New Trend at the Kentucky Derby: Recycling
Each year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of people pour into Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, to see the Kentucky Derby. Millions of people throughout the world will watch the race on television. It is often dubbed, “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. This event is perhaps the most prestigious and well-known in US horse racing.
In addition to the beautiful horses, the event is typically associated with two things: mint juleps, and large, stylish hats. While our friends in the United Kingdom have several events throughout their social calendar that afford women the opportunity to wear hats, we Americans have but very few, if any, other than the Kentucky Derby. Even though the origin of hat-wearing at the Kentucky Derby has humble roots (to shield one from the hot sun), women have seized upon this practicality, and turned it into an opportunity to make a fashion statement.
In 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain visited the Kentucky Derby, and wore a beautiful hat in lime green with fuchsia accents. Derby fans and royal watchers alike were thrilled with the opportunity to see the Queen in person, and she didn’t disappoint. Her Majesty was elegant and graceful, and her appearance was the highlight of the Derby that year.
Fast forward to 2009. The global economy is in a recession, and times are difficult for people everywhere. Despite this, many American women are not willing to sacrifice the opportunity to wear a beautiful hat. In an article from Mainstreet.com, many women have taken to recycling their hats, borrowing them from friends, or purchasing them from second-hand shops. A beautiful hat can often run into price range of several hundred dollars or more, and recycling is a great way to save some money.
To assist those who wanted to spruce up their hats for a minimal amount of money, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft enlisted the help of a local designer, Vicky Hoskinson, who provided materials and assistance to anyone who wanted a new look for their existing hats. Her prices were reasonable-up to $70.00, and Hoskinson’s services ranged from complete redesign to the addition of a few new feathers.
Despite the economic situation, not all women are recycling. Some have purchased cheaper hats at lower-end department stores, while others have not cut back at all. Angie Schultz, a Kentucky hat designer, whose hats are often in the high-price range has stated that “new clients have made up for those who have skipped buying hats this year”. Whether women are cutting back, or sparing no expense, one thing is certain-the glamour and tradition of hats at the Kentucky Derby will continue.
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Tagged Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Fashion, Hats, Horse Racing, United States of America.