It’s More Than Just a Hat

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Any time Cam Newton wears something new and wild and crazy, my phone inevitably blows up with texts from family and friends wanting to get my take. First, it was the Versace pants, then the hats, and now the romper that is not really a romper. (Oh, the romper.) So I am going to put this to rest for everyone once and for all. I love it all! I have met him twice, and I absolutely love his flair. I love his uniqueness and individuality. And I love that he likes to have fun, and that it brings attention to our great team and wonderful city! Now I am not going to be wearing Versace pants or a male romper any time soon (and dear God, I hope you are not either), but I do now have a hat…

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From the first time I saw his crazy hats, I was completely smitten. I wanted to know who made them, where, what the story was, and so on. I have been into fashion for 20+ years, but had never really gotten interested in proper hats, until now. So here is the jist: the hat maker is Alberto Hernandez for the incredible hat making company Nick Fouquet, and they are located in Venice, CA. So I figured, why not get on a plane and go get one? And about 3 months ago, I did. The experience was incredible. I walked into the small store wearing my Panthers polo, hoping to start a conversation. It did. I met Alberto. I then spent the next 2 hours with Ali, designing a custom straw hat which I just received this week. We talked about design, LA, Charlotte, and the Panthers. They charged my phone in the back for me since it was dead after the 2 hour (7 mile!) Uber ride, and even ran it up front to me when it rang during the process. Just an incredible experience I will never forget.

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When Nick Fouquet makes a hat, he oftentimes gives it a name. So to stay true to that theme, I’m going to name mine too. I got it made in light pink straw to shield the Charlotte summer sun and finished it with teal accents. Cam inspired it. So the obvious choice is “The Pink Panther”. Starting today, I will wear it with pride, knowing that I will receive plenty of odd looks, but that it will also start many conversations with complete strangers. But most importantly, every time I put it on, I will be reminded of Cam, the Panthers, Nick Fouquet, and my trip to LA. And that it’s okay to live the unique, fun, and interesting life that you want to live.

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Have a great weekend. -Benj

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