As I was designing hats for an upcoming show in 2016, I was somewhat dismayed to find that I could no longer craft a couple of my favorites. It is with a mix of nostalgia and sadness that I announce the end of the line for the hat that started it all…
“The Classic,” known by some as the “Classic Lao Hat” launched my company several years ago. It was inspired by a medieval Viking model, although this style was also prevalent throughout Europe, Northern Europe, Russia, and Mongolia during the medieval period.
Historically a 5-panel hat with exposed seams, I designed my version with 6 panels to accommodate embroidery on every other panel. That design modification also ended up created a better fitting hat.
Originally made from 70/40% wool felt, I switched over to using wools gleaned from thrift store coats, which felted up when washed and which became fray-proof. This produced a higher quality and longer lasting hat. But supplies for this quality of wool have diminished in the recycled textiles market, and I can no longer guarantee the selection of colors that make this hat marketable.
I have a few of these hats in my inventory, most of which is now on tour at various gallery shows across the country. I also hope to continue with my leather versions, albeit in a very limited color palette.
Meeting a similar fate is my Sitka, named after the Russian military hat I brought home after visiting Sitka, Alaska. My version was a tall six-panel hat with exposed seams, brocade cuff and embroidered earflap that tied up in front.
Looking on the bright side, if you own one of my Classics or Sitkas, hang on to it. As of October 1, 2016 it took one more step towards becoming a collectible : )