Lock & Co.: The Oldest Hat Shop in the World Still Dressing and Turning Heads

By CTH Editors

2 months ago

Beautiful British hats, for life


Lock & Co. is an entry in our Great British Brands 2024 book. 

Lock & Co.: Great British Brand 2024

Female model wearing blue dress and Lock & Co. hat

‘Imagine a proper, traditional British gentleman: wearing a Savile Row suit, shoes from Northampton and probably one of our hats. Our look is distinctly classic, very London.

We had a record year in 2023 and a phenomenal Ascot, with huge demand for ladies’ bespoke and men’s top hats. We also sold a lot of beanies, baseball caps and bucket hats. Winter caps always sell because males of all ages want to look like David Beckham and there’s the popularity of Peaky Blinders and films like Kingsman. We’ve always worked with the Bond films, which influence the hat market enormously, recently formalising our partnership with 007. Now you can buy the same hat that Sean Connery wears in the first three movies. To celebrate the coronation, we made a Highgrove panama to raise money for the King’s Foundation and that was a record-breaking bestseller.

We’ve been asked for Father Christmas hats before but we eschew cheap, synthetic gimmicks. But in 2023 we thought we’d make the Christmas hat to end all Christmas hats, something the big man himself would like, and did a limited edition of 30 in Dupion silk. They sold out in 20 hours, so we’ll do another limited-edition this year.

We’re also creating a panama to raise money for Brain Tumour Research and one for QEST, promoting young craftspeople, plus three baseball caps for Highgrove, a Goldfinger anniversary hat and a Vesper hat. Though we’ll have our women’s ready-to-wear collection, we’ll also have a beautiful couture collection for Ascot as people’s desire to have something unique is on the rise.

As a traditional business we’d never employ technology to supplement or replace people, though we might use tech for trying on hats online. However, ultimately with headwear, there’s no substitute for that one-to-one service and expertise that we’re proud to offer.’

Ben Dalrymple, Managing Director

Female model wearing Lock & Co. trilby hat

Five Proudest Moments

1.When Admiral Lord Nelson visited Lock & Co. for the first time in 1800 to buy his signature bicorne complete with eyeshade. His last recorded visit was in September 1805.

2. When nobleman Edward Coke commissioned Lock & Co. to design a hat for his gamekeepers in 1849. Lock commissioned its reliable supplier, Thomas Bowler & Son, to make it and the result is the now-iconic Coke hat – or Bowler hat.

3. When Sir Winston Churchill wore a Lock & Co. silk top hat on his wedding day in 1908. He returned to Lock & Co. in 1911 to order his trademark Cambridge and Homburg hats.

4. When Lock & Co. designed the fitments for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation crown in 1953 in conjunction with crown jeweller Garrard – it was seen by over 20 million people worldwide.

5. Launching the official partnership with 007 in 2022, formally establishing a long-standing relationship.

What I’ve Learnt

  • Treat your teams incredibly well, and they will try incredibly hard.
  • The experience is as valuable as the product for our customers – we sell more than just hats – we sell memories.
  • The demand for quality is higher than ever. People prefer to buy once, very well, and we look after Lock hats for life.

LOCK & CO.

6, St. James’s Street, London SW1A 1EF

+44 (0)20 7930 8874

lockhatters.com 

@lockhatters