How Chav Hats Became A Playground Craze

Playground crazes ship !

They can elevate a quite ordinary product into the stratosphere.

Manufacturers love them, marketers try to create them.

But what captures the imagination of a bunch of unpredictable school kids.  How does it actually work ?

I’m going to look at a couple of real examples of cults that have swept through our school yard.

Neither is a craze specifically ‘created’ for the playground by the marketers, like Gogos Crazy Bones or the highly swappable Pokemon cards.

These are organic crazes that have risen up for their own reasons. They come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, one cheap the other very expensive.

We’ll look at the exclusive example next time.

But first; Chav Hats.

You must have seen them; striped neon with long strings on either side, pretty unpleasant and probably made of nylon ?

These hats became the must-have head-gear of the  winter at our school this year. But where did they come from ?

The key to their success is a character called Dappy, from hip hop group N-Dubz. Dappy has popularized a host of odd head-gear including tea cosy wooly styles, as well as these Peruvian hats which started popping up in street stalls all over the country.

Dappy has influence with kids, something that was even noticed by the government. At one point he was being used to promote the government’s anti-bullying campaign. Unfortunately he sent an aggressive text to a fan, after she criticized him on a radio show and he was dropped.

Still, kids want to be like Dappy and his hats are now playground must-haves.

Why have they succeeded where other pop star inspired fads have failed ?

Well, we have just experienced the coldest winter for 30 years and parents are grateful to get their kids wearing hats of any kind.

These neon versions have been readily available on any street corner and  they are cheap…just a couple of quid.

Parents may hate them aesthetically but there are not many good reasons to say no when they are cheap and functional.

So here are the key elements to this type of fad,

  • Ubiquitous
  • Cheap
  • Meets a need
  • Populist
  • Mass market
  • Celebrity led

Next time we will see a list which is almost exactly the opposite when we talk about the rise of  a cult sweatshirt with serious social currency.


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