By Chris Precise
Let’s all have a moment of silence for Josh Clements’ very first hat, a red and black Chicago Bulls cap, taken out when it was least expected.
It was K.I.A. during a trip to Six Flags. They say “The Whip” ride is fun, but not for a certain hat. It flew off and into freedom, only to be run over by another car during the ride. Though upset, Clements won a replacement hat in a common booth game at the same Six Flags later in time.
The replacement… wasn’t exactly the same.
It was a brilliant and authentic American-made sombrero. He dubs it his most unique hat.
With the self-proclaimed title of “Hipster of Snapbacks,” 16-year-old Clements has a knack for hats so powerful he harbors a desire to create the world’s greatest hat collection. Though he says he has no inspiration, it most likely comes from that very first Chicago Bulls hat, which he borrowed from his father. Even better, the enthusiasm could come from his compulsion to match them with his outfits. A fashionista of hats, indeed.
A 40-hat collection is quite impressive; three fitted caps, 7 beanies, the special sombrero and 30 of them being snapbacks, hence the “Hipster of Snapback” nickname. Clements hates white hats, for they gather too much dust and look terrible, keeps damaged hats for they’re still hats, and deems snapback his favorite kind.
Of all the hats in his collection, Clements’ OBEY snapback must have the best story behind it. It was stolen during his second week of freshman year by another student with an elaborate web of lies, trying to prove it was his own. Clements, of course, knew he was lying as the hat was snatched right in front of his own eyes. He also recognized the hat by the minuscule red threads that poked out from the OBEY patch on the front and darker marks on the inside. Grudgingly, the thief gave back his hat. And thus, his hat was saved by sweat stains.
His second hat was a turquoise and purple Charlotte Hornet hat from the Villa Sneaker Store. He calls it “a rare collectable”. A Vancouver Grizzlies hat, purchased from City Blue, caught my eye, and I asked why he bought it. Clements laughed and said: “It just looks cool.” With neon aqua lightning on a black background and eye-catching red text, it’s sure to seize anyone’s attention. It was $5 off when he was wrongly accused of stealing the snapback. The hat was never stolen, just misplaced in the store.
As for his Diamond Supply hat, it was purchased on a whim at Zumiez. That urge everyone gets when they see an enticing item in a window passing a store is what tempted him to buy a $42 dollar hat. He claims he bought it for its red and black color, which matches Mighty Writers’ official colors.
Clements’ Toronto hat has a backstory that I couldn’t quite pry from him. It’s his lucky hat, and when asked what made it so lucky, he said it was lucky with the ladies. When I continued to pry, he immediately become introverted and chuckled. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, leaving me suspicious of his answer of it just working its luck at parties, the studio where he works on songs and in times of uncertainty.
Well, how many hats do you have?