Stetson by Josh Lord

Two American Style Icons Combine their Aesthetics to Create Wearable Art

Hat maker Stetson provided a cool canvas for New York City tattooer Josh Lord to adorn a new line of caps.

“Stetson has a long history in helping men achieve their personal style,” says Stetson Art Director TJ McCoy. “This collaboration ensures that we will continue to stay relevant by being something new, something fresh, and really helping highlight the fact that we’re interested in the art and culture of tattoos. The collaboration with Josh Lord is especially fascinating because I think in a lot of ways, tattooing plays on the same idea of finding THE particular style THAT is right for men or women, and then helping people achieve a look.”

“When Stetson approached me to collaborate, I was excited about the concept of how art lays on a hat similar to the way that tattoos sit on a body,” Lord says. “Everything you design tattoo-wise has to take into consideration how the art flows with the contortions of the body and the hat was a new challenge for me.”

“In so many ways hat making mirrors tattooing,” says McCoy. “A tattooer has an understanding of dimension. Also in the same way that Josh approaches a client and figures out the perfect piece for him or her, a hatter approaches a customer by figuring out what face shape they have and what kind of look they’re going for.”

The similarities extend to the hand-craftsmanship that goes both into creating a hat or a tattoo. “I feel like especially for our generation, people think that things are made by pressing a button but at Stetson a lot of our process still involves a lot of handwork,” McCoy says. “Stetson hats go through over 36 hand-applied steps.”

Before one of those steps occurred Lord researched imagery, took apart a few hats to see how the material flowed, and drew and drew and drew. “Working with my hands has always been something that I’ve loved,” Lord says. “Craftsmanship has been more important to me than art. Knowing the craft that goes into hat making made me want to show through my art and effort that I completely respect and am in awe of the hat maker. This was my very first haberdashery gig and I thought for a long time ‘about the right imagery’. In the end I was inspired by this idea of a predator.” He decked out black and white trilby hats in a snake coiled around feathers. His third offering is a golden cockroach atop a green cap. “To me the cockroach represents the tattooing industry because it was a seedy trade that grew from the streets but we made good, eventually. We’re golden now—but we’re still cockroaches.”

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