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Newsboy: the hat worn by workers and paperboys

"Whether it's London or New York, the Newsboy hat awakens in everyone the imagination of a a chaotic megalopolis in full industrial development at the end of the 19th century. The newsboy hat is also recalled by several films like Once Upon a Time in America, as well as the more recent British success Peaky Blinders.

We took inspiration from the past, namely the cloche hat, the newsboy hat and the coppola hat, to create a capsule collection of iconic and vintage hats in denim cotton recycled from old jeans. 

In this post we dig into the history of the fascinating newsboy hat, a model that takes its name from the people who used it.

strilloni-con-giornali

History of Newsboy hat

Did you know why hats like the Newsboy are so spread among men and often recall an old Anglo-Saxon or American background?

Well, it’s simple. It all goes back to Queen Elizabeth I who in 1571, in order to stimulate the wool trade, forced all males over six years of age to wear woolen hats. This obligation was in force with the exception of men and boys of the upper middle class and nobles.

Thus, the use of a solid and strong woolen hat was widespread among the English and Irish working class. The law was then repealed about 26 years after its entry into force, but in spite of that this fashion introduced by force remained stable and went through the centuries, until it arrived in America with the great migrations from the old continent, where it was totally adopted by the American working class of the 20th century.

cappello-newsboy

The newsboy cap features

The Newsboy cap was born in North America in the late 1800s and it was very popular in Europe. Usually the Newsboy cap has a crown composed of 6 or 8 segments stopped and joined at the center by a button covered with the same fabric of the hat. Soft and worn often saggy on one side, the Newsboy has a stiff brim made of a windlass.  

The Newsboy used by the workers was made of strong fabrics, such as fairly coarse cotton cloths, but also in wool to shelter from the winter cold.

Many people mistake it for a coppola for the rounded bill and the brim, but - even though both hats were born more or less in the same years - the Newsboy differs from the Coppola precisely for the bill and the greater softness and width of the crown on the head.

 

The newsboy among the working class

11 uomini a pranzo

The newsboy hat was named after the people who wore it: the newsboys. They were kids, also known as paperboys or in Italian as ""strilloni"", who sold newspapers on the street. 

However, this particular wedge hat was in vogue in general among all the men at the turn of the 19th and early 20th century, especially among workers, dock and railway workers and in general men of low social extraction.

In this regard, the photo ""11 men at lunch"" is very famous, where the workers of a building site dangled their feet hundreds of meters high during the construction of a skyscraper in New York in 1932. Here of the 11 workers in the iconic photo, 8 were wearing the newsboy cap.

With all these inspirations from the world of workwear, we couldn't resist the temptation and wanted to create our own version of the newsboy hat at Rifò. That's why we made it with a recycled denim canvas, the same one used for the Avant-garde jacket, also inspired by workwear. This is how Rifò's recycled jeans Newsboy Alex hat was born, discover it in our online shop.

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