Broome Pearl Diver

Our Story

Ozbrero wide brim hat perfect for fishingInca culture captured by an Australian pearl diver and adapted to suit Oz conditions.

An Ozbrero kingdom? Now we like the sound of that! While travelling through South America in 2009, Chris Cooke (founding director and former Broome pearl diver) unleashed his creativity and Ozbrero was born.

It began with an idea that emerged from a belief.

In the beginning…

For centuries, the Inca people displayed a rather unique dress code, among other traditions. Items such as blankets, ear-warmers and patterned cloaks became the norm – like a branded Tribe.

Also popular was an appropriate hat or head piece to protect from the harsh elements of their land. A hat that many then chose to add patterns, feathers, colour dyes or, simply wore forever-and-a-day to represent character. The Mexican Sombrero style was a more common choice for its greater sun protective qualities.

The Inca people lived mostly in the highlands of Peru and despite the climate extremes, still spent a lot of time outside. Their religious beliefs were strong and guided heavily by nature. Inti, the sun god, was deemed the ancestor for all Incas and was especially worshiped.

Given Australia’s climate is mostly desert or semi-arid, with pockets of temperate, sub-tropical, tropical rainforest or grassland – it’s no wonder that us Australians love to ‘worship’ the sun too. But perhaps not always in the most rightful way.

The vision…

Following Chris’ travels, he was eager to talk with his mates in Perth, who own commercial printing and headwear production companies, about his idea for a new style of legionnaire wide brim hat for both men and women alike. A cotton design that allows for the back flap and brim to act as one and fan-out from the neck. He doesn’t like hats where the flap sticks to the neck! It was also vital that the hat be made of tough, durable cotton that would suit basically every outdoor pursuit in Australia and represent a way-of-life. Having spent thousands of hours in the water, on a boat or working as a plumber in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, he made sure the hat can continuously get wet and, stay on your head when cruising at speed. But most importantly, the design protects the head, face, ears and neck from the sun!

So in 2011 after the design was ready and the first bundle was manufactured he started to spread the word…

And today…

Ozbrero is enjoying continued growth across Australia as an ultimate sun protective, rugged, practical and durable wide brim cotton hat that is based on principles derived from the Sombrero and, is perfect for the active outdoor lifestyles of today.

Together with his partner Fiona, they aim to continue sharing the Ozbrero message far and wide. Both passionate Western Australian’s, they regularly research potential new improvements and product variety to suit the Australian outdoor environment. Maybe even a toddler Ozbrero is in the pipeline too. Supporting the sunsmart movement and fostering a new tribe of hat ‘life-stylers’ is very rewarding. It really is the Australian Sombrero!