Who Decided the Pom-pom was a Good Idea? | Red Hat Factory

Who Decided the Pom-pom was a Good Idea?

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen Published on October 26, 2021 in News Reel Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

Since childhood, I’ve seen the pom-pom as a completely natural addition to any winter beanie. Now that I’ve been delving into the history of beanies and their making for years, I’ve begun questioning the seemingly useless, dangling ball of thread.

When researching the history of the pom-pom, a wide variety of sources pop up. Historically armies have worn them into battle. To what end? Scaring their enemies? “Hey, yeah, I thought we’d put this ball of thread on top of our attire. It will rattle the bones of our enemies.”

tl;dr We made some Southlanders with pom-poms.

Red beanie with pom-pom on top of mountain.
Our modded Southlander on the Pulpit Rock.

A pom-pom has been used to denote all kinds of rank, including marital status. The latter reminds me of a weird concept the Norwegian Tourist Union came up with, where people were supposed to state their “dating availability” by the color of their beanie. Red: Taken. Green… Yeah, you get it. Traffic lights and all.

Anyway.

At the root of all these sources we find a little statuette claimed to represent the norse god Freyr, and, you guessed it, it’s wearing a pom-pom. Even the gods wear it! And good for us, as a Scandinavian brand, we can claim it for our own.

Pom-pom on a red beanie
Claiming the pom-pom for our own!

Pom-poms against depression

There’s a nice little article overviewing the use of pom-poms in various historical and cultural contexts by Danil Zhiltsov. One thing that stood out to me was that while talking about the pom-pom on a traditional Scottish hat, Danil says that “they enjoyed their biggest rise in popularity during the Great Depression of the 1930s.”

It makes total sense. Who needs anti-depressants when you can just put a pom-pom on your headgear? And look at it — there’s a pattern here. It’s on the war attire as well. Conclusion: If you head into great darkness, wear a pom-pom to cheer you up.

When we were in the southern Norwegian mountains shooting some photos of our own take on the pom-pom beanie, I noticed some sort of soothing effect. As the ball rolled around on my head a slight massage occurred. Maybe this was the original idea, lost in time.

Hand knit beanie with pom-pom in the mountains.
Peering out towards the great depression in the mountains — also called a valley.

Willem Dafoe’s pom-pom — Steve Zissou and Life Aquatic

Now, let’s reel this article back in.

We’ve long drawn inspiration from Life Aquatic and Steve Zissou. One day we looked at this image, and Willem Dafoe’s pom-pom embellished beanie. And we thought to ourselves, maybe this ridiculous dangling embellishment from our childhood could be kinda cool.

Red beanie Life Aquatic

So long story short (just kidding, we’ve already made it long), we made a limited run of our Southlanders modded with pom-poms.

Written by Benjamin Antoni Andersen Published on October 26, 2021 in News Reel Designer and instigator of Red Hat Factory, constantly hungry for mountainous adventures.

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