Why Does This Simple Hat, Worn By Emily Ratajkowski and Timothée Chalamet, Keep Selling Out?
Yesterday, the frothy-haired Timothée Chalamet stepped out into the world in a jarring orange hoodie that had “Celine” emblazoned on the front, gray swishy wind pants and sneakers. And while the blatant designer hoodie was certainly a standout in the actor’s look, Chalamet’s dad cap with “Elara” written on it was a low-key winner. We’ve seen the cap before, too: Emily Ratajkowski has long been a fan of the Elara Pictures hat, and had worn her incarnation all summer long in bikinis and on bikes as she peddled around the Hamptons. Pete Davidson has also worn it on talk shows and on the street, as has the teen Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things. So what exactly is the hat, and why are these celebrities sporting this pared-back accessory? Film buffs and New York downtown-erati will know it already: Elara Pictures is the independent film production company headed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, as well as Ratajkowski’s husband. It is the same group that brought us the deliciously sleazy Uncut Gems and fantastically stressful Good Time with a roughed-up Robert Pattinson.
The hat itself is unremarkable. It looks like it could be produced for a long-shuttered gas company, or an off-brand potato chip manufacturer. Maybe it is something that your uncle would wear on a fishing trip. At $30, it comes in black and dark blue versions with “Elara” embroidered to the front in retro space-race style font. The simple cap is completely sold out on Elara Pictures’s “Schmatas” page, or rather, their merch page. But search “buy Elara hat” online and you'll come across several Reddit threads with fans inquiring about the hat. In one instance, a Reddit user simply posted the question: “Anyone have an Elara hat?” as if they were shooting the question into the abyss. One user responded with a forlorn answer: “Good luck, I search resell sights daily in hopes one will pop up. I’ve also hit up random people on social media sites hoping they’d sell.” Another user posted a similar question: "Does anyone have an Elara hat for sale in either colour? Willing to pay good $$$” One response included the simple mantra to be patient because “[they] definitely know the hype behind those hats lol so I’d say they definitely will come back.”
The hype is real, and that same insider buzz around the production company goes for the same with A24, the independent distributor of some of Elara Pictures’s films. In one Reddit thread, the user posts: “After an Elara or an A24 hat, what u got?” A24 also has a slew of sold-out merch, including their hats. Those come with “A24” embroidered on them, in a distinctly-millennial typeface not unlike that of Outdoor Voices or Casper, in hues of beige, pink, and orange. Those are also all sold out. The two labels don’t just have hats, either. All of Elara Pictures’s merch is sold-out, including its crewneck that reads “Gems Uncut” an ode to Uncut Gems, to a beat-up face of Benny Safdie who played Nick Nikas from Good Time. A24 offers up a similar selection, including crew necks as well as pins. A24 is the more merch-centric of the two, offering up water bottles and even a six foot long beach towel titled “summer mint", which the publicist described to me as “fluffy”. In other words, there’s some good quality pieces in the mix. One of the most popular items of clothing has been A24’s mesh gym shorts, which have “A24” as the jersey stripe. “Designed to hit above the knee. Sorry, Sandman!” the description readers. (Sandman is a reference to Uncut Gems’s Adam Sandler whose signature is baggy shorts that go far past his knee. You would know that if you watched the Elara Pictures-produced film, which was released by A24.) Those red-hot shorts were recently restocked after being sold-out.
The cult-beloved appeal also helps that some of the merch from A24 and Elara Pictures is designed by another buzzy label, Online Ceramics, which is known for its Grateful Dead-inspired, triptastic T-shirts that sell out oh-so-quickly. A24 has collaborated with Online Ceramics, churning out funky promotional shirts around films like Midsommar and Uncut Gems. It is both transfixing and entertaining. Those are also all sold-out but you can find those pieces now marked-up on Grailed.
Coincidently, the same day that Chalamet’s photo in an Elara Pictures cap hit the wires, Elara revealed their new and improved website elara.world, which advertises Elara Pictures films and merch, including a sturdy new red tote bag with a cartoon witch on it that reads “unbutton your mind”. (That wonky graphic and language feels very Online Ceramics!) All of these things are advertised in a spoof on sensational tabloids, which in a way, makes sense: The merch is sensational! The community around it is sensational. Obviously, there are professional reasons why Timmy and EmRata are wearing the hat. (Could Chalamet be in a potential Elara Pictures film? We’d love to see it!) Regardless, the two celebrities seem to be…in the know. But why do others care? Why are there so many Reddit threads dedicated to this dad cap? Well, the hat at least shows that the wearer has an inkling of what is going on in the movie world: call it an intellectual film bro flex. Elara Pictures and A24 churn out sleeper hit films that reel in big names, and while they might not be immediate Hollywood-backed blockbusters, they eventually gain widespread approval over time. Wearing the hat says that you’ve seen a goatee-sporting Adam Sandler canoodle with Julia Fox in Uncut Gems, and Robert Pattinson frantically run through New York in Good Time. (Or at least you look like you do.) And if the merch looks good, which it does, well, it’s the perfect recipe for hype. It brings me back to this Reddit thread in which a user posted the question: “Can we make a pact that we’ll all post in here when we these fuckin’ hats hit the schmatas again?” A pact? About a hat? It turns out there is a little bit more to it.