The upscale hat and cap chain, Laird Hatters, has opened a store on 28 Cornmarket in Oxford. Having designed headwear for such famous celebrities as Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga, Kiera Knightly and Tom Hardy, the shop is a welcome addition to the city centre.
The sixth in the chain of Laird Hatters stores was ready to open in November when the second lockdown hit the UK. The store opened briefly over Christmas before closing due to the national lockdown of all non-essential stores. “The lockdowns sound terrible and it was slightly heart-breaking but we plan to be here a long time and have signed a long lease – but hopefully this slightly stuttered start will be a drop in the ocean,” said the store’s co-owner Alex Torun-Shaw.
Alex designs the hats for his store along with his wife Zofia Torun-Shaw. The pair, who met at university, also run four headwear shops in London and one in Cambridge. Both say that they had been looking for a suitable venue to open a store in Oxford for quite a while. “Cambridge has done really well, and Oxford is beautiful, so we decided to open here,” elaborated Alex.
The new Laird Hatters shop is located in a 15th-century building that used to be three separate shops. Refurbished in the 17th and 19th centuries, the building is owned by Jesus College. At various times in history, it housed a draper’s shop and tea rooms.
The building’s history goes well with the ethos behind the Laird Hatters brand. “We are a heritage brand, we do lots of television, film, and magazine work,” Alex says.
“We are one of the few manufacturers of headwear left in the UK.”
“The Laird Hatters headwear combines English and Scottish heritage with more modern designs,” says a writer for STYLESPRING. “The hats feature rich colours and high-quality craftsmanship. They are slick and bold. Plus, they are always made from materials sourced in Britain.”
Since its founding in 2009, Laird Hatters has been a hit with celebrities. Lady Gaga wore one of the brand’s headpieces to the Video Music Awards. Laird Hatters has also recently made a bespoke headpiece for the American popstar Doja Cat. The company’s headwear has also appeared in popular magazines including British Vogue and GQ.
“Hats and caps have always been very beautiful things, but there are not very many hat makers, or hatters, in Europe anymore,” explains Alex. “When we first started, they were very traditional, using drab colours, but now we use velvet finishes and suedes to give them more vibrancy.”