The weather conditions in the Australian outdoors can be rather harsh, especially for those who spend long hours outside. They need protection against the scorching heat and hats have been known to provide proper protection. In Australia, Akubra hats enjoy an iconic status across the country. These hats are available in multiple colors, designs, and styles, and you can also customize the same if you want. Simple colors like fawn, brown, grey, and black are some of the colors in which you can find the hats.
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Importance of Akubra hats in rural Australia
The Akubra hat, characterized by its center indentation and broad brim, is not just the top hat brand but is considered to be one of the most recognized Australian brands. They have always been an important component of the outdoor clothing worn by farmers, grazers, horsemen, and hunters. For over 130 years, the Akubra hats have become an inseparable element of rural life. In fact, the name, Akubra, is believed to be an Australian Aboriginal term meaning head covering.
For example, when a hunter is in the middle of the stark Australian outback with scarce resources, the Akubra hat is used for several other activities such as holding certain items, watering the dogs, and at times, also fanning fires. The country collections and the experimental western styles have a remarkable influence on the wearer, and you will look good when you wear these hats. You can use any type of solid western combination to wear with these hats.
Though these hats still retain their cultural significance for rural Australians, they can now be seen in the cities as well. The Akubra hats are now one of the most popular fashion accessories and have gained a huge following among the city folks too.
History of Akubra hats
The origin of the hat dates back to 1874 when Benjamin Dunkerley started a hat-making venture in Hobart, Tasmania. His main achievement as a hatter was to develop a machine that enabled him to separate the hair tip from the rabbit fur so that the under-fur could be used in making the hat. In the early 1900s, he shifted his business to a suburb in Sydney. Thus started the historic journey of the Akubra hats and they continue to forge ahead even today. There are several hats with hat clips that hold the hat in place.
In the 1950s, the company expanded its range of hats after it obtained the license to manufacture Stetson hats in Australia. Again, in 1974 due to extensive growth in business, it relocated to Kempsey in NSW. The company has seen massive growth in popularity over the years and what started as a practical and protective item of clothing for the rugged rural Australian, the Akubra hat has now acquired a cult-like following among the fashionistas.
Akubra’s long-standing association with the Australian armed forces
During World War I, Akubra became one of the two companies that manufactured the slouch hat worn by the Australian and New Zealand Corps soldiers. This is because the fur once cleaned is added to a revolving cone where hot water is sprayed over it. This process binds the fibers together making it one of the strongest fabrics available anywhere in the world. Since then, Akubra has maintained a long-lasting association with the buyers due to the soft rabbit skin layers with which the hats are made, and they can be a find winter get-up for many.
Akubra hats have become one of the iconic products that Australians take immense pride in. They have shown their usefulness in the rugged terrain of the outback, among the armed forces, and also have succeeded in creating waves in the world of fashion.