Kangol is a clothing company famous for its headwear.
Since 1938, Kangol Hats are the freshest, coolest styles being created. Period.
Seventy-five years ago in a remote corner of Northwest England, Kangol was officially born. Founder Jacques Spreiregen created the name by combining the K from knitting, the ANG from angora, and the OL from wool. Kangol gained notoriety for being the major beret suppliers to the armed forces during World War II, including famously Field Marshal Montgomery, and later by outfitting the English Olympic Team in the 1948 opening ceremonies.
General Montgomery, wearing his iconic Kangol beret
During and after the war, Kangol berets were the height of fashion. In the 1960s, designers Mary Quant and Pierre Cardin worked with the company, whose products graced the heads of the rich and famous, including the Beatles and Arnold Palmer, and later Diana, Princess of Wales. The company also supplied uniformed organizations such as the Scout Association.
The 1950’s saw the introduction of the original seamless cap named the ‘504’ after the reference number of the wooden hat block from which it had been shaped. The 1960’s saw Kangol’s first association with popular musicians and designers by providing headwear to the likes of the Beatles, Mary Quant, Pierre Cardin and Arnold Palmer.
In 1983, the Kangol kangaroo logo was established and almost overnight Kangol hats became ‘the’ fashion accessory taken up by stars including LL Cool J, Madonna, Liam Gallagher, Michael Jordan, Run-DMC, The Notorious B.I.G. and Grandmaster Flash, who has one of his Kangol hats in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame.
The brand was even more popularized by the 1991 movie New Jack City. The release of more consciously stylish products in the 1990s such as the furgora (angora-wool mix) Spitfire, was helped by its presence upon the head of Samuel L. Jackson in 1997. Kevin Eubanks, bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, sports a Kangol beret on an almost nightly basis. In 2009, Eminem wore the Cotton Twill Army Cap Kangol hat on his Beautiful video.
Kangol has been owned by Sports World since 2006, when they acquired the brand from private equity fund August Equity Trust. Licences to manufacture and sell Kangol apparel have been sold to many different companies including D2 and Topshop. The global rights to Kangol hats have been held by American hatmakers Bollman Hat Company since 2002. Hats continue to be made at their sites in Eastern Europe & the United States.
Today Kangol draws upon its rich heritage to define the product handwriting resulting in a creative fusion of British heritage from 1938 combined with its roots at the heart of the hip hop phenomenon of 1983, and mixing it with forward fashion to remain the most influential and famously recognised global headwear brand of all time.