Racing Season Retail Hats

Over the last decade, retailers nationwide have transformed the months around the Melbourne Cup into an unofficial ‘racing season’, which is always celebrated in style. From bottomless brunches at your favourite breakfast joint to in-store promotions, this cultural shift has led to a huge marketing opportunity for enterprising brands across a variety of sectors.

This year - while Melbourne is still in lockdown - has also rapidly shifted the way we shop… and consequently, how we ship! Here at boxfox, we’ve put together the stores of our favourite designs specifically tailored for milliners and clothing designers in order to get you (and your clients) racing season ready.

A history of the hat box

The hat box emerged as a necessity back in the Victorian era, when no outfit - for man or woman, alike - was complete without a piece of headgear.

As the Industrial Revolution progressed and upper-class citizens were able to travel on commercial railways, milliners developed the ‘hat tin’, a metal version of the classic hatbox, which would preserve the painstakingly delicate ruffles, silks and velours throughout a train journey.

Over time, hat boxes became a staple in the Edwardian traveller’s continental kit, covered in stickers from train stations, hotels and destinations across Europe. This extended popularity also led to an increased size of the typical design to include space for a hat brush — often a customised milliner’s marketing tool, much like a contemporary designer dust bag. These brushes were used to preserve the nap of silk hats and remove any light pollution they might accrue on the head of the wearer.

Today, these bulky, antique hatboxes have largely gone out of fashion — except to keep collectibles in, of course!

Contemporary hat boxes are typically used for their eponymous purpose: the shipping and storage of playful, daring and downright statement hats. Our sturdy and customisable designs are an excellent choice to conceal the hidden gem of a millinery art piece therein.

Stripped down suitcases - behind the simple shirt box

Today, it seems that every luxury menswear retailer has harnessed the power of a custom shirt box to display the fabric and fit of the classic button-down. But with the boom of online retail - and its ever-increasing relevance - almost every retailer is looking to have the perfect shipping box on hand.

Our modern shirt boxes are actually based on an 1897 invention: the ‘suitcase’. Although suitcases are ubiquitous today, it was only in the 1920s that both the word and the object became a household fixture. Still, these items looked extremely different to those which we wheel about in 2021.

Suitcases first came in the form of steamer trunks, with in-built compartments for all forms of pre-washed and ironed pieces of clothing, including fabric-encased ‘shirt boxes’.

By the 1930s, there was even a fashion for packaging collars and cuffs separately — all of which could be detached and interchanged between multiple corresponding shirt pieces. Of course, by WWII, this style was no longer economical or sustainable, and from the 1950s onwards, we see very few collar boxes in circulation.

But shirt boxes have persisted to this day… although most are discarded upon the receipt of a delightful package. Here at boxfox, our simple and classic designs are sure to deliver your pieces safe and sound, perfectly complementing the highly anticipated garments inside them.