Kangol hats—the ones with the kangaroo logo—are sported by the rich and famous including Brad Pitt, Bill Murray, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Kid Rock, Madonna, Miley Cyrus and Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackson has taken to Kickstarter to help the American economy with “Motherfunder,” an initiative to bring 70 new hat-making machines to the US—in addition to 10 machines already shipped. The goal is to increase the quality of Kangol hats and create new jobs in the US.
The brand was born in Britain but came to America in 1868 with the Bollman Hat Co., the nation’s oldest hat-maker. Bollman acquired the rights to produce Kangol headwear in 2001 but the previous owner had moved all manufacturing to China in an effort to stay competitive. That factory was purchased in 2006 by a Chinese hat-maker who decided to exit due to rising labor costs in Southern China.
Enter Kangol. Today, Bollman is making several Kangol straw, wool felt and fur styles in its factory in Pennsylvania, but it hasn’t been producing the knitted and blocked hats—its most iconic styles.
The original Wool 504 Kangol cap was introduced in 1954 and named for the block number it’s made on. It requires requires special machinery built in the 1930s to create the knit. And with Motherfunder, the 504 will be “Made In the USA” for the very first time.
“These are the same machines we are looking for your help to move today,” notes the Kickstarter campaign. “These special machines were each customized to knit, link, tease, shear, and block the Kangol 504 style. Other styles will follow with sufficient funding.”
One of the 10 machines shipped has already arrived in the US, but there are another 70 waiting and the total cost will reach more than $650,000.
In addition to being America’s oldest hat-maker, Bollman is also the founding member of American Made Matters, an association of US manufacturers focused on American products.
With 58 days left, 58 backers have so far pledged $8,567 of the $100,000 goal.
“Motherfunder” is the quintessential marketing in today’s world—a celebrity Kangol fan wields his mojo on a crowdsourced platform to bring jobs and style to the US.