Kangol: you can leave your hat on

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

During its 75-year history, Kangol's caps have been on the heads of everyone from squaddies to Princess Diana to LL Cool J. The label just keeps staying ahead of the game, as Emma Akbareian explains

There will always be hats. And designers will always find some inspiration from the past. There were retro-inspired shapes at Moschino and Saint Laurent and more modern interpretations of the trusty sporty baseball cap at Alexander Wang.

Fitting, then, that this year is the 75th anniversary of Kangol. There aren't many brands that can boast a history including outfitting the British army, the royal family and world-famous rappers, but these are just some of highlights in its colourful history.

Founded in 1938, Kangol began life in Cumbria when Jacques Speiregen's berets were worn by soldiers and workers. It is a myth that the brand's name derives from the Kangaroo logo, which actually appeared much later in its history. Kangol gets its name from the combination of the K from knitting, ANG from angora and the OL from wool.

The brand's fame spread when it provided berets for the British army during the Second World War, before going on to outfit the British Olympic team for the 1948 Olympic opening ceremony. Fashion overtook function in the 1950s with designers Mary Quant and Pierre Cardin collaborating with the label – and legions of new fans arrived when the label inked a deal during the 1960s heydey of The Beatles, for the band to wear the headgear, including a special range. Slightly more surprising, but no less helpful, was an appearance in Vogue magazine in 1983 of Princess Diana wearing a Kangol hat. Suddenly women who would never have desired a felt cap started buying them. Not long after, a new generation fell in love with the brand (and possibly stole their mother's hats) once they'd seen rapper LL Cool J wear one at every possible opportunity. That kind of brand devotion these days is usually the result of a financial deal – he just loved the hats.

Sean Leon, Global Marketing Director explains Kangol's enduring appeal: “The brand is ever evolving, creating understated styles which are trend-led without being ostentatious.”

While, he adds crucially, “staying true to its heritage.” The mainline collection for spring/summer reflects this commitment. To celebrate 75 years in the hat making business there is a limited edition anniversary collection of some of the most iconic Kangol styles, including the Spitfire and the 504.

New for the season – and following on in the footsteps of an impressive line of designer collaborations – is the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. The range pops with vibrant colours and plaid patterns plus there's a distinctive graffiti tag design beret. So what's next?

“We're looking forward to creating new history with our upcoming partnerships, the next one being Disney for AW13,” says Leon. Perfect for a label that is still young at heart...

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

    £350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

    Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

    £35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    Internal Project Manager - Business Analyst, Financial Services

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the best known and most pr...

    SQL DBA/Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer
 SQL, C#, VBA, Linux, SQL Se...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment