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Hat

  • Place of origin:

    Jamaica (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1980s (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Machine-knitted wool

  • Museum number:

    T.174-1994

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This crocheted wool tam (hat) formed part of an outfit put together by Derek Falconer of Crazy Clothes for the exhibition Streetstyle, From Sidewalk to Catwalk, 1940 to Tomorrow held at the V&A in 1994-5. The complete outfit consisted of the hat; an army surplus camouflage jacket; a cotton shirt; a printed cotton t-shirt; army surplus wool trousers; a nylon belt; a terracotta, coconut and rubber bong; an elastic towelling sweatband and Ellesse leather boots. It reflected a style of dress worn by UK Rastafarians in the 1970s.

The Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica in the 1930s. Working-class Jamaicans were inspired by the anti-colonial teachings of Marcus Garvey, who sought an ‘Africa for the Africans’, and by the coronation of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari Makonnen). Followers of the movement rejected the trappings of western modernity. They wore clothes made of natural fibres and allowed their hair to form dreadlocks.

The Streetstyle outfit represented the ‘classic’ style of Rastafari at the time of its widest influence in Britain. By the 1970s Rastafarianism had become a fundamental force in the lives of many young black men and women in Britain. It encouraged them to draw strength from their African heritage in an often hostile environment.

Physical description

Machine-knitted crochet wool hat (tam) in black, green, yellow and red.

Place of Origin

Jamaica (possibly, made)

Date

1980s (made)

Materials and Techniques

Machine-knitted wool

Object history note

Registered File number 1994/516, Streetstyle exhibition 1994-1995, in the exhibition it was part of an outfit called 'Rasta UK 1970s' (includes the jacket T.74-1994, the T-shirt T.75-1994, the shirt T.76-1994, the trousers T.77-1994, the belt T.78-1994, the sweatband T.79-1994, the boots T.80-1994 and the pipes/bong T.175:1 to 3-1994).

Historical context note

This hat were purchased from Crazy Clothes Connection, a vintage clothing shop in London's Notting Hill neighbourhood. Crazy Clothes Connection was opened in the mid-1990s by Derek Falconer and his daughter Esther. The shop specialises in women’s and men’s clothing and accessories from the 1920s to the 1970s.

'Rasta UK 1970s. Black, green, yellow and red crochet wool tam; army surplus camouflage jacket; cotton shirt; printed cotton t-shirt; army surplus wool trousers; nylon belt; terracotta coconut and rubber bong; elastic towelling sweatband; leather boots, Ellesse
The dreads Rasta is more militant and this is reflected in his dress. The surplus jacket with camouflage print has overt militaristic connections. The t-shirt design features flags of African nations and African nationals to promote the desire for the repatriation of all their peoples. Ganga, otherwise known as cannabis, is an integral part of Rastafarian culture, hence the bong in his pocket.
Compiled by Derek Falconer, Crazy Clothes.'

Descriptive line

Hat, machine-knitted wool tam, possibly Jamaica, 1980s

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Described in the exhibition publication, part of an outfit called 'Rasta UK 1970s'.
Surfers, Soulies, Skinheads & Skaters : Subcultural Style from the Forties to the Nineties

Materials

Wool yarn

Techniques

Machine knitted

Categories

Rastafarian; Black History; Hats & headwear; Men's clothes; Fashion; Streetstyle exhibition 1994

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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