Hey, Quick Question: Why Were There So Many Hats on the Fall 2024 Runways?

Welcome to our column, "Hey, Quick Question," where we investigate seemingly random happenings in the fashion and beauty industries.

By the time the Fall 2024 season wrapped in Paris, there was one trend that felt completely inescapable, from city to city and show to show — one that felt old-school and specific, not exactly groundbreaking but surprisingly nonetheless: hats. Hats everywhere.

It began in New York, at Tommy Hilfiger's New York City-themed show, which had plenty of logo-stamped baseball caps and striped beanies, and known hat enthusiast Anna Sui's runway, which introduced many a statement paperboy cap.

Tommy Hilfiger Fall 2024 (L) and Anna Sui Fall 2024 (R).<p>Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight</p>
Tommy Hilfiger Fall 2024 (L) and Anna Sui Fall 2024 (R).

Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight

One impetus for this emerging trend could be the ongoing resurgence of Y2K fashions, wherein statement headwear infiltrated the mainstream. (Think back to the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, where Britney Spears wore a leather conductor cap and Christina Aguilera opted for a slanted white flat cap.) These accessories were a look-defining staple, just as important as clothing for style expression.

Altuzarra turned back the clock even further with pillbox, cloche and driver hats inspired by the royal fashions of England.

<em>Altuzarra Fall 2024 (L) and Bora Aksu Fall 2024 (R).</em><p>Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight</p>
Altuzarra Fall 2024 (L) and Bora Aksu Fall 2024 (R).

Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight

Hats continued to be a recurring theme in Milan, with Prada showing an assortment of textured kepi hats (scrunched pink velvet that emulated a brain or feathered-out hair that looked like an extra tall 'do) made to look like extensions of the models' heads. Then, in Paris, Chanel took its shot at reinventing a classic vacation staple — the sun hat — by exaggerating the proportions (majorly oversized, floppy, folded-back) and endorsing the return of newsboy caps.

Prada Fall 2024 (L) and Chanel Fall 2024 (R).<p>Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight</p>
Prada Fall 2024 (L) and Chanel Fall 2024 (R).

Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight

This Fall 2024 runway trend may seem somewhat out of left field, but Trendalytics argues the writing has been on the wall: The retail analytics platform reports that newsboy caps have seen a 219% increase in market adoption and a 17% increase in average weekly searches over the last year.

Though hats never disappeared from fashion, they've been on the backburner when we talk about "it" accessories. They've still had their big pop-culture moments, though, namely at the hand of Beyoncé — first with the extra-wide-brimmed, flat-top black hat from 2016's "Formation" music video, then with the "Renaissance" disco cowboy hat and, most recently, with the early visuals for her upcoming country era.

<em>Willy Chavarria Fall 2024 (L) and Edward Crutchley Fall 2024 (R).</em><p>Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight</p>
Willy Chavarria Fall 2024 (L) and Edward Crutchley Fall 2024 (R).

Photos: Launchmetrics Spotlight

According to @databutmakeitfashion on Instagram, the popularity of cowboy hats increased by 19% online after Beyoncé released the artwork for her song, "Texas Hold 'Em," where she dons a black Western-style hat. For those that want to get the look, you'll be pleased to learn it's seeped into the autumn runways at Willy Chavarria and Edward Crutchley, further contributing to the impending hat-filled season ahead of us.

Libby Page, the market director at Net-a-Porter, characterizes the "proliferation of unique and interesting conversation-starting hats" as being "for fashion over utility."

Rickie De Sole, Nordstrom's women's fashion director, says this trend "is about expressing your personality by adding an unexpected topper to any outfit," highlighting Chanel's floppy hats and Prada's "fanciful feathered caps" as stand-outs.

Chanel Fall 2024.<p>Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight</p>
Chanel Fall 2024.

Photo: Launchmetrics Spotlight

This proliferation of headwear is also intriguing from a business standpoint: Economic uncertainties have driven many designers towards more commercial design decisions in recent seasons. As an entry-level purchase for shoppers, accessories are more important than ever for a brand's bottom line; investing in this trend could be a prudent financial strategy as well, particularly if buyers are on board.

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