I didn’t grow up in a hat wearing culture. Hat fashion then was a ski hat in the winter and a trucker cap or baseball cap the rest of the year, IF you wore any hat at all. One day, when I was in high school and was browsing in my favorite vintage shop, I put a brown velvety trilby on my head, and I was in love. There’s just something about putting on a hat that makes you feel special, makes you stand a little taller.
It was a long time before I finally started making hats. Some people have very direct paths in life, and some of us take long circuitous routes to finally get where we always wanted to be. After a college degree in political science and a master’s degree in art history, I eventually found my way to a millinery class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Just like when I put on that trilby so many years before, I knew this was the right fit. I completed the millinery certificate program, joined the Milliners Guild, and after more than a decade with the organization, I served as President for three years.
I have had the great honor and privilege of working with Stephen Jones OBE on several occasions. We have worked together making hats and headpieces for a few seasons of NY Fashion Week for Marc Jacobs and Savage Fenty, and I worked with Mr. Jones installing his headpieces for the exhibits, In Pursuit of Fashion and In America at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s not every day we get to meet our idols, let alone work with them. I’m a lucky girl.
Always looking to learn and grow, I continue to take classes with renowned milliners from around the world, and I am currently working with theatrical milliner Arnold Levine, making hats for Broadway, Disney, operas, ballets, regional theaters, and TV.
Hats are practical. Hats are extravagant. Hats get you noticed. Anyone can throw on a mass market hat and be on their way, but I want you to feel special when you wear yours. Factories can pump them out fast, but when a hat is handmade and customized for you, it’s a completely different experience. I want everyone to feel that way, to find that special hat.
Photography: Bryan Coppede, Susie Lang