known in the 1870s. The company became incredibly popular since the time it started producing its Australian hats. The term itself has become used for these caps by this company.
Despite the fact that the company produces other types of hats, it’s the Akubra styled hats that have become its symbol. The hats have acquired such a great popularity that people use the term Australian to refer to any hat of that kind regardless of the manufacturer.
These caps come in different styles and sizes and are especially worn in the rural areas of Australia. But how are these hats made? What material is used in their production? Keep reading to find out the answers!
The Making of Akubra Hats
Australian hats are wide-brimmed bush hats that are commonly made of rabbit fur felt. There are both women’s Akubra caps and men’s Akubra caps that are meant not only for the hard-working people of villages but are also given to officials and prominent people from abroad as national gifts symbolizing Australia.
The unique style and unequalled quality of these Australian Hat have made them well-known almost everywhere in the world. Having appeared in the fashion industry as a mere means of sun and rain protection (due to the wide-brimmed style), Akubras are now produced not only to be useful but also stylish in order to satisfy the various tastes of different consumers.
Akubra, being the only company that creates fur felt hats from start to finish which implies taking the raw skin that is to go through the processes of fur preparation, hood formation, dyeing, blocking and final trimming, is known for the durability and comfort of its caps. The high quality of the felt produced by Akubra is guaranteed and the proof of it is the fact that they use absolutely no coloured powders simply because there are no flaws on their hats that need to be hidden.
There are two main components that make Akubra styled hats great. The first one, as you can guess is the high-quality fur felt. The second are the incredibly comfortable reeded leather sweatbands.
The main fur type used in the production of a felt cap is the under-fur of rabbits. But an important thing to be mentioned at this point which is mostly responsible for the prime quality of these hats is the company’s complete control of the fur “making” process which implies even cutting the fur from the skin.
As for the leather sweatband that’s inside the caps then it is the basis of comfort provision for the hat owner. Being the only part that touches the head it should be made comfortable so as to be breathable, soft and absorbent. In Akubras the leathers come with reeds which makes them fit the head comfortably. A reed is a kind of plastic fibre that’s wrapped in an oiled silk ribbon or some synthetic material, and after this it’s attached to the bottom of the leather. Due to this special ribbon the body of your cap won’t be stained even if you sweat. And last but not least, these sweatbands are made of the best roan sheepskin.
As it was already mentioned these Australian icons come in different styles and sizes. We’d like to single out two of the most common Australian styles:
- Pre-Creased: The name itself prompts us about the style of the hat. These caps come with high-quality reeded leather sweatbands, full linings and chin strap hooks to make the attachment of chin straps easy.
2. Open Crown
- Open Crown: If you are a fan of classics, then some shops offer the old open crown Akubras that come together with separate bashes.
When speaking about the size of Australian styled hats, it’s essential to know that they differ from individual to individual. They are measured in centimeter circumferences according to the wearer’s head size. There are two important points to be remembered in the measurement consideration of these caps. They are as follows:
- The inner band of the hat is not inclined to shrinking easily with use. So if the cap is tight on your head, you’d rather not expect it to loosen up later and choose a better fitting one.
- These hats will gradually conform to your head, it just takes a little time. If your hat is loose then it’s better to use a folded tissue behind the inner band until the cap starts fitting your head.
Note: The sizes measured should be rounded up i.e. if your head size is 57.5cm then a 58cm or 59cm hat would be the best purchase for you.
How to Care for Your Australian Hat?
You might need a few hat care tips in order to use your hat for a long period of time. Here are the most important tips to keep in mind as an owner of an Akubra styled hat:
- Don’t leave your hat in the car or anywhere in direct sunlight unless you are wearing it.
- Australian headwear is waterproof and will keep your head dry in the rain however don’t force it dry when it’s wet. Doing that might cause the inside leather band shrink which means you might never have a properly fitting hat again unless you buy a new one.
- When putting on your Akubra, do not squeeze its front part as it might result in damages of the brim.
- The hat, when not being used, needs to be held upside down on the crown or hung on a hat peg.
- The perfect hat that is meant exactly for your head size should be firm enough to stay in place on a windy day.
- If the brim has lost its initial shape, simply hold it over a kettle until the area is moist. Make sure you don’t make the inside band wet. Then re-shape the brim with your fingertips.
- The best choice for cleaning your hat is trusting the job to a hat cleaning specialist. However, a slight layer of dust can be self-cleaned too. All you need to do is brush the hat in the opposite direction of a clock and then rub the area either with paint thinner or some dry cleaning fluid. You can also use car upholstery cleaner. In this case, it’s recommended to leave the cleaner on the hat for about 15-20 minutes after spraying and then clean with a damp cloth.
This is essentially all the mystery hidden behind the making, measuring, sizing and production of the Australian iconic caps.
In case you want to purchase one, keep in mind that Akubra hats prices differ, especially if you live outside Australia. However you can find cheap Australian hats in online shops if you do a careful research of the market. Choose the best Australian hat by following our small yet useful tips and feel the genuine Australian style and breadth in its best!