There are hats, toppers, lids—and then, there are Brims. Founded in 2016 by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers Archie Clay III (Tuskegee) and Taj Crutch (Troy University), Brims’ collection of limited-edition fedoras and caps is made in America and made to “inspire confidence in everyday life.”
“We wanted to be American-made and focus on finding the right quality products so we could actually be a part of that process,” says Clay. “You want to make sure that you have attention to detail...it’s going to be hard to do that when you’re trying to produce a high-quality product overseas. So it was definitely important for us to make sure that the product that we curated was in the States so that we could have easy access, but also easy communication.”
Though neither Clay nor Crutch has been formally trained as a designer, they’ve each done extensive research on hat construction, color theory and fabrics—and frankly, they both just have great style.
“For me, I like bright colors—a whole bunch of crazy colors—whereas Archie likes toned-down colors,” says Crutch. “So we kind of balance each other out.”
That balance is evident in their latest release, the gorgeous “Rotten Peach” (pictured above and below). The unisex style defies convention with a boucle-textured band and millennial-appealing monochromatic palette of blush and dusty coral that looks equally at home on heads of any gender. And at a reasonable $225 per Brim, they fall far under the pricepoint of comparable brands on the market.
“We consider ourselves a luxury brand, but an affordable luxury brand,” says Clay. “You’re getting that $500 quality of hat...these are going to last you a long time.”
Luxurius touches include silk linings in their fedoras, and premium suedes and felts for their blocking. “We don’t just look at it from the standpoint of how much money we can make; it’s all about the passion and the vision. But most importantly, will our consumer be confident wearing this hat every day,” Clay adds. “We want to make people feel good.”
And while the feature has yet to launch on their site, the duo will even work with clients to create their own Brim; an expansion of the ethos of exclusivity they’ve created with their limited-edition designs. Generally, only two ready-to-wear styles are available at any given time—and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
If that’s not impetus enough to shop Brims, the duo recently announced that a portion of proceeds from every hat sold will be donated to both mental health and cancer research, causes that have each affected Clay and Crutch’s families. As their site indicates, family is at the core of their growing success and is evident in the red robin feather artfully included in each of their designs.
The Red Robin feather in our logo is a representation of the love, support, and encouragement our families give us. This positivity constantly reminds us of our infinite capabilities. Thus, we decided to infuse that energy into our handcrafted brims and spread it through the world.
While we can’t recommend Brims enough this holiday season, if you’re hoping to shop from a broader selection of hats this season, we’ve included a few more black-owned suggestions below.
Based in Harlem, N.Y., Flamekeepers Hat Club has something for everyone in the family (or framily), with high-end styles ranging from applejacks to boaters, and everything in between.
While Eye Hunee makes a range of hats, we low-key fell in love with their leather crowns (currently on sale for $29.99 to $99.99). Frankly, we can’t think of a better way to let someone know they are king or queen of your heart.
Loza Tam has been keeping us cute and protected for years now with their turbans and wraps, and while they may not be the only satin-lined caps in the game, they are certainly the most stylish, wowing us with new prints and fabrics.
When we heard John Legend’s father had a hat line, we weren’t sure what to expect. But like his son, this man is serious about his craft, offering a unique hybrid silhouette in a variety of fabrics as the trademark style of Popz Topz. Think of it as fedora on the top, cap in front, and fun to wear all over.
As of today, we are one week from Christmas (and 8 days from Kwanzaa). Have you finished shopping yet? If not, we’ve got more ideas to come!