In the 21st century, some fashion trends absolutely deserve to be argued against. Khakis with butt-flaps? Nope. Jeans with clear knee pads? Pointless. Sandals with latex socks? Burn them with fire. But would you expect people to lose their crap over a simple top hat?
What’s wrong with my hat?
Apparently, people were extremely offended by the first top hat that was ever created. In fact, the poor guy wore it first got fined due to the wild events that followed its unveiling. But how much harm could a simple hat do? As it turns out, it can cause a total riot…literally.
John Hetherington was the creator of the first top hat, and he was no stranger to finer fashion. His occupation was a haberdasher, which (other than being super fun to say) requires an understanding of sewing, fashion, and other elements of style. With his knowledge, Hetherington decided to tackle his own undertaking: designing a new hat. But by no fault of his own, it went terribly, terribly wrong.
It’s not that deep, you guys
Now, Hetherington wasn’t looking to create anything crazy. He simply designed and constructed a tall, cylindrical hat that, across the years, would become a symbol of wealth. But at its starting point? It had a pretty unsuccessful kickstart. For whatever reason, his hat was viewed as a threat by greater society. He had to take an insane amount of hate and loathing to keep his prize alive.
After creating a killer new hat, you’d want to wear it out on the town, right? That’s exactly what Hetherington decided to do. However, his gorgeous, sleek creation wasn’t nearly as appreciated as he’d hoped it would be. In fact, simply wearing his hat caused an unfortunate (and somewhat ridiculous) amount of damage.
Well, that took an unexpected turn
According to the reports of that day, Hetherington’s hat intimidated people to the point of fainting. The Huddersfield Chronicle accused the silk hat of being “calculated to frighten people” due to it’s “tall structure” and “shiny lustre.” As if it couldn’t get any more bogus, the apparently horrifying fashion choice resulted in a small riot resulting in a number of medical emergencies.
At the sight of Hetherington’s hat, women passed out from intimidation (or admiration, maybe?), children screamed and cried from fear, and one child was thrown from their horse and broke their arm. Though it seems like a major overreaction to a simple piece of clothing, poor Hetherington was charged with breaching the peace and had to cough up about $550 in reparations. While the top hat eventually became a staple in every wealthy individual’s closet, Hetherington was surely too traumatized to wear his creation again!