Captn’ Crop – The Hat Maker
“Wow, dude, I have never seen a top hat as beautiful as that one… it’s perfect. What is it?”
Whenever you hear somebody ask that question at one of the cooler venues or festivals around Berlin these days you can be sure that the answer is CAPT’N CROP – formerly known as ‘Crop Cosecha’.
We arrive at Capt’n Crops’ store on a sunny late summer’s afternoon in September. The interior of the store is completely made out of wood, hand-made and reminiscent of a sail boat.
I remember buying my very own Crop Cosecha top hat on a Christmas market in Berlin’s katerholzig, and I recall somebody telling me these hats were handcrafted by a Chilean who lives in Berlin.
One of the first things I find out upon arrival is that the man behind the brand is not Chilean at all but Bavarian. What strange blossoms hearsay can have, I think to myself as we sit down in front of the store’s sun-flooded window.
Captn Crop never learnt the art of hat-making in a traditional way.
29-year-old Moritz Wolfgruber is the man behind the brand, born in the very German town of Bad Reichenhall, and he designs and crafts these unique pieces in his small ark that is located in Berlin’s district of Neukölln. He is a friendly and pleasant host, and comes across quite as the artist I had expected. His attitude is humble, his voice calm. I notice he doesn’t seem to be a friend of many words.
Moritz never learned the artisanry of hat making in the traditional way. Having rejected to follow the traditional handcraft of hat making his art is autodidactic – everything he knows he taught himself over years of crafting the most unique hats you can find around the capital of cool.
Each of his pieces tells a story as it is assembled by unique vintage cloth or fabric, may it be a pair of old jeans, your great-grandmother’s carpet, the neighbors’ WWII living room curtains, or simply a seat cover ripped from an old chair Moritz might have found abandoned in the streets of Berlin.