What it means to create a legacy almost always varies from person to person. If you ask Lebron James, he would probably tell you, “more rings.” If you ask Kobayashi, he would probably tell you, “more hot dogs.” But if you asked Don Morgan in the late 1980s, he would probably tell you, “more hats.” Which is an answer that we like to hear as a vintage snapback retailer.
Although it wasn’t his only entrepreneurial endeavor, creating custom snapbacks and strapback hats was Don Morgan’s passion following his purchase of Impressions Headwear in the late ‘80s. But in a world of fashion that was growing new trends every other week, Don needed to find a way to stick out. And stick out he did.
With no internet, equipped with his own unique taste and those around him, Don Morgan began sourcing high quality imported Japanese fabrics to make into retro hats. But these were not just any ordinary fabrics. From crazy colors to funky shades, these fabrics were rare to find on everyday clothes, no less a baseball hat. Despite what people may have said, Don went through with his vision and ended up growing the business to 7 figures in no time at all, quickly recouping his money from the purchase of the hat company.
Assembled right here in Denver, Colorado, the hats included mostly leather strapbacks with literally every color on the rainbow and incredibly unique designs and patterns. Made with great care, precise detail, and most importantly, flair, these hats were a huge hit. What was even better about the hats is that they represented the areas they were coming from and going to. Ski hats from Colorado mountains. Fishing hats from Midwestern states. Yet the fabrics were from Japan! Don Morgan had quite a unique collection on his hands.
How did we find the hats?
About two months ago, during a casual walk on a remote highway east of Denver, we found a box...A box of vintage snapbacks and hats that turned out to be the last remaining Impressions hats on earth…
Just kidding. After moving the vintage snapback and clothing store from Austin to Denver, we found out about Don Morgan’s story through founder Scott Abbey's uncle, who happened to be friends and long-time neighbors with the Morgan family. At the turn of the century, Don sold the business to pursue one of his many other entrepreneurial endeavors. Unfortunately, after the sale of the company, the new owner shortly passed, leaving Don with no one to pay and about 8,000 hats. With no intention to restart his former business, he locked his remaining inventory of 8,000+ hats in a storage unit out in the middle of Wyoming. And there they stayed, style laying in slumber, up until this August when we made a deal with Don and bought the load.
Bob Elder (Left), Don Morgan (Right)
If you’ve been keeping up with us recently, you’ve probably seen several of these vintage snapbacks and hats hit the site. And while we still have many to unveil, we don’t plan on getting a collection of vintage hats like this again.
One of the reasons we love vintage snapbacks and hats like these so much is because they tell a story. Most times, we look at the tag, or what’s on the hat to discern where the hat has been or where it has come from. Other times, we just infer how it came to be. But this time, we were able to find out just how these vintage hats were born and bred - certified authentic. And with a story like Don’s, the hats become that much more special. Now, it’s at the point where you take the pencil in hand and begin creating your own story with one of these hats. Making your own memories. And that story starts now.