Borsalino has been an ambassador for Italian savoir faire around the world since 1857. The hats are still made in Alessandria and reflect both an industrial approach and the spirit of craftsmanship. To make a felt hat, over 50 operations must be performed by hand, and the work takes seven weeks. For some hand-woven straw hats, as much as six months are required from start to finish.

Giuseppe Borsalino is credited with the invention of the hat shape. The story of how that happened is worth telling.

In the mid-19th century, the bowler hat was the hat men wore in formal settings. During the Risorgimento uprising of 1869, Cristiano Lobbia, a member of Parliament was attacked in Florence, then the Italian capital and seat of the national Parliament. He received a blow to his head, denting his bowler hat. This accidental crease (“the gutter”) became a distinctive look and style, which was renamed Lobbia in Italy (also known as the homburg) in honour of the member of Parliament, became a firm fashion item. However, early 20th century manners dictated that hats should be raised to a lady, and the homburg didn’t allow for a quick and easy movement. And so Giuseppe Borsalino decided to modify its shape: he pinched the front sides with his fingers, creating two dents that form a hold on the hat. The outcome is the perfect combination of curves and lines, a revolutionary shape that became a symbol of Italian design around the world.

Origin: Italy

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