There’s the remix. And then there’s the legend.
John Legend is known as a fairly dapper dude, and apparently, he get it from his papa, designer Ron Stephens. Page Six Style reports that Stephens, 69, had long been designing and tailoring his own clothing but seems to have hit upon his signature style when he started losing his hair and found a solution in hats.
And a hat designer was born.
“I was doing some spring cleaning and I got ready to throw away one of my straw hats—very similar to the one Clark Gable wore in Gone With the Wind, which is called a gambler,” Stephens told Page Six. “But before I did, my brother came over with a cap on, and I said, ‘That’s really nice, that’s a pretty cool cap.’”
“So that started the wheels a-turnin’ and then as I was looking at this gambler hat that I was getting ready to destroy, I said, ‘I wonder what this full-brim hat would look like if I turned it into a cap—just trim off all the back end of it and leave a visor or a bill on the front,’” he added.
Stephens was pleased with results—which combine the crown of a gambler or fedora with a baseball-like bill, bringing to mind Civil War soldier caps, as seen in Glory. Taking it for a test drive around the neighborhood, Stephens found his design appealed to others as well.
“People were asking me, ‘Man, where’d you get that hat?’” he recalled. “I would tell them, ‘I remixed it!’”
Urged by friends to start a line based on his prototype, in 2012, Stephens launched Popz Topz, named in part from the nickname he picked up hanging with his famous son.
“In John’s circle, as I became more acquainted with his team members and the people who work with and for him, they started calling me Pops,” Stephens explained. “‘Hey Pops’ this, and ‘Pops’ that. So that kind of caught on and we said, ‘Well, why don’t we just call it Popz Topz!’”
And does the EGOT in Stephens’ life rock his pop’s unisex styles? Of course, but he’s not the ideal brand ambassador.
“John wears the hats, but he only does it strictly for business purposes and because I’m his dad,” Stephens admits. “He’s not really a hat person, and I think the person who best represents Popz Topz is a person who likes hats.”