A hat is something that can really be the staple of any outfit! today many hats are mass produced in the world of fast fashion. But there is a saving grace... Justine Hats - a traditional millinery label which produces high quality, stylish hats for both men and women. This month I sat down with the founder of the brand to find out more about the tradition way to make a hat.
Yael, for those who haven't come across your brand, can you tell us a bit more about who you are and who Justine Hats is?
Justine hats is a millinery label that reflects the fascinating encounter between fashion, art and design. Designed by Yael Cohen, the label brings about the modern life in a classic way. The collections reflect on the eternal debate between these two strong current, with dramatic, finessed pieces.
The hats created at Justine Studio are fully hand crafted, and are based upon the old art of traditional hat making. The studio designs & produces two collections each year – winter & summer. Each collection differs in the materials, design line & concept.
The concept of the designs incorporates values of fun, simplicity, originality & intelligence which all come together into a classic-elegant design that remains fun & cheeky.
What was your motivation behind launching your own Milliner label?
My professional background derives from BA in art and design and MA in cinema and film. These disciplines also constitute an endless source of inspiration for me.
I work the line between design, art & fashion using unique & non-conform connections of concept, shape & matter.
All of your hats are handmade, how important would you say this is to your clientele? The hats created at Justine Studio are fully hand crafted, and are based upon the old art of traditional hat making. The studio designs & produces two collections each year – winter & summer. Each collection differs in the materials, design line & concept. The concept of the designs incorporates values of fun, simplicity, originality & intelligence which all come together into a classic-elegant design that remains fun & cheeky.
When it comes to designing a new piece or collection where do you begin? Do you find yourself using similar techniques in your designing stages or is each collection development completely different?
Each collection has its own concept, in which I choose my sources of inspiration, colors, texture and more. But my language and design perception remain true to myself, Anyway I am Trying to challenge myself over and over again.
In this Winter 2022 collection, I chose to present the hats as objects within a context from the art world "still life", in which a composition is created by connecting different objects, the connection between the objects often produces extra and complex meaning and interpretation. The concept of still life has received an additional and up-to-date interpretation in the collection with regard to the period of uncertainty that has characterized our recent lives, all the more so for creative people and manufacturers.
"The last period has put us to quite a few tests, physical and mental, that we each faced in our own way. I chose to return to nature, earth and sky. I sew more sunsets and sunrises than ever before. To the softness and iniquity of the creative process that emerges, to the handwork and the material.
" The combination of still life, sunrise colors and an lifeness feeling led to the creation of the collection which consists hats in a variety of shapes (fedoras, low and wide brimmed hats, caskets etc.) made in a traditional millinery technique where the felt is processed by heating and steam, stretched on wooden hat blocks, shaped and gets different finishes with respect to the chosen design. The colors are soft and pastel mainly inspired by the sunrise shades and the oil paintings of Rothko - cream, yellow, pink, purple on shades, light blue and more.
You are proud you adhere to sustainable working practises, how important is this to you and for your customers also? Remaining on the sustainability topic, how important do you think it is that the whole fashion industry moves to a more sustainable working style?
Justine Hats conducted sustainable (ethical) fashion principles-
we use natural sustainable materials, minimize waste and water use during modelling process design and make timeless best quality hats you can wear over again.
The world is just coming out of its biggest crisis in decades, how did you find running Justine Hats through this time?
We take a time to think and wait to see how the world will keep working, we sell out hats all over the world so it was difficult in export and import materials, shipping times change all time but we have a good customers all over that were very patient and loyalty.
You pride yourself on releasing 2 collections a year Summer and winter, why do you think this model has been so successful for you?
Winter and summer hats are very different, at the materials and their functions. I like the designing challenge in each collection.
In just 3 words, how would you describe Justine Hats?
Design, simplicity/complexity, sustainable.
If someone reading this would like to launch their own millinery label, what advice would you give to them?
Millinery is an old crafted technique so...you need a lot of patience and creativity, ability to handwork and a lot of physical strength.
Where would you ideally like to see Justine Hats in 5 years time?
International millinery brand, sold in more worldwide fashion boutiques , with more sub collections.
Is there anything you can tell us about your planning for any future collections?
We've already start to work on Summer 22 and winter 23 collection. it is going to be colourful and with a lot of chic.
Thank you for your time.
You can shop the full collection from Justine hats at www.JustineHats.com
Photo Credit: Yifat Verchik & Valery Belkind