Jackman and Kidman
On November 26th the epic film, Australia opens in the US. Almost 450 Akubras were used in the filming of the movie. The hats were designed by milliner, Rosie Boylan, who says,
“With the men’s hats, my role was to create a range of strong character looks that carried the epic Hollywood styling of the film. I took the cinematic vision and worked with Akubra to translate their classic hats into customised pieces.”
And Managing Director Stephen Keir, the fifth generation of Keir to take the helm at the family owned and operated Akubra says,
“We sent fresh, new open crowned hats off and they then had to make them look like they’d been worn through anything from war to years in the outback. Our hats are renowned for their durability so I’m sure ageing them was an art in itself.”
This isn’t Akubra’s Hollywood debut, with past movie credits including The Man from Snowy River, Crocodile Dundee and 3:10 to Yuma.
By the way, do you see Hugh Jackman wearing a riding coat? The Driza-Bone riding coat is an icon of the Australian Outback, where drovers would herd cattle over long distances using stock whips.
One familiar hat in the movie is the Slouch. Also known by Australians as “The Digger”, it is has been worn by the Australian military since 1885. David Morgan has sold the Slouch since 1965. These photos are of extras in the movie.
Wearing a Slouch
Many people wonder why we use the term “bash” when we talk about creasing a hat. The word “bash” comes from Australia where soldiers would receive their hat unshaped. They were required to bash it into the proper military form.
Read a review of the movie, “Australia”
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“Provide a good hat at a decent price, and back it up with good service.” This philosophy has guided The David Morgan Company for over forty years. The good hat is the Akubra, an Australian hat maker since 1874 and an Australian icon.
David and his wife, Dorothy, started selling Akubras in the early 1960s. Their first wholesale hat went to Eddie Bauer who used it for a national print advertising campaign.
From the beginning, the partnership between David Morgan and Akubra has flourished. Both companies are, at the core, family run businesses. Several generations of the Keir family have run Akubra, while David and Dorothy are now passing the business on to their son, Will and daughter, Barbara. Family run businesses have both the advantage of continuity and a stronger relationship with customers.
Forty years in the business also means adaptability. Because of customer demand, the Imperial Quality Akubras are shipped with chin strap hooks. And each hat comes with a lining, also unlike their Australian counterparts. As early as 1996 the company realized the importance of the Internet and created an online presence. And, to accompany the latest Indiana Jones film, David Morgan acquired “The Adventurer”.
Will is confident that Akubras will supply more of the American market in the upcoming years. Despite the changes, the family philosophy of providing a good hat at a good price and backing it up with good service, will never change.
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