Mister Freedom® Casquette “La DEFFE”, New Old Stock fabric, made in USA. (June 2018 inventory UPDATE)

“La bande du Grand Albert”, Paris, by Brassaï, early 1930’s.

Mister Freedom® Casquette “La Deffe”, NOS fabrics.
Made in USA.

Here is an inventory update of our popular MF® Casquette “La Deffe”, an original headwear pattern we initially released in 2011 and have been consistently restocking since. The first batch was released during our “Les Apaches” collection.
Inspired by French 1920’s~40’s mens casquettes, these single-panel caps are cut from vintage New Old Stock fabrics, and constructed in the spirit of their ancestors.
The term ”deffe” is an obsolete French slang word, only familiar to an older generation today. Etymologically, a hat manufacturer called DESFOUX (located near Pont-Neuf, Paris, and established in 1878) made silk caps favored by butchers, pimps and Parisian apaches. A ”Desfoux” or “deffe” ended designating a cap in colorful gangster argot.

The MF® Casquette “La Deffe” is designed and made in California by Mister Freedom®.

* An original MF® pattern inspired by French single-panel 1920’s~40’s casquettes.
* Cut from assorted New Old Stock vintage fabrics, available in very limited quantity.
* Genuine kangaroo leather sweatband, veg-tan, will not stretch or rot.
* Vintage NOS black twill hat lining, featuring silkscreened original Mister Freedom® artwork.
* Decorative crown strap, secured by 1900’s french NOS glass buttons
* Snap-up brim (vintage United Carr snap).
* Made in our fancy 7161 Beverly atelier.

The MF® Casquettes “La Deffe” are ready-to-wear and do not require any initial treatment.
We measure the sweatband in centimeters. If unsure, measure your head circumference with a metric cloth measuring tape to determine your hat size. Kangaroo leather will technically not stretch or shrink, but the hat crown might loosen slightly with normal wear.

Professional cleaning only. Do not machine-wash.

Available raw/unwashed.
Limited sizes available per fabric option. See updated inventory here.
 (~ US 7 1/8)
(~ US 7 1/4)
 (~ US 7 3/8)
 (~ US 7 1/2)
(~ US 7 5/8)
(~ US 7 3/4)
Retail $199.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.comour Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®

Mister Freedom® ROADSTEADER Cap, NOS selvedge denim, Spring 2018, made in USA.


Apache dancers, circa 1925
(Photo Boris Lipnitzki © Roger Viollet)

Mister Freedom® ROADSTEADER Cap
NOS selvedge denim edition
SS2018 Sportsman catalog
Made in USA

The Mister Freedom® ROADSTEADER Cap is the latest addition to our Couvre-Chef Department, consisting of a selection of vintage-inspired headwear, revisited à-la MF®.
The line-up already includes our classic Casquette “La Deffe” and ”Scuttler” Cap, both regularly issued in an assortment of vintage New Old Stock fabrics. The full released range of these two popular models can be seen at our Los Angeles HQ, and some can be spotted atop Jack Sparrow’s head.

Looking at photos of our new pattern, one will notice that the MF® ROADSTEADER is not a vintage replica, but rather a combo of old-school styles, a mix bag of references to bygone fashions and Costume History, all blending into an irresistible piece of accoutrement for the 21st Century snappy dresser!
We drew pointers from the early fashion of the Apaches of the Belle Époque, the flamboyant ruffians who had inspired a Mister Freedom® collection back in 2011. Late 1870’s illustrations of the infamous Parisian gangsters invariably depict their trademark hat, the Casquette Desfoux, aka ‘deffe. Originally a black wool or silk cap with a leather visor (casquette à pont), the style was allegedly borrowed from the Maquignons, livestock traders with a reputation for unscrupulous practices. During the 1880’s, bands of Apaches of the Ville des Lumières also seem to have adopted the Maquignons’ traditional pleated indigo blouse (the biaude or blaude, familiar today to the finest hunters of antique European textiles), along with the wide-wale corduroy trousers favored by wood-workers and farmers.

It may sound quite ironic that, considering how much these french OGs loathed physical work, rather favoring absinthe, pander and larceny, they opted for vestimentary styles so associated with the working class… Might-this have been an underworld well-thought strategy however, one that would facilitate blending in the crowd when chased by a squadron of grippe-coquin (literally “grab-rascal”), aka Gendarmes? Another case for Inspector Clouseau. On a side note for the traveller, don’t go around today addressing a Gendarme as “Monsieur grippe-coquin”, things might get out of hand, and holidays cut short.

All these fine threads could conveniently be stolen from boutiques on the crowded rue Mouffetard (5th arrondissement of Paris), retail destinations such as “Maison Panet”, workwear outfitters and novelty goods purveyors since 1829. On that same street, at number 65, stood another fine establishment belonging to a certain Auguste Bénard, local tailor and… ’inventor’ of the original fashion flares! The flared-bottom trousers that he designed in the 1870’s (“pantalon à pattes” or “pattes d’eph” -literally elephant leg- narrow at the knee with bell-shaped leg opening) were a big hit with the Apaches of the early days, as featured on Théophile Steinlen‘s amazing period illustrations. Speaking of inspiring graphics, check this vintage sheet music blog.

Today, for an older french generation who has no idea who Pikachu is, the street slang term “bénard” stills designates a pair of pants, and “deffe” a generic casquette.

Besides this colorful Parisian influence, our Roadsteader design obviously borrows from the traditional Greek fisherman’s cap, and recreational ‘captain’ hat styles, in-turn inspired by military naval covers. This external blog post is a fun illustrated read if you’re into nautical headgear history.

The design process to nail the pattern and construction of our Roadsteader Cap has been quite challenging for our in-house atelier, as attest the many prototypes made. Panels size, seams, stitching, dimensions, leather grade, trims, …, were endlessly tweaked during R&D. Our aim was not to rival with mil-specs hat makers Bancroft Cap Company, or traditional yachting cap specialist Lancaster Hat Co , but we still wanted a hat worthy of being featured in the ever-growing Mister Freedom® Sportsman catalog…
The MF® Roadsteader eventually passed the final exam and survived field-testing.
So there it is.

The MF® Roasteader Cap is designed and manufactured in California, USA, by Mister Freedom®.

An original MF® pattern, inspired by an assortment of vintage nautical covers and 1900’s french traditional working-class hats.
Shell: NOS 2/1 indigo selvedge denim, about 8 Oz. (for reference, similar to the weight of a classic lightweight western denim snap shirt or vintage US Army barrack bag, as opposed to the 12~15 Oz. weight of traditional 3/1 denim 5-pocket jeans.)
Lining: Vintage NOS glazed 100% cotton fabric, silkscreen.
Leather trims: cowhide headband and visor, with genuine kangaroo hide headband lining.

* Fancy old-school construction.
* Unstructured crown. (no plastic frame)
* Fully lined with NOS black glazed cotton, featuring original MF® silkscreened label.
* Cowhide leather headband.
* Unlined cowhide leather visor with indigo HBT tape piping.
* Genuine kangaroo hide headband facing, with red/white/blue bow.
* Traditional chinstrap was replaced by a riveted strap, featuring concealed denim selvedge ID.
* Made in USA.

The headband size in measured in centimeters. The headband will not stretch altogether, but the kangaroo lining will soften with wear and ‘loosen-up’ the fit a bit.
Size 58 (cm) roughly equates to a 7 ¼ hat size.
Size 60 (cm) roughly equates to a 7 ½ hat size.
Note that the crown of the Roadsteader is unstructured (no plastic frame) so that it will ‘slouch’ naturally with wear. We recommend cocking it to one side, and a bit to the back, for the old-salt vibe.

Do not attempt to wash/dry the MF® Roadsteader Cap. Professional spot-cleaning only, if needed. With normal repeat wear, this cap will start to ‘slouch’ and the denim fabric begin to drape naturally. Both the indigo denim twill and leather will acquire a natural patina overtime.
We do not recommend trying to artificially hasten the normal aging process. Just wear and enjoy.

Available Raw/unwashed.
Size 58 (cm) (approx. 7 ¼)
Size 60 (cm) (approx. 7 ½)

Retail $249.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.

Thank you for your support,
Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom® 2018

Mister Freedom® new hat trick: CASQUETTE “La Deffe”


Mister Freedom® CASQUETTE La “Deffe”

No, I didn’t find the secret coveted stash of New Old Stock French 1920’s-30’s caps in an abandoned Parisian storage room… (where ARE those caps??? Every single gent owned at least one back then, but they are nowhere to be found today, as any vintage hound knows.)
What I did find last year was an awesome batch of NOS French wool/tweed & linings, a rare 20’s-30’s grouping of fabrics. All coming from an haberdashery manufacturer from Northern France, that had been around since the early 1920’s and closed its doors in the mid 1960’s.
We have some of the amazing clothes (mainly suiting) that came with this loot at the MF® store now. Some of which are now seen on screen (HBO Boardwalk Empire…)

So. We figured out how to make them, the same way they were made back then. The pattern is inspired by early french men’s casquettes, different from the newspaper boy cap, the US version of it.
The name “Deffe” is one of the many colourful Apache slang for headgear. Originally, a hat manufacturer called DESFOUX (located near Pont-Neuf, Paris) made silk caps favored by butchers, pimps and gangsters since 1878. ” Une Desfoux” became “une deffe” in french argot
Some documentation can be found in the amazing 1930’s underworld studies written by Mr. Emile Chautard, who apparently spent more time in dives drinking absinthe with unorthodox characters than behind a desk sipping tea (“La vie étrange de l’Argot“, 1931). Many of Chautard insightful accounts have influenced our latest MFSC Apaches collection.
The casquette was worn slouched on the side of the head, straight was for squares. Bold fabric patterns, contrasting colours, mismatching weaves were the thing.
Calico shirt, red silk scarf, pied de poule deffe… you get the picture (or Brassaï did, when he shot la bande du Grand Albert in 1931…)

For the few who managed to read this far down, much obliged, so here are the specs of Mister Freedom® Casquette la “Deffe”!

Original Mister Freedom® single panel pattern, typical of 1920’s-30’s French gents’ caps.
FABRIC: 100 year old New Old Stock (NOS) French fabrics. Variety of all wool patterns, weave and colours. Solid, tweeds, herringbone, houndstooth in very limited quantities. (See last photo for an idea of how the fabric rolls looked like when found.)
LINING: NOS 1930’s sturdy black rayon and/or moleskine, printed with Mister Freedom® original artwork.
* Kangaroo leather sweatband
* Decorative crown strap, secured by 1900’s french NOS glass buttons
* Snap-up brim (vintage United Carr snap).
* All hand made in MF® Los Angeles atelier, by happy skilled artisans, while listening to good music.
SIZE: The can of worms…Few random sizes available, from about 57 cm to 60cm.
We use only one pattern, and due to variation in fabric thickness, fluctuating seam allowance, the crown size also varies sligthly +/- a few milimeters. No two casquettes are exactly the same.
57cm is close to US hat size 7 1/8
60cm is close to US hat size 7 1/2
CARE: Professional Hat cleaner Dry Cleaning ONLY, if needed. Do NOT wash.

Designed by Mister Freedom® and made in California in a limited edition.

From +/- 57 cm to +/- 60cm
Retail: $ 199.95

Call John or Jordan at (323) 653-2014 or Email sales@misterfreedom.com to get yours while they last. We ship internationally. Thank you for your support.

Courtesy of Monsieur Patrick Segui, the artist behind the paintbrush of our Apache collection boxtops artwork, check out this amazing photo of Grand-Père Segui (left) in 1931.
Photographed in “Alger-la-Blanche”, Algeria, then a French colony, this shot conveys the local street style of the Pépé le Moko generation. Deffe & all! A rare photograph of a young man who went on to join the ranks of the famed Zouaves and bravely fought his way through WW2.
Patrick’s original post here.