I am privileged to live in the same town as one of the nation’s few traditional custom hat makers, Mr. Gene Baldwin. Craig Rullman, Lynn Woodward and I all proudly wear Baldwin Hats. You should, too. I have no intention of getting a hat anywhere else — but I do want to tip my Baldwin Hat to another craftsman, whose work I admire from afar.
That’d be Gunner Foxx.
I tracked him down after culling through pix of Jason Momoa re: Netflix’s Frontier. I like that dude’s style. I was a Conan 2011 skeptic, and a little snarky about it. The movie is dreck, but it ain’t Momoa’s fault. With the right script, he’d make a fine Conan, even though he ain’t Clint Walker, which was hard to forgive him for back in 2010-11. Regrets. Anyway, Momoa has completely won me over with potent performances in The Red Road and Frontier. He also throws a mean ax…
…And he’s a serious hat guy.
I like these so much that I had to find out who made ’em. Turns out that there’s a Mad Hatter lurking in Hollywood.
Gunner Foxx trained with his grandfather since he was 10 years old. His Grandfather was one of the main Hollywood Hat Makers throughout the 1940s to the late 1970s. When Gunner trained with his grandfather he learned the true art of Hat Making. Gunner uses early 19th century hat making methods and felting techniques that no longer exist in today’s hat industry. Gunner has made character pieces for films, actors, and musicians the last 15 years and now has opened his doors to the public so that the every day joe can have a real handmade hat.
Gandulf Hennig, who directed Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel, had this to say:
“When I first met Gunner in his hat shop in the back of Schaeffer’s Garment Hotel he seemed to be like a man from another time, both in his work and in his personal style. Initially reserved and well mannered, he looked me straight in the eye and shook my hand, and we became friends soon after that. After a while he agreed to let me film him, and watching him making his hats with total focus and dedication reminded me of alchemy — like in an old secret science, there’s steam, fire, and mercury, all kinds of strange and interesting scents and chemical reactions, and it just amazes me to watch how over the course of several days a mere piece of felt turns into a timeless piece of art and beauty in his hands.
“Gunner has made hats for some great artists and famous movie stars, but he seems strangely unfazed by the caliber of many of his clients. I’ve seen him work for celebrities, and I’ve seen him make hats for guys who had so save up the money to get a hat made by Gunner, and the public profile of his customers doesn’t seem to make a difference to him. When I asked him about that he just shrugged and said that he doesn’t want anybody’s fame or image get in the way of making the right hat for that person…”
Gunner Foxx’s hats are rock-and-roll, and more stylized than I would wear. I’m sticking happily with my Baldwin Hats, thank you very much. And I can dirty ’em up just fine on my own..
Nevertheless, I am glad there is a Gunner Foxx in the world, and seeing his hats on the streets of La-La Land makes the world a better place.