As I’m sitting at my desk writing this, I’m watching the rain pour outside my window on an early May morning. It was a similar day two years ago when I started to think about ideas for a hat collection for this summer. Yes, it does take that long to plan. Basing it on the standard Panama hat, parasisal or paper materials didn’t feel right. A typical British summer is rarely reliably dry and those materials just disintegrate in the rain. The challenge I set myself was to develop a collection that was sturdy, stylish and could withstand all elements. Something different.
So I set about testing different materials and constructions. After several prototypes, I settled on combining two types of straw in one hat. A natural seagrass straw as a base with a vegetable fibre mesh straw as a top layer. The seagrass for this year is in its natural raw state and the mesh comes in three colours – natural, indigo blue and black with a purple hue. The seagrass adds weight (reassuringly so, not enough to bulk up neck muscles), while the mesh straw provides the added style and allows the beautiful natural seagrass colour to peep through.
The next stage was to make the hats as waterproof as possible. I prefer to avoid anything chemical based, so I sourced an organic treatment that although it doesn’t make it completely waterproof, makes it possible to withstand all but the heaviest of deluges.
The result is the Tom Smarte Straw collection. Sturdy enough to pack in a suitcase without getting crushed. Colours that make you stand out from the crowd. And water resistant to remove any weather anxiety.
So whether you’re off to a festival, a beach, a pool party or just upping your summer city look, check out our new straw hats. You really can’t go wrong and they will last for years, just as our winter hats and caps do.