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Our Story

We want to tell you the story about how our hatmaking
journey began, what is distinctive features of our brand and why
the hat it's always a challenge for oneself.

Our story began with a photo of American bloggers and stylists Street Etiquette. Going through their blog, I saw a stunning black hat on a red background. It was Amish Hat — a hat with a tall crown and a wide brim.

I always liked accessories more than clothes. It’s amazing how one little detail can drastically change any image until it’s unrecognizable. Especially a hat.

I wanted to buy a similar model but could not find something like that in Ukraine. Most of the models had classic shapes and were very far from what I saw on the photo. While searching, I grew to like hats so much that I wanted to try and create them myself. At first, I thought it was a fairly simple process, but everything turned out to be exactly the opposite.
I knew nothing about the creation of hats and had no experience in design. Just a huge desire to recreate the hat I saw on the photo.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the culture of wearing hats was popular in the western part of Ukraine, but for 70 years of the Soviet regime the country lost this tradition. The hat-making traditions were in oblivion for a longtime. It was extremely difficult to find any information about Ukrainian milliners and their techniques. Eventually, I managed to get acquainted with the master from Lviv and went there to see the entire process of production myself. However, the received knowledge was not enough, so I had to get information from the network.

On the Internet, I found an American community of hat makers from Los Angeles and consulted with them on all issues. The guys were very open to share their knowledge. They wanted to see that I would come up with.

My primary interest was the technical aspects. For example, how to make one or another shape of a hat, what tools are needed in work, and how to make the hat that does not lose it`s shape with time.

I sent them photos of my work and received constructive criticism and advice in return. In a year of our communication, I learned the basic techniques of sculpting the form of a hat that are executed exclusively by hands. I also figured out how to achieve the perfect felt treatment, and find out what's the difference between a cheap hat and the one that serves more than one year. The most important thing is that I learned how to do everything environmentally friendly, without the use of chemicals to seal the material.

Los Angeles is now the place of the largest custom community, but their design is rather traditional. They do not strive for a new one but are guided by the revival of lost traditions. My approach is based on the creation of models of unconventional forms with modern design that would be not only fashionable but practical in everyday life. In terms of technology, I prefer the symbiosis of the American and European schools, and work by hands became one of the main components of the brand`s DNA.
My approach is based on the creation of models of unconventional forms with modern design that would be not only fashionable but practical in everyday life.

The process of creating a hat begins with the development of the form. For this purpose, the felt capeline is steamed, stretched on the wooden base to provide the size of the workpiece, and dried for 8 hours. After that, it is processed with sandpaper to the desired condition and burned to give the hat an extra soft finish and remove the remnants of felt. Then comes the most interesting part of the process— the sculpture of the form of the brim by hand. In the process, new models are born, on which I then draw a sketch and finish them up. After that, I sew the accessories. In general, the production of one hat takes at least 3 days.

Shape sculpting is the most interesting part of the process. I like to think that a hat is a small sculpture, the form of which is completely open to research and experiments. Doing this by hands and without the help of pads, you can feel yourself as a sculptor working on your creation. In addition, by sculpting the shape of a crown by hand, it is impossible to make it the same, so each hat, in a sense, becomes unique.

During the entire training process, I continued to experiment with forms, creating different models. I showed some of them to my brother, and he was delighted. We no longer went out without a headwear. Hats began to attract attention. Many have asked us what the brand is called and where to buy it. It became clear that this is a good sign to introduce the world to our passion.

Two years passed by from the moment I first saw the Amish Hat photo to the launch of our first collection that was mainly inspired by modern sculpture and the works of Anish Kapoor and Richard Serra.

We believe that a hat is more than just an accessory. It’s always a challenge for oneself. Wearing a hat you will unwittingly attract the views of others. It requires some courage and a desire to express oneself. We want to help people do this through our hats, making hat an ideal form of self-expression. Inspire others and promote wearing and creating headwear.
Follow us on Instagram @Shmelsvky_hats