In the nearly 15 years John Legend (né John Stephens) has been in the public eye, the crooner has built a successful career around his music and acting endeavors, obtaining dozens of awards in the process, including the highly coveted Academy Award for Best Original Song. Yet, he didn’t get to this level without the nurturing, instruction and hard work of his parents, and now, the hard work of his father, a retired factory worker and National Guardsmen, is taking center stage as well.
Legend’s father, Ronald Stephens (affectionately called Pop Stephens and Pop Legend, in reference to his son’s stage name) has entered the wide field of haberdashery, starting with unique headwear. His first project to be sold to the public, Popz Topz, is taking men’s fashion for a ride. Pop, always nimble with his hands, and interested in style–his wife, John’s mother was a professional seamstress–got the idea by revamping one of his old straw hats, cutting off the brim and attaching a baseball bill to the front instead. His first design was for personal reasons, but he was later inspired to produce it for others, after people started inquiring about the undoubtedly one-of-a-kind presentation.
Subsequently, the designer has created a new phenomenon, which he hopes will bridge the gap between styles of today and those of the past. Because most of his designs essentially marry classic hat styles like the homburg or pork pie with the modern baseball bill, Mr. Stephens says the hat can be dressed up or down, with a tuxedo or with denim jeans, as something for everyone. After 4 years, that’s certainly appearing true. Thanks to his son’s investment (one of a dozen initial backers) and famous connections, Stephens has gained a valuable customer base, including the legendary producer and composer, Quincy Jones.
Check out this recent video, with Pop Stephens discussing the hat on Good Day Columbus ( he hails from Springfield, less than an hour away from the city).
What are your thoughts? Would you wear this style, or is it not your thing? Tweet me and let me know.