With help from Dirty Billy’s Hats of Charleston, the Lowcountry’s streets are about to be flooded with historical artifacts — and wearable ones, at that.
The shop is an expansion of a successful hat shop which has resided in Gettysburg, Pa. for the past 20 years. Bill Wickham, the owner of both shops, is a Civil War military collector and re-enactor with a knack for craftsmanship, an incredible combination, if you ask us.
While the new Charleston-based shop will feature a line of modern hats and caps for all genders and ages, the most exciting merchandise comes from Wickham’s expertise as a historic hatter. He reproduces high quality headwear from 1600-1900 by closely studying original artifacts and old photographs.
Dirty Billy’s Facebook page shows an array of bowlers, beehive hats, and traditional, Southern-style sun hats. For rugged gentlemen, there are salon-style cowboy hats. For women with vintage taste, there are feminine 1920s berets and cloche hats.
Adding to this list of resurrected items is a line of hats and caps that will awe any history nut: a collection of Davy Crockett coonskin caps and Sioux ceremonial bonnets — because why not? Just in case these items weren’t whimsical enough, Dirty Billy’s also carries a line of authentic, feather-adorned pirate hats. You know, for your next pirate convention, or Saturday night out on the town.
Wickham’s artistry and unique interests allow the public to don items that, ordinarily, would be on display in places like museums. In addition to bringing his favorite historical pieces back to life, he has been hired to create specialty hats for actors such as Sam Elliot, Martin Sheen, Patrick Swayze, and Tom Berenger for his role in Rough Riders.
The new hat shop opens at 168 C Church St. this Sat. April 1st.