Well are hats really making a comeback? We asked UK Milliner, Karen Henriksen and here is what she told us.
What’s trending for men’s hats?
There is definitely a revival in men's casual hat styles, a trend perhaps helped in the UK by the popular TV show 'peaky blinders', a gangster drama set in the post-war years. The trend for a vintage aesthetic is present in all areas of men's fashion - with flat caps, baker boy-style caps and trilby-style hats being worn everywhere.
I find that there is also a strong demand for a bespoke service, which I offer. In a way this is old-fashioned too. People are after beautiful pieces they will use and cherish for years - they want to get advice on the style that suits them, be able to choose the perfect fabric and get the sizing exactly right.
My flat caps are really different from what you see on the high street. I love re-inventing the those traditional hat designs. My approach is informed by an innovative design outlook, as well as technical knowledge of millinery and pattern-cutting.
For example 'Garvey' features a a swooping asymmetric curving seam. The 'Stirling' features an unusual combination of fabrics in grey and black. The 'Otley' has a distinctive sculptural shape. All my designs are thoughtfully created, they add a touch of understated style to my client's everyday wardrobe.
What’s trending for women?
For women's casual hats, the retro trend is also really strong - in particular cloche hats which have an old-school glamour, recalling both the 1920's and the 1950's eras. It's a lovely practical style for winter, as it covers the ears well and can be stored in a bag, whilst adding a little glamour to an everyday outfit.
Androgynous styles are also a strong trend - the 'boyfriend' hat, if you like. Often this takes the shape of a relaxed, wide brimmed hat. I re-interpret this in a smarter, tailored way with the 'Crawford', a fedora-style hat in pinstripe cotton, and the 'Broadwick' in a rich teal-coloured wool with its sculptural crown and wide brim. Both of those will definitely get heads turning!
How are you addressing a trend towards vintage accessories through headwear?
My design has always been inspired by past eras when hat-wearing was more common in everyday outfits. I strive to re-interpret those styles in an up-to-date, contemporary way. Even though the inspiration is retro, the hats have to fit in with today's lifestyle and client expectations. My passion lies in re-visiting vintage-inspired classics: such as the cloche hat, the beret, the flat cap, the fedora hat and the trilby hat, to create contemporary classics which will last a lifetime and fit in with contemporary fashion.
When shopping for a hat online how can you decide if the hat will suit you or not?
I always show model pictures on our product pages, to give a sense of how the hats sit. My clients seem to figure it out really well though, as I get virtually no returns on our online sales!
I do realise this is an issue with online shopping, and I'm currently developing a chart showing the different face shapes and the corresponding hat styles.
What inspires you to create a design?
Retro hat styles always inspire me, as I mentioned previously, as well as vintage fashion and interesting fabrics and trimmings. I'm a magpie for visual inspiration, in particular from architectural details in London and Paris, and visual arts and textiles. I usually share these on my Instagram feed: @kh_millinery
I design and make everything in the London studio, so I oversee the complete production process, which is a rare thing for a fashion brand these days! Pattern-cutting is really the foundation of the way I work; In this way I design through making, and, for example, I'm currently creating on a hybrid between a cloche hat and a peaked cap. The designs evolve as I investigate new forms and interesting ways of sculpting fabric.