By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images courtesy of Imperial Headware
BOURBON, MO – “There are people in the world that truly believe ‘a hat is just a hat,’” remarked Dave Shaffer, Director of Marketing for Imperial Headwear.
You can forgive Shaffer for taking umbrage to the uninformed notion that hats are wholly interchangeable, since the Bourbon, Missouri based Imperial Headwear company has been in the business of making them for almost a hundred years. Imperial’s century of experience demonstrates hats are much more than just simple tools to shade your noggin.
Founded in 1916, Imperial has always had the goal of making the best products possible. Shaffer said they pioneered the first adjustable cap last century and are now the first hat-maker to bring cooling technology to golf headwear.
“People who think a hat is just a hat are the same ones who don’t care how their clothes fit or about their general appearance,” Shaffer elaborated. “We at Imperial believe a hat is a garment just like a shirt or a pair of pants.”
“Hats that fit well feel better, make you more confident and provide satisfaction to the wearer. Everything we do when we design a hat has this in mind – how can we make the hat fit better, what fabric works well on a certain style and how can we decorate the cap tastefully to recognize the logo but also complement the hat at the same time.”
Shaffer’s right. A hat really is a crucial part of your golf wardrobe (do you see any pros who don’t wear one these days?). Think of that the next time you spend ten minutes trying to pick out the right hat for whatever golf round you’re about to embark upon. I know from experience, it’s often harder to make that call than choosing a golf shirt to go with your pants.
Further, Imperial recently made hat selection easier by partnering with Coolcore, who are material innovators in the textile industry. Shaffer explains: “We wanted to use the best cooling technology on the market and Coolcore is definitely the leader in chemical-free technology. Coolcore fabrics have been tested by the Hohenstein Institute in Germany, which is a third party leading textile testing firm.”
After comparing Coolcore to other performance fabrics, Hohenstein awarded the company the prestigious “Innovative Technology for Cooling Power” award. No other brand has received this status yet.
What does it mean to you? Imperial’s hats keep your head cooler. A cooler head equals less sweat, which means the hat will stay looking nicer longer. Durability in a hat is important.
Coolcore aided in allowing Imperial to bring performance fabrics to the hat-making industry, which according to Shaffer, has lagged somewhat behind the rest of apparel manufacturers in introducing new innovations for consumers.
“Performance golf shirts have been the standard for probably a couple decades now. But only recently have sales in performance headwear surpassed their cotton counterparts. Consumers are now demanding functionality from their headwear. A hat that is lighter, more comfortable and has cooling power is definitely the future of golf headwear as we know it,” Shaffer said.
It’s terrific a company that has been around as long as Imperial is still looking to the long-term rather than resting on past accomplishments. Another wave of the future for headwear is customization. A glance at Imperial’s website shows that you can already order hats in virtually limitless combinations of colors and styles.
But what if you want to design your own hat?
“For the past 99 years, Imperial has really been a wholesale company. But with the recent launch of our new website (ImperialHats.com), we are now offering our products direct to consumers online. This is a huge change for Imperial as a company and as a brand looking forward, there will be customization options – such as monogramming – that will be offered through the website,” Shaffer said.
In the meantime, Shaffer asks that folks call (800-950-1916) for other custom requests. There is no minimum, but pricing does fluctuate based on quantity.
For our part, we loved our Imperial hats. We’ve actually seen them for years at many golf shops and are proud to say we’ve used them quite a bit. While it’s hard to say whether the Coolcore fabrics really kept our heads cooler, there’s no doubt that sweat was reduced (as hinted at above).
In the unrelentingly hot east coast summers, it’s a common sight to see sweat lines on hats. We used our Imperial hats for several rounds in very hot weather and they came through admirably.
No sweat lines and the hats still look great. They’ll certainly last longer.
As a side note, we asked Shaffer about the possibility of washing hats. “I do not encourage washing caps because it’s always better to buy a new one. But if you want to wash a cap, I would recommend the top rack of the dishwasher and do not use dishwashing detergent.”
He continues, “Our new Coolcore caps should do very well being washed, however. The cooling technology does not degrade over time or with washing and our visors are made from a plastic-based material, not cardboard.”
There you have it. Imperial now offers performance benefits to go along with its vast selection, customization and superior quality. Look for them next time you’re in the golf shop – and you’ll no doubt see that a hat isn’t just a hat.
Introducing Imperial's Tailgate Collection
In addition to looking sharp on the golf course, you can also take Imperial style to the big game, too.
The company just introduced its Tailgate Collection, which features state designed hats with creative style names. The states included in the collection are: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Each hat features the state outline with a defining characteristic of each state.
Tailgate Collection styles include preppy cotton hats, as well as Imperial's signature Tour Visors and Oxford Bucket hats. All styles are in stock and available online – and possibly in your local golf shop, too.
"Our Tailgate Collection is a state pride themed line of headwear," Shaffer added. "Anybody who wants to show their loyalty on game day, at a party, or any other day of the week will enjoy this new collection of preppy caps. It's a perfect way to show your team spirit this season."
The Imperial Powered by Coolcore® collection consists of nine headwear styles, over 50 SKU's, and ranges from caps and visors to small fit and sun protection hats.
About Coolcore: Coolcore, the global leader in chemical-free cooling fabrics, has partnerships to develop fabrics for consumer brands throughout the world. The patented, chemical-free Coolcore materials deliver three distinct functions - wicking, moisture circulation and regulated evaporation - going far beyond traditional moisture-management textiles by reducing surface fabric temperature up to 30 percent.
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