The Hills Story
Our story begins in 1875 when Englishman Chas Hill opened Hill and Sons, Men’s Hatters on Wellington’s Lambton Quay.
Chas knew his hats. He had worked in the business in his home city of Bristol before setting out for the other side of the world. He travelled via Australia to Auckland looking for the ideal place to open a hatter’s shop. A savvy businessman, Chas quickly realised that as the seat of government Wellington was where he would find the majority of elite hat wearers.
The business flourished. By 1890 Chas had added another two shops to his business, in Napier and Nelson. He made his own hats as well as representing major companies from around the world. His advertising announced “We are in receipt of regular shipments of Hats from the following High-Class Makers: Christy and Co., Stetson and Co., Tress and Co…”
When he retired Chas’ son and later his grandson took over the reins. Over the following decades the business expanded to make an ever-growing range of headwear including fashion, outdoor, and uniform hats and berets.
Today we continue to enhance the business established by the adventurous Chas over 140-years-ago. But now it’s we who supply high-end hat specialists around the world.
Over the last decade there has been something of a hat revolution. People have fallen in love with hats all over again. Hills Hats has been at the forefront of that movement, encouraging people to come back to the hat as everyday wear.
We love hats. With our solid tradition, our design and engineering expertise, the best hats around are designed and made here – since 1875.
The Eskay Story
Bryan Smuts-Kennedy commenced his own business in 1944 with a contract to manufacture men’s ties for the American Marines. The name Eskay was established for the New Zealand fashion market shortly afterwards.
Over the years Eskay has manufactured and distributed ties & fashion accessories for Hardy Amies, Yves Saint Laurent, Fisba-Stoffels, V.Fraas and Viyella to name a few. The Eskay range of fashion accessories now specialises in quality handkerchiefs, scarves, gloves and also designs and selects a range of imported hats.
The brand Eskay (SK) was created as a phonetic play on the Smuts-Kennedy family name who are well into their third generation of sourcing internationally.