Many people may not know what a Kangol hat is, but they probably have seen or even used one during their life. ‘Kangol’ is actually the brand name of an England-based clothing company, and is among the most popular names in the classic headwear industry there. Their hats are famous and usually recognized for their unique design and the ubiquitous kangaroo logo on them.
The Kangol hat was especially popular during the 1980s, when many celebrities and artists were seen wearing one while performing or attending public events. Hip hop artists, in particular, would wear Kangol hats and inspire their fans to do the same.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the Kangol hat, read on below. It has quite an interesting history regarding its popularity, so anyone interested in fashion will probably want to know more about this type of hat:
The History of the Kangol Hat
The brand ‘Kangol’ was founded by Jacque Spreiregen, who was a World War I veteran of Jewish-Polish origin. Back in the 1920s, Jacque Spreiregen was an importer based in London. By 1938, he was an importer for Basque berets, which were produced in France and meant to be headwear for military folks as well as the working class.
However, Spreiregen later opened his own factory in England within the Cleator, Cumbria region. He was assisted by Joseph Meisner, his nephew. This manufacturing headquarters allowed Spreiregen to develop and name his own brand, Kangol.
The name ‘Kangol’ is believed to have been derived from various sources. Let’s have a look at these one by one:
- The first letter ‘K’ comes from ‘knitting’
- The following ‘ANG’ comes from ‘angora’
- The final ‘OL’ comes from ‘wool’
Put together, we may assume that ‘Kangol’ is an abbreviated form of ‘Knitting angora wool’. This is a reference to the sort of fabric they use for their hats.
The History of the Kangol Company
The Kongal Company initially made hats targeted at soldiers, golfers, workers, etc. After some success, the founders opened another factory nearby in Frizington. With time, they also opened a third location under the direction of Sylvail Meisner, the younger nephew of Jacque. This third factory was focused on other types of headwear, such as motorcycle helmets. It also manufactured seatbelts and was located in Carlisle.
Eventually, Kangol started supplying a lot of berets to the Second World War armed forces. The people who wore this headwear also included the famed Field Marshal Montgomery.
From 2006, Kangol was under the ownership of Sports Direct, who had acquired their brand from August Equity Fund. Several companies bought licenses for selling and manufacturing Kangol products, with some of these names include D2 and Topshop. By August 2009, the official outlet store of the company had closed but Kangol hats were still very much available at various sites in Eastern Europe as well as the United States.
The Growing Popularity of Kangol Hats
With the comfort, quality, and other features, Kangol berets soon became a popular fashion statement during and after the World War ended. There are several big names associated with these hats, including Pierre Cardin and Mary Quant. They worked alongside Kangol during the 1960s and came out with products for the use of the rich and famous. With this backing, even people who would never have worn such a hat–be it felt, wool, or some other fabric–started buying and wearing these accessories.
Entering the World of 80s Fashion
The next phase in the Kongal development saw the hop-hop community adopting this hat style during the 1980s. The Notorious B.I.G, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash, and Slick Rick are just a few names that made Kongal hats very popular in the pop culture industry during that time.
The Kangol Hat in the 1990s
The Kangol hat is also one of those 90s trends that are making a comeback in the new millennium. Its popularity in the 1990s increased due to the characters wearing it in the movie called ‘New Jack City’.
The 90s also saw some very stylish Kangol products being released into the mainstream market. This included the furgora Spotfire, an angora-wool mixture that was worn by Samuel L. Jackson in 1997. The famous American film producer and actor wore the hat while portraying the character Ordell Robbie in ‘Jackie Brown’, the American crime thriller movie.
References to Kangol Hats in Pop Culture
With so many big names donning and enjoying the Kangol hat, there are likely to be several references to this fashion accessory. Here are some examples of such references now:
- Slick Rick has Kangol references in some of his songs, most notably ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘La Di Da Di’.
- The Boogie Boys refer to the brains in their song titled ‘A Fly Girl’
- The characters Nino Brown and the Cash Money Brothers in ‘New Jack City’, wear Kangol hats during most of the movie
- Samuel L. Jackson’s character Ordell Robbie wore a Kangol hat back to from in ‘Jackie Brown’
- De La Soul, a hip hop group, made a reference to Kangol hats in the song named ‘Fallin’’. This was also featured in the movie ‘Judgment Night’’ soundtrack in 1993.
- In the popular show ‘The Office’, the 21st episode of the 6th season shows Michael Scott wearing a Kangol hat
- In the show ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, Tyler James Williams wears a Kangol hat while portraying the character of Chris. These appearances cam in episodes 17 and 19 during the second season of the show.
- Rapper Dana Dane talks about how his straw hat turned into a Kangol hat in the song “Cinderfella Dana Dane”.
- The movie ‘Straight Outta Compton’ has a scene where a New York rapper tells Ice Cube that ‘Wearing a Kangol doesn’t make you LL Cool J!’
- The band ‘N.W.A’ reference Kangol in “If It Ain’t Ruff,” with the lyrics “Against a brother on a tip, with a Kangol”
- Musical artist Gregory Porter is known for wearing a Kangol Summer Spitfire cap on almost every event or occasion. In fact, this headwear is now known as his trademark
- In the sitcom ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, an episode showed Captain Raymond Holt wearing a Kangol hat for comedic effect, which was something out of character for him
- The film ‘Bullet’, released in 1996, depicted Tupac Shakur wearing a Kangol hat.
Reasons why Kangol Hats are Popular
So, why are Kangol hats so evident in the fashion and music industry? Even the Hollywood elite wear them, both on screen and off. If we talk about what fashion accessories are popular, Kangol hats are bound to come up sooner or later.
Most people would say that the main reason for the Kangol hat’s popularity is their unique and hip style. It’s a classic accessory, so it usually looks fresh and new while adding a new dimension to any outfit. Pairing it nicely can also help one stand out in a crowd.
The fabric of Kangol hats is another factor that contributes to its popularity. It provides a smooth and suave appearance that not many other hats can replicate.
Here are the most frequently-asked questions about Kongal hats and their answers.
1. What are some rich and famous people who owned Kangol hats?
A lot of celebrities and other important figures have been seen wearing Kangol hats. Some of these names include Arnold Palmer, Beatles, and Diana, Princess of Wales. The latter wore Kangol headwear in her Vogue magazine appearance in 1983.
In his video clip titled ‘Beautiful’, Eminem also sported the Cotton Twill Army Kangol hat in 2009. In fact, he was rarely seen without this form of hat during that phase of his career.
2. Why do Kangol hats have a kangaroo logo?
Kangol didn’t start off with the kangaroo logo, but they adopted one in 1983. The reason for this is that Americans would ask for the Kangaroo hat when they wanted a Kangol hat, probably because of the similarity in the terms. ‘Kangaroo’ is easier to remember than ‘Kangol’ for many people, so the company compromised by having a kangaroo label to be more easily acquired. However, Kangol hats actually have nothing to do with either kangaroos or Australia.
3. Where were the Kangol hats supplied other than celebrities and the military?
The Kangol Company also supplied hats to the Scout Association and other uniformed organizations. In 1948, they supplied berets to the British Olympic teams.
4. Who owns Kangol?
The company has been under the ownership of Sports Direct since 2006, which is when it bought the brand from August Equity Trust. In 2002, the brand was purchased by Kangol Clothing North America LLC, a Charlotte North Carolina subsidiary of Chesterfield Manufacturing Corp.
However, the global rights of Kongal are in the possession of the Bollman Hat Company. These American hatmakers have held this position since 2002.
5. What kind of hats does the Kangol Clothing Company make?
The Kangol Clothing Company makes several different styles and kinds of hats. The designs include flat caps, berets, and bucket caps. Most of these are made from angora wool, which is a soft and smooth fabric derived from Angora rabbit fur. This is then blended with some synthetic material such as acrylic. As a result, Kangol hats are stylish, unique, soft, and supple. With the addition of the synthetic materials, they are also sturdy and durable.
If you’re on the lookout for fashionable and trendy accessories, a Kangol hat might be the next new thing to consider. They’re comfortable, durable, and make a statement on many occasions. If you’re on a budget, perhaps try setting off your outfit with affordable handbags that look expensive. With a high-quality Kangol hat as well, we may hope to create a fashionable look at events, gatherings, or even just walking down the street.