Monday, January 15, 2024

Interesting People Wear Hats

January 15 marks National Hat Day so pull out your books, patterns, and supplies! 

Or, just pop on a baseball cap, the overwhelming choice of hat wearers in the US. Baseball caps have evolved to become a staple in fashion and pop culture. They are often considered an off-duty essential and can be paired with anything from a knitted sweater to a blazer or even a bomber jacket. Baseball caps are also popular because of their customizability and convenience. Baseball caps are widely available and come in a variety of styles, colors, and teams. For ideas on how to incorporate baseball caps with your look, just search the internet----there are tons of photos of people wearing baseball caps with anything you can imagine! 

 You can make hats out of anything, but fabric is one of the easiest to sew. Making hats of felt or straw requires specialty supplies, training, and more expertise. 

 I have a hat that was purchased from Hecht, a department store chain that operated along the East Coast. The hatbox features the Washington DC skyline, and the hat is stamped inside with "Glenover Henry Pollak." I learned, however, that Henry Pollak is not a hat designer!
The word "millinery" comes from Milan, Italy, where importers and sellers known as "mileners" or "milaners" sold trimmings and other accessories, including bonnets, hats, and caps. In 1897, the original Henry Pollak left Italy with his brother to seek their fortune and opportunity in Japan—which had been closed to outsiders for centuries. They became successful exporting straw braid to the headwear community in Europe and in America. In 1917, Henry and his wife, Eva, moved to New York and started importing hat bodies and braids from around the world. Henry Pollak's company was incorporated in New York in 1917. 

Domestic manufacturers of hat bodies required country of origin stamps inside of the crown of the hat bodies in the middle of the 20th century and hat bodies came from all over the world. That is why so many wool and fur felt hats are marked with the “Henry Pollak” stamp. Henry Pollak Inc sold the raw hat bodies to the milliners—but the company was never a designer or producer of the finished hats. Many hat designers (Halston, Adolfo, Frank Olive, Lily Dache, etc.) used these hat bodies. It is ironic that the name that survived in the hats is the name “Henry Pollak,” who did not design hats at all!

Sewists may be most familiar with Patricia Underwood, who partnered with Vogue Patterns for a series of hat patterns. Patricia Underwood got her start as a hat designer when she took a night course in hat making at the Fashion Institute of Technology

In an interview on why she became a hat designer, she said, “I was thinking, ‘What is the most important thing about a woman? It’s her brain. And what is the most important piece of apparel closest to the brain but a hat?’” For Underwood, hats are much more than adornments; they uplift and dignify women in all their complexity. 

Wearing a hat requires confidence. "Because people will look at you when you are wearing a hat--not necessarily in an overt way, but they will notice--and you have to have the confidence for that."

So, on National Hat Day, be bold!

If you want advice on how to wear a hat, watch this YouTube video where the National Arts Club interviews Patricia Underwood. 

If you'd like more information on sewing hats or would like to share your experiences on hats, leave a comment below!

No comments:

Post a Comment