Autumn’s Must-Have Accessory? This Czech Hat

Autumn’s Must-Have Accessory? This Czech Hat

Czech company Tonak, one of the largest hat manufacturers in the world, recently shuttered its Wenceslas Square shop and relocated to more upmarket Pařiská street digs where it will try to revive its luxury retail business, reports iDnes.

But while sales of its traditional felt hats and berets took a hit last year, the company has seen increased interest in one surprising style: the zmijovka (viper), a traditional Czech hat named for its zig-zag pattern, mostly favored by butchers, tractor drivers, and other village people.

The hat has long been popular in Senegal and Nigeria where it is part of the national costume, but these days it’s also a big hit with hipsters; so much so that Tonak operated its first stand out of the Colours of Ostrava music festival this summer.

In 2016 the viper, alongside their signature beret, was among the brand’s top sellers, with 15,000 of the colorful beanies reportedly being sold in the Czech Republic.

They company has plans to expand into other European countries in an effort to boost their flagging sales.

Operating in the Czech town of Nový Jičín since 1799, Tonak has long been known for its comprehensive assortment of headwear from fezzes to Western hats.

If you want to support the historic Czech hatmaker by sporting a viper this fall the price tag (about 350 CZK) can’t be beat.

Elizabeth Haas

Elizabeth Haas is the editor of She has lived in Prague for 12 years working as a writer and editor of cookbooks and travel guides. Her work has appeared in both Czech and American publications.

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