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Makins....

Lafont

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I'm sure they've been mentioned here before, but....

If you hurry to downtown Cleveland you might make the moving sale of Mike the Hatter, which is relocating, unfortunately, to the nondescript suburb of Broadview Heights. I saw a stack of fedoras with the Makins label yet lining with the Capas logo. I asked about this discrepancy, as I didn't think the two makers are connected, and the guy said the Makins hats come unlined so they added the Capas linings. One of the things I've always appreciated about Makins fedoras is their very light feel and consistent, soft texture - guess that means unlined. He mentioned yes - the lining could be removed (what about needle holes?). Anyway, they're asking $100, which is pretty low for a new Makins in a regular hat shop.

I came to appreciate Makins my first year in Cleveland when our Halle's department store and a certain boutique sold them. I almost made it to a Makins office/shop in mid-town Manhattan the last time I was there but not quite. I know not many are made every year.
 

Lafont

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I wrote that to someone about a week ago... Today I got out of control and marched right into Mike the Hatter and walked out with one of these Makins hats I've been pining over since about 1973 - in the few stores where I've seen them! I knew the stupid Capas lining would have to be removed - that it distracted from a true work of art - but I had wondered if stiching holes would spoil the hat minus lining. The guy who added all those linings told me no - they're glued in - and they'd take it out for whatever one I'd pay for. I tried on all the Makins hats they had and finally came up with just the felt fedora type I'd so long wanted and, of course, had the lining removed. One of the main guys said he totally would expect me to want that as he's seen over the years I'm somewhat of a purist. He even gave me a bunch of colorful feathers, which I like.

Then I had the nerve to go just down the street to the far smaller but still competitive men's hat store to show the fedora off to the lady, whom I'm friendly with. She was perhaps kinda sour grapes (can you blame her?), however, in that she put down the hat - kept saying "You paid xxxx for that?" She said she'd get Makins catalogs, etc. but doesn't order them as they're so expensive for her shop. I noticed that her husband, who died a few years ago, let the hat makes there get somewhat cheaper over the years. She said what the Mike's guy called "velour" really isn't, nor is it a fur felt. She also kept saying "they must have had these for a while" and expressed her strong dismay that Mike's would ever add Capas linings to these hats.

Anyway, the hat was greatly reduced and I love it (though certainly don't "need" it, of course....). The Makins website, however, shows fedoras in their recent catalogs that are similar and they do refer to them as some as "velour" and "fur felt." The lady still showed some feeling, anyway, in that she gave me some of those spongy strips to put under the inner band to make the hat snugger, which I can use.... Anyway, I'm finally the proud owner of a true Makins fedora, and they don't make all that many since beginning in 1974.
 

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