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.
Always looking to learn and grow, I have taken classes with renowned milliners from around the world, and I’ve worked with theatrical milliner Arnold Levine, making hats for Broadway, Disney, operas, ballets, regional theaters, and TV. 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.
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.
What kind of hat are you looking for? Special occasion, Spring hat, Winter hat
Photography: Bryan Coppede, Susie Lang