Top it Off

When it comes to being in vogue, like everything else, hats come and go. A look at why Goorin Bros. has remained relevant for more than a century.

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  • Photographed by
    Tracy Gitnick

Hats are more than something to wear on your head. They are tied to history. Just ask the folks at Goorin Bros., which has been around for over 100 years. Did you know, for example, that the Panama hat is actually from Ecuador? When President Roosevelt went to check out the Panama Canal, he was wearing a hat he’d picked up in Ecuador. Despite its misleading name, the style skyrocketed in popularity. And how about the effect that President Kennedy had on the industry? He was not a fan of hats and bucked tradition by going bareheaded. Sales took a serious nosedive. The trend continued during the turbulent ‘60s when people didn’t wear hats at all.

Goorin Bros., which opened its fifth LA-based store in Studio City in November, has quite a history of its own. The 30-store chain was started by a Pittsburgh man in 1895 and passed down from generation to generation. Now, four generations later, it is still family-owned.

The Studio City boutique has a stylish and colorful vibe. Customers can browse at the accessory bar, which offers items like feathers and embellished leather bands. The store manager, or “shopkeeper” as they call him, says the boulevard location has been fantastic. “The demographic is perfect and there is always someone new coming in,” observes August Sargenti.

Prices start at around $50 and can reach several hundred dollars. The top-of-the-line Heritage Collection offers handmade creations like the classic fedora, the flapper-style cloche and the eight-panel Gatsby.

Many items are unisex. Take the wide rim fedora with the unfinished rim. It started out as a traditional men’s hat, but the company created a floppier, less-structured version that is popular with women.  Changing with the times, it seems, is a secret to Goorin’s success.

Goorin Bros., 12192 Ventura Blvd., Studio City,