Like the tie or the watch, the cap has become an essential accessory in the streetwear universe. For over 100 years, the cap has been present on many heads. But what is the history of this headgear ?
Headgear is a very old fashion accessory. In prehistoric times, it is possible that a man from the Epigravetian culture (about 18,000 years ago) used a squirrel tail as a headdress. A bone from the caudal vertebra of this animal was found near the head of an Arene Candide skeleton in Italy. A Cro-Magnon man from Gabillou wore an anorak which would be completed by a hood. But these are not true and certain traces.
In antiquity, the oldest trace of headgear is the pilos. This kind of cap made of leather or wool was worn at that time to indicate a certain social rank. You should know that headgear was originally used to designate authority. They were also used in religion as a symbol of the elevation of the soul to heaven. As a social mark, nobles liked to use it to show their rank.
If the vast majority of headgear was made of felt or straw, the first were made of leather or natural fibers, such as linen or wool.
The civilian headgear that is closest to the cap is the beret. French symbol par excellence, it is of Basque origin and would go back to the Middle Ages. It would be inspired by the Arab fez, made according to the same process. In the military field, it is obviously the shako that is the most similar. It was introduced in many armies at the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1571, in England, a law was enacted to prohibit the wearing of headgear by all men. Only children under the age of 6 and aristocrats were exempt from this rule. Those who did not comply were fined 17 pence. Finally, over the centuries, the cap became a symbol of struggle for certain social classes. The bourgeois and the aristocrats having turned rather to hats, of better quality. Let's now take a leap in time to approach the cap in more detail.
In 1895, the cap is already beginning to be talked about. The Labour politician, who was the first president of the Labour party in England, posed with a cap for his campaign poster in 1895. This caused a scandal, which led to him being booed in the House of Commons.
From this moment, the wearing of the cap will definitely evolve.
It is considered that the cap began to be worn regularly in the early 19th century. It is associated with many work uniforms of the time: railwayman and worker for example. This is why this accessory was a symbol of the working class of the time. Train conductors, drivers and newspaper sellers all wore it whenever they went out. It is still necessary to wait to see it land in the fashion.
The cap was made of tweed, a flexible woolen fabric. Sherlock Holmes' cap (you know this detective character), for example, is made of a very neat beige tweed. The cap, if we take into account that of the military sector, is therefore traditionally associated with a professional world. The French national police force has been using a flat cap since 1984.
But this headgear is also called Irish cap. It is then called gavroche, which is the emblem of the Parisian titi. If you don't know, this expression refers to a child of Paris from a working class background. The expression Poulbot cap is also used to refer to the gavroche, in reference to the Parisian titis represented in the illustrations of Francisque Poulbot. In the United Kingdom, Germany and even in Belgium, this cap became the sign of recognition of schoolchildren, and especially of students.
The gavroche, which is characterized by a short visor like a crescent and a slightly domed shape, was born at the end of the 19th century, both in Europe and in North America. You will see that the fact of having arrived to the United States will play a decisive role on the history of the cap. In the US, the gavroche is associated with young newsboys. It was also worn by the working class because it was associated with a symbol of revolt.
It is with the craze for a particular sport that the cap will finally be found on all heads. Baseball in the 1930s was the gateway to the world of fashion for the accessory.
It is easily recognized by its domed visor and the Major League Baseball team crest. The popularity of this cap grew during the era of Babe Ruth, considered the greatest baseball player of all time, from 1910 to 1930. In fact, it is an integral part of a baseball player's equipment today. In the beginning, players were free to choose the equipment they wanted to place on their heads. One of the reasons for this was to protect them from the sun when they had to catch the ball.
The style of baseball caps is derived from the one worn by Sherlock Holmes. The first models for this sport were made of wool with a leather visor.
In 1901, a logo appeared on the cap for the first time. The Detroit Tigers embroidered an orange tiger running on the front of the cap. Today, fans of the sport take great pride in wearing the colors of the teams they support. In 1903, the visor was attached more securely to the models. This was extended in the caps developed in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1934, one of the most popular brands today, New Era, supplied the Cleveland Indians team.
The crown, the top part of the accessory, took a higher shape in the 1940s. The shape of the crown has not changed since the 1950s, but the way it is used and looked at is different now.
A decade later, agricultural groups realized the advertising potential of the cap, in the same way that baseball teams put their logos on the front. The advertising caps, also called trucker, will then know a great success in the years 1970 and 1980.
Its development growing, it did not need more for the accessory to arrive in fashion, and take a place in the wardrobe. The television and the cinema of the 1980's will definitely mark the definitive passage of the cap from an accessory worn at work and symbol of a working class, to that of a fashion essential. Stars like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Tom Selleck in Magnum, or the famous Mac Gyver played a role in the transformation of the cap. On the female side, an icon of the time in France, Brigitte Bardot, wears it very well.
Who says incursion in fashion says necessarily incursion in streetwear. You will have noticed, the cap could not resist the trend of street fashion, and that of hip-hop in particular. The 1980's turning point for the cap parallels that of rap, with artists like Dr. Dre, and later Tupac. As for baseball, we find New Era, once again well placed.
There are several types of streetwear caps :
Baseball caps are fitted. These are the models that are said with sizes. The fitted as we understand it today corresponds to the 5950 model of the New Era brand.
It was designed specifically for MLB baseball teams. In 1978, it is the flagship cap of the American brand: flat visor and adjusted to the half centimeter. Designed in 1954 for baseball, it is notably the cap that will leave the world of sports to join the world of fashion. This cap was a fairly revolutionary product for its time, with improved comfort. This type of product is intended for people who appreciate the custom-made, in order to wear something adjusted to their head size.
In terms of evolution, this type of cap has a point. It features a plastic snap that can be detached at the back to adjust the cap's tightness as desired. This one is also characterized by a flat visor. It is this model that will be strongly used by the world of rap and hip-hop. It has also found its place in the streetwear world.
This type of streetwear cap is very similar to the previous snapback model. However, there is a major difference between the two. Instead of having the snap on the back, which clips on, to adjust the size of the cap, it is a different element that allows to adjust. It is a strap, usually leather, which sometimes can be a scratch.
The cap without visor is a rather particular type. It is also called docker's cap for the simple reason that it does not have a visor. This type of headgear again comes from the working class.
Dockers, or stevedores in French, are the port workers who work to load and unload ships. You can imagine that a Breton worker, working on a ship in the cold, appreciates the presence of a small cap with the wind and humidity. We understand better the connection with the cap thanks to this example.
The cap without visor will then leave the ports to reach the working class in general in the 1950s. Anglo-American rock and punk bands, such as Mike Nesmith of The Monkeys, will take up this look in the 1960s, which will finally popularize it. It will then find itself in the hands of teenagers, but will never leave our heads.
The docker hat is characterized by a wide brim and a small rounded cap. We notice its reverse side because the working hours gave heat to the marine workers. Skateboarders and hip-hop groups have also seized it. This has allowed this type of cap to become an essential accessory. Sober or with several patterns, it is now fully back on the scene.
This cap without visor, you can find it on Tenshi. If you can choose a classic cotton cap, the Hitsuji model is made of a quality cotton/fleece mix. The Tono, Welcome or Yuza visorless caps are the ones that will allow you to display a neat little pattern.
We offer you a wide range of caps thanks to a unique collection. Tenshi has chosen to offer you a diversified range of caps, allowing you to meet every desire. If you like phrases on the front of your cap, check out the No New Friends or Pojiti looks.
If you're a sporty person, the Kobe cap should be part of your collection. If you like to protect yourself from the sun while hiking in the mountains and still look good, you should choose the Yama and Nichi models.
Describing our entire collection here is not enough. The best way for you to find the perfect cap is to look at our products and choose the one that suits you.