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Many consider Italy's Borsalino Hat Company the finest hat maker in the world. In business since 1857, the name Borsalino is synonymous with a fedora style hat that is associated with an elegence and style that is purely southern European. Borsalino however makes a wide variety of hats and caps in felt, straw and cloth. Their fastidiousness for detail, great materials and styling is true for their entire line. If you like hats and caps, you may want to introduce yourself to Borsalino.
As you may know, The Village Hat Shop is headquartered in southern California. We have always specialized in straw hats. According to Borsalino, VillageHatShop.com makes the biggest commitment to stocking Borsalino Panamas and other straws in N. America. Even so, our Borsalino stock is always limited. In the tradition of limited edition fine wines, we have created a "Borsalino Email List". We contact those customers who have opted in when our Spring or Fall goods arrive from Italy so that they have the first opportunity to purchase when all sizes are available. If you'd like to be on this list, the opt-in is on the right.
In January 2006, Susan Lee, the VillageHatShop.com buyer and milliner (see her sur la tête line of women's hats at the this site) visited the Borsalino factory. Here is what she wrote about that visit:
"While I was in Torino - Italy, I decided to visit the Borsalino Felt Factory (accompanied by Tony & Carla) in Alessandria, 1 hour outside of Torino. Carla drove us to the Factory that was 5 minutes outside of the city center in the Industrial Zone, where Patrizia Sossai (Customer Service and Sales Controller) took us on a tour of the Factory and introduced us to many of the Employees.
Attached are images from my visit.[Note: We will add Susan's images to the "MAKING HATS" page of our site, accessible from the top navigation bar.]
They were so nice and very hospitable, there was a really nice atmosphere in the factory. I was hoping the images could possibly be used on the Borsalino Brands page and that we could relay to customers that the hats are made with such care and attention.
Each hat is touched by human hands in every step, they use machines that are over 100 years old and hats are made in the age old tradition. Quality is their top priority and seeing the factory in action was a real treat.
They will be celebrating their 150th Birthday next year and they are very excited about it. We saw the Factory in 2 steps: from the old wood bins of rabbit fur being felted into sheets of loose felt, to very end where 1 woman tapes up the boxes that arrive into our stores.
Borsalino hats may be expensive, but there is a reason behind the cost. The Employees are very proud of their work and they have every right to be, each hat is made with such care and attention, it's truly amazing. They have been in business for 149 years, let me repeat 149 years! So if you have a customer interested in a Borsalino hat, make sure they know that the hat they buy is of the utmost quality."