TURKEY - TURKISH
OTTOMAN BLACK HAT
FEZ or FES
This brand new hat is a symbol of OTTOMAN EMPIRE,
manufactured in Istanbul and it is handmade.
Different colors are available in my store.
ABOUT FEZ - FES:
The Fez (also known as the Checheya or Tarboosh) is
a red felt hat in the shape of a truncated cone; a black tassel
hangs from the crown.
During the reign of the Sultan Mahmud Khan II
(1808-39), a European code of dress gradually replaced the
traditional robes worn by members of the Ottoman court. The change
in costume was soon emulated by the public and senior civil
servants, followed by the members of the ruling intelligentsia and
the emancipated classes throughout the Ottoman Empire. While
European style coats and trousers were gradually adopted, this
change did not extend to headwear. Peaked or broad brimmed
headdresses such as the top hat did not meet the Islamic
requirement that men should press their heads to the ground when
praying. Accordingly the Sultan issued a firman (royal decree) that
the checheya headgear in a modified form would become part of the
formal attire of the Turkish Empire irrespective of his subjects'
religious sects or millets.
Fez in Military Use:
A version of the fez was used as an arming cap for
the 1400-1700s version of the mail armor head protector (a round
metal plate or skull-cap, around which hung a curtain of mail to
protect the neck and upper shoulder. The fez, presumably padded,
raised up the metal plate an inch or two to provide effective
protection from heavy blows. The fez could be optionally wrapped
with a turban.
The red fez with blue tassel was the standard
headdress of the Turkish Army from the 1840s until the introduction
of a khaki service dress and peakless sun helmet in 1910. The only
significant exceptions were cavalry and some artillery units who
wore a lambskin hat with coloured cloth tops. Albanian levies wore
a white version of the fez. During World War I the fez was still
worn by some naval reserve units and occasionally by soldiers when
The Fez Arround the World:
Among Muslims of South Asia, the fez is known as the
Rumi Topi ("Roman cap"). It was a symbol of Islamic identity and
showed the Indian Muslims support for the Khilafat (Caliphate),
headed by the Ottoman Emperor. Later, it became associated with the
Muslim League, the political party which eventually created the
country of Pakistan. The late veteran Pakistani politician
Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan was one of the few people in Pakistan who
wore the fez until his death in 2003.
In Indonesia, the country with the biggest Muslim
population in the world, fez is a part of the local culture itself.
Fez is called "Peci" in Indonesian. The Peci is black in colour
with a more ellipse shape and sometimes decorated with
embroideries. Malaysian Malay men are also seen wearing it as part
of the local culture, and it is better known as "Songkok" in
Malaysia. The peci is used in various ceremonies mostly religious
and also in formal occasions by government officials.
Following the foundation of Turkey after World War
I, Mustafa Kemal regarded the fez - which Sultan Mahmud II had
originally introduced to the Ottoman Empire's dress code in 1826 -
as a symbol of feudalism. The fez ("Fes" in Turkish) was banned in
1925, and Turkish men were encouraged to wear European attire -
thus, hats such as the fedora became popular.
The fez was introduced into the Balkans initially
during the Byzantine reign, and subsequently during the Ottoman
period where various Slavs, including Serbs and today's Bosniaks,
started using the fez.
A variation of a black soft fez was used by Italian
blackshirts under the Fascist regime. This was in imitation of the
red soft fez still worn used by bersaglieri units.
In Libya, a soft black fez, called the checheya, is
worn by the rural population with or without a long tassel. The
Libyan leader Mu'ammar Gaddafi is often seen in it.
In tourist hotels in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco,
porters and bellhops often wear a fez to provide local colour for
visitors. They are however almost never worn in Turkey.
Fez in Western Popular Culture:
In the Western world, the fez occasionally serves as
a symbol of relaxation. In cartoons, characters are shown wearing a
fez often while lying in a hammock on vacation or just relaxing
after a hard day of work. This curious imagery may be a throwback
to the late 19th century English practice of men wearing a loose
fitting smoking jacket and braided fez-like headdress when relaxing
informally in the evenings. Punch cartoons of the period 1875-90
frequently portray middle-class male figures dressed in this
fashion. This practice is called "wearing mufti" and came from the
habit of British officers and public servants wearing what was then
Indian dress in the privacy of their homes. The dress was more
comfortable in the Indian climate and created a sense of ease and
relaxation such that the clothing, not unlike that of a Muslim
religious leader or "mufti", came into the English language as a
word meaning 'out of uniform' or undress. It is also called "en
smoking"as Asian men wore such clothes when smoking a hookah. The
wearing of fezzes in the western world is undergoing a revival. One
of the most well known wearing of a fez in a Hollwood film was by
Victor Mature playing Dr Omar in Josef Von Sternberg's The Shanghai
Gesture (1942). Theo Marcuse has an uncredited role in the premiere
of Ironside as a bartender. The bar is called Algiers and Marcuse
wears traditional Algerian costume and a fez. The bar is dead and
Ironside is seemingly the only customer. Ironside tells him that
since they're alone he should "take off that silly hat."
The Shriners, and the late British comic Tommy
Cooper are notable for wearing fezzes. The Steely Dan album, The
Royal Scam, features a song entitled "The Fez". The refrain is:
"Never gonna do it without the fez on" (although the song is
ironically meant to portray the fez as a prophylactic. The Ron and
Fez show on XM Satellite Radio features Fez Whatley who once wore a
Fez hat, thus gaining his nickname.
In his comic-strip religious tract against
Freemasonry, Jack Chick records a story that the original fez was
red as it was dyed in the blood of murdered Christians. There is no
evidence of truth in this story.