Have you ever wondered why hats have pom-poms? Because it's a murky business. Some say it's a throw-back to an ancient form of knitting where you had to gather the loose ends of yarn, others that it was a way of denoting a soldier's company or regiment in Napoleonic times. The story we like best is that it was to stop sailors banging their heads on the beams of ships. Whatever the case, they look great – especially on a hat like the BARTS Profo Beanie. Featuring a fun striped design, the Profo is also made from a 30% wool knit, making it extra toasty on cold days
Isn't it funny how many outdoor brands seem to have started out with one man and a sewing machine? In 1986, the man was Bart Koene and the place was sun-soaked St Tropez. Bart originally knocked up handmade swimming shorts to sell on the beach, but one day a stylish friend was helping him flog his wares when a passing tourist tried to buy her bandana. Bart knew an opportunity when he saw one, and quickly branched out into headwear and other accessories.
Now based in Amsterdam, BARTS has come a long way since ‘86. In fact, the brand offers more than 2,500 products including hats, beachwear and bags. But it’s about quality, not quantity. This is clobber with conscience. BARTS don’t use angora, fur or mohair, and each year they increase their use of recycled and sustainable yarns. The brand insists on a strict code of conduct for its partner factories, and its head office and warehouse in Houthavens is purpose-built to minimise carbon emissions. BARTS employees even get free weekly yoga classes.