Evolution of Headwear in Streetwear

Evolution of Headwear in Streetwear

Before hats became such an inseparable entity of a complete outfit, they indeed were used to as armoury and it was only much later that the silhouette developed into an art form in fashion, embraced for its ability to draw attention to one’s face. 



If in this day our population was being closely monitored by a malignant species of a foreign planet, they would think that we have established a self-defense mechanism that involved protective headgear. It would unlikely occur to them that the ubiquity of headwear today is in fact, purely a fashion statement. Before hats became such an inseparable entity of a complete outfit, they indeed were used to as armoury and it was only much later that the silhouette developed into an art form in fashion, embraced for its ability to draw attention to one’s face. Today, the variations of headwear have escalated into an ever-expansible list and right on top are these styles that we know of as the streetwear bests.

The talk of headwear in street fashion can hardly take place without the mention of snapbacks. The first noticeable upsurge of the snapback trend was product of territorial expressions in urban Los Angeles and New York. Music collectives N.W.A, and Mobb Deep both began to take to the adjustable cap and rocked them to rep their own towns. As it is in fashion, the snapback fad disappeared just as quickly as it came rushing in, something accounted for by the incoming trend of fitted headwear. Then came the influence of popular R&B artists, Chris Brown and Tyga who decided to hand the snapback a lifeline with their song ‘Snapbacks Back’ and a viral music video which was three and a half minutes of the men spewing catchy lyrics in their old snapbacks.

That was all it took for retailers’ orders to come flooding in for the style and the snapback was back. This time, however, the structured cap came back to stay and its permanence evident when rappers Mac Miller and Kanye West casted the cap in their videos. Loved for its wearability, the snapback is a style that fits nearly all head shapes and sizes with the flexibility of an adjustable snap on the back – hence the name.

Next to the snapback’s recognisable name are strapbacks, known for the adjustable strap backportion typically made of either leather or polyband. Here in Major Drop, a lot of our strapbacks come in the form of Polo caps made famous by Polo Ralph Lauren.

While strapbacks come a little short in structure when compared to their snapback cousin, the flatter forehead renders it a much better fit on those who prefer a rugged, sporty look - a fact reinforced by its constant appearance amongst baseball players. We heard that this particular style also used to play very well with chaves who put together an outift that included their trackies, Air Max 95s and of course, strapbacks. Chaves and baseball pitchers aside, television will tell you to wear your strapbacks low like a pusher. Our personal opinion on the strapback and the ideal way to have it on is with the brim bent. That’s a little more shape, a little more swag.

Say camp hats, volley hats and it would get you nowhere near the attention of the glorious 5-panel name that this style goes by. Literally made with five parts combined over the arc of your head, the 5-panel took this generation the way handbags took every woman in the world. Though it’s been around since the 80’s, the 5-panel only really saw the limelight when Tyler, The Creator of Odd Future fame – as if that introduction was really necessary – rocked his collection of Supreme 5-panel caps in every public appearance.

On the contrary of being just hip hop uniform, the cap finds itself donning the wardrobe of umpteen skateboarders because of its fit. 5-panels are very much designed to hug the dome and that trait is an indispensable one when skaters take a fall – it does a fantastic job at saving their bruised egos the added pain of a cap on the ground.

With caps and brims out of the way, the one style that is distinctively different is undoubtedly, the beanie. Sometimes known as a skully, beanies are essentially winterwear and for that reason, it is most commonly made of wool to retain heat when the snowstorm hits. Nonetheless, the fact that the beanie was brought from places where the cold season actually existed into the year long summer that is Malaysia, insinuates that the beanie is appreciated for more than its utility.

Having the advantage of a malleable material, the beanie can be worn in more than one way making it one of the styles that evade the  gender-specific stereotypes.

That leads us to the final style of headwear that we found to be wildly intriguing. The bucket hat is varied even in its own category, with the safari boonie, bell bucket hats and the quintessential regular bucket hats.

Since the debut of LL Cool J’s red Kangol bucket hat in the 80’s, the style has lived on in the conducive era of hip hop and withstood the test of time as it is still rocked by stars like Schoolboy Q today. While it was catapulted into the limelight by a largely male-dominated industry, girls too have gotten on the bucket hat bandwagon and discovered how well the silhouette complements their feminine features. Something we like to call the kawaii factor.  

With these five styles broken down and explained, we’re not about to leave you hanging on that thread of curiousity. Come on down to Major Drop to experience the tangible headwear from international brands like Benny Gold, Odd Future, Civil, Pestle & Mortar Clothing, Publish, Rebel8, The Hundreds and Crooks & Castles.

For the entire month of October, Major Drop goes headstrong by giving you 10% OFF all headwear and socks with the code MDHEADSTRONG. The headwear section is right here and while you’re at that, get a quick rundown on the topic from this video starring our in-house human boombox.

Words by Rueann Dass
Photos courtesy of ComplexeBayPopCrushRaised By Wolves, The HundredsYARD, and MajorDrop.com
Video by Razlan Yusof
Hosted by Jean

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