The Shmooze

Hipsters Embrace Hasidic Headwear

By Nathan Burstein

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When Hasidim and hipsters have shared headlines in recent years, it’s most often been because of tensions dividing the two communities. So it’s nice, for a change, to see a story about something the two groups have in common — specifically, their love of a distinctive type of headwear.

The New York Times reports that Williamsburg’s hipster population is now embracing the Borsalino, the brand of black fedora long worn by Hasidic men as a way to identify themselves and each other.

The paper found an unlikely fan of the hat in Theophilus London, a hip-hop musician from Trinidad who has adopted the Borsalino as a regular part of his look. Adidas marketing manager Monika Jonevski adds another demographic twist or two, representing the hat’s growing popularity among female fashionistas.

The article doesn’t say how widespread the fad has become, but it notes that wearing this particular style of hat is not, contrary to popular belief, a centuries-old tradition among Hasidim. While black headgear has long been a part of Jewish dress, the Borsalino was adopted by the Haredim in the early ’60s, when the style was widely popular.

Now that their signature look has been co-opted, will Williamsburg’s Hasidim adopt another type of headgear from mainstream culture? If so, the Shmooze, helpful as always, has a suggestion.


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