The popularity of Welsh football has caused a boom in bucket hat sales, with original Spirit of 58 bucket hats changing hands for hundreds of pounds online.
The hats popularized by the Welsh clothing brand have become synonymous with the Wales football team and the Red Wall.
Since die-hard Welsh football fan Tim Williams launched the label in 2010, Spirit of 58 has fitted in perfectly with the reinvention of Welsh international football.
The Bala-based company has created a whole range of clothing related to Welsh football.
However, it is the bucket hat that remains Spirit of 58’s most popular item.
And with Wales qualifying for two European Championships and now a World Cup, the SO58 hats have become like gold dust.
Sold on the company’s website, they changed hands for hundreds of pounds on the eBay auction site.
The original Spirit Of 58 bucket hats, which usually cost under £20, have evolved into many different versions over the years, but this is a testament to Tim’s love of music and The Stone Roses in particular that it exists.
“In the late 80s and 90s, my friends from Bala and I were all in the Roses,” he says. “A group of us went to Spike Island. (Stone Roses drummer) Reni wore a bucket hat and introduced it to the world. He and the Roses had a big influence on a lot of people at the time and the style of clothes they wore.
“We were into the music and the clothes and that stuck with me all these years later. The locals probably looked at us back then and said ‘what the hell do they look like?’ It was a lot of fun going to gigs, getting in the car and driving to gigs in Manchester and Liverpool.
“I started supporting Wrexham when my dad took me to my first game when I was nine, and music, football and fashion have always gone hand in hand.
“But I took a chance with the bobsleigh and luckily for me it worked out.”
Tim says it’s a compliment hats are so popular.
“It’s a compliment in a way, I guess,” he says. “I guess I’ve created a little monster that’s entirely demand-driven.
“That only happens when Wales qualify for a major tournament. It happened at Euro 2016 with hats selling for over £100.
“Obviously there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m trying to let it go over my head. If people are willing to pay, good luck to them.
“It’s now cool to be a Welsh fan, isn’t it.”
Although the original SO58 hats are copied endlessly, Tim is pragmatic and says there will be new stock added to the SO58 website soon, with many new styles to come.
“There are a lot of guys selling bucket hats now. They do what they do, but I’m constantly thinking of new styles of bucket hats, even though it’s hard to keep up with all the requests.
“I’m maintaining the post office in Bala, but I’m not bringing in thousands because I’m keeping things fresh.
People ask me ‘why don’t you order more?’ and I ask them ‘would you have ordered a bucket hat if we had lost on Sunday?’ That’s your one-word answer. I’m a small independent business and I can’t afford to end up with thousands of bobs.
Tim does however have a message for those wishing to get their hands on a Spirit Of 58 bob.
“There will be enough time for the summer holiday season. Like I said, I’m not a national business, I’m not an international business, I’m an independent Welsh business.
“If people are patient, they can get one well in time for the World Cup.”
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