Theophilus London Makes The Orthodox Jew Look “Alt”?

10 years ago view-show 2,286,504


Theophilus London just swagging on swag street.  Making that Orthodox jew wave go alternative.  Has the New York Times fashion section giving him quotables and everything.  I don’t know how Shyne is going to feel about this.  He is keeping it official tissue right now in Jerusalem, and Theophilus just rolls up and gets all the shine.  Just grand standing on his whole aura.  This is actually a great story on culture.  I recommend that you read the whole thing.

SPOTTING a Borsalino, a black wide-brimmed felt fedora, in the traditionally Jewish section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is no strange thing. What was surprising was the wearer: Theophilus London, a hip-hop artist from Trinidad. “This one is from the Jewish store,” Mr. London said, motioning toward southern Williamsburg, where the haredi still outnumber the hipsters.

Called either a “black hat” or Borsalino, for the style’s most famous and expensive brand, the simple hat is most commonly associated with ultra-Orthodox non-Hasidic Jews, as well as members of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect, the Hasidic group based in Crown Heights.

But in recent months, the quasi-religious hat has not only popped up on the other side of Williamsburg, where skinny jeans and canvas sneakers still rule, but also in Cole Haan advertisements as a secular fashion accessory.

“I like wearing it because I know it’s genuine,” said Monika Jonevski, a marketing manager at Adidas who first saw one in the window of a hatter on the Lower East Side. “It’s been around in Jewish shops for ages.”

Mr. London didn’t seek his out, either. He was in Williamsburg recording a cover of the Nat King Cole song “Calypso Blues” when he stumbled across Bencraft Hatters, an old-school hattery on Broadway that offers more than 100 styles of felt hats by Borsalino, Stetson, Puertofino and Luigi Baroni. He bought a Puertofino for $120. “I liked the shape of it,” Mr. London said.

Since then, it’s become a part of his urban uniform. He wears it to pick up dinner at his local roti shop, to parties at the Top of the Standard, and even onstage.