To most people, cashmere is king, but real textile connoisseurs know that that title rightfully belongs to vicuña, one of the world’s rarest and most valuable materials. Because of its price, it’s the kind of thing you’d usually see in a bespoke topcoat or a really great blazer. In other words, it’s not exactly casual. But that didn’t stop Varsity Headwear from creating what is arguably the world’s most expensive baseball cap from this bolden fleece.
Founded in 2013 and based in Norway, Varsity Headwear sprung from brothers Alex and Sebastian Adams’s interest in making the perfect cap. The label fashions all of its designs from premium materials to promote longevity and sustainability, but its latest product takes that practice to a new level. The project took six months to develop, in part because of how difficult vicuña can be to work with. And because it was created as a way to introduce new customers to the brand’s philosophy, the resulting hat doesn’t have a specific MSRP. (Still, interested parties should know Varsity Headwear won’t part with it for less than $10,000.)
If that ssems like an astronomical cost, consider that the material is made by gathering hairs from its namesake llama, a creature that only lives in the high Andes region. The animals cannot be commercially farmed, and their coats can only be shorn once every three years making yields quite low––only two factors contributing to its astronomical cost. “The yarn is extremely difficult to work with due to its delicacy,” said founder Sebastian Adams. “Each hair measures just 12 microns in diameter; for comparison, the diameter of a human hair is about 50 microns, making it really hard to shape.”
The hat’s finishing touches were selected to reflect Varsity’s commitment to craftsmanship. Its adjustable strap is cut from salmon skin instead of the traditional nylon. “We are very proud of our heritage and Norway has a long tradition of salmon fishing. Bringing them together felt right,” Sebastian said in a statement. The logo and metal accents are nothing to sneeze at either: they’re made from solid gold that’s polished by hand to reveal a distinct luster.
If all that wasn’t enough, the hat is exhibited in an Italian-made suede-and-leather box that closes with a combination lock. Inside, a cedar hat sanded to the specific shape of the cap helps it keep its form. It’s the kind of thing that pushes the boundaries of what you think about staple garments—and makes for a lid we’d be proud to display in our own closets any day.