The black hat that typically sits atop Sawyer Fredericks’ long, flowing golden locks has become a fashion fad among adults and children throughout the Capital Region, as the Montgomery County singer’s popularity continues to grow as he advances in competition on “The Voice.”
To show their support, many of his fans are also donning the round, low-crowned hat, known as a derby or bowler.
The 16-year-old returned to the Capital Region on Wednesday after a few months in Los Angeles. He performed at the Fonda Fairgrounds and at the Palace Theatre in Albany, where hundreds of fans were sporting his signature wardrobe item.
True to form, Fredericks never took the hat off in public Wednesday.
“I don’t really do anything to take care of [the hat],” the Glen resident told thousands of fans at the Fonda Fairgrounds. “It just kind of stays like this.”
One of those fans, Shaelyn Oathoat, 13, said she has followed the Montgomery County singer from “Day 1” and will continue to wear her replica hat.
“I vote for him every day and I never miss an episode,” said the Johnstown resident, who attended both of Fredericks’ performances, in Fonda and Albany. “I will definitely be wearing the hat again and anytime I possibly can. Us fans that wear the hats are showing Sawyer that we support him 100 percent for staying true to himself. We love him just the way he is.”
First popularized in London by gentlemen of the Victorian era, the bowler hat hit its stride in the American West in the early 1900s, popular among cowboys, train workers, marshals and sheriffs. It became more commonly known as a “derby” on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, however.
A century later, The Costumer on Central Avenue in Albany has seen the bowler hat hit its stride among Sawyer’s more sartorial-minded fans. Before the Palace show on Wednesday, the costume shop sold a handful of bowlers to a group of teenage girls and a group of older women.
“And then the Palace sent employees in to buy about 20 for their ushers and security guards to wear at the show,” said manager Jen Dugan. “They’ve always been very popular, especially among people in the theater.”
The young “Voice” crooner told Utica-based WFRG-FM late last month that he was enamored by the style from an early age, and wound up getting his trademark vintage bowler right off the mannequin in an antique store.
Fredericks advanced to the semifinals of the show Tuesday after receiving enough votes from his fans. He will compete again at 8 p.m. this evening and is expected to perform two songs. Once the show begins, fans have until 8 p.m. Tuesday — when the next episode airs — to cast their vote for Fredericks via Facebook, Twitter, or telephone.
Fredericks said Wednesday he doesn’t plan on taking the hat off anytime soon.
He continues to wow the show’s star-studded panel of judges and grab the attention of the entire nation on social media. His name has been trending on several social media platforms after his performances. Fans have also set up viewing parties at local restaurants and bars to watch the show.
Linda Santoro, who was sporting a derby hat while watching “The Voice” on Tuesday at Parillo’s Armory Grill in Amsterdam, said the hat completes Fredericks’ look.
“I think it has become part of who he is and what he is all about,” she said Tuesday. “I love watching him and I hope he just keeps it going and is able to win the whole thing.”