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What we wear is a signifier of who we are, and the hat in particular has become a marker of individuality and style.
It feels right to celebrate the hat makers who craft our chapeaux of choice, whether that’s a felt fedora, brimming sun hat or jaunty beret.
As you might expect, Italy, the home of design and craftmanship is where some of our favourite hat makers reside. For example, if you’re in Florence or Rome, you should drop into Grevi or Patrizia Fabri respectively. The former is a fourth-generation milliner business whose creations you can see in Via della Spada in Spigna, near Florence. Patrizia Fabri is the place to pick up a handmade hat; it’s certainly what film makers, fashion photographers, models, artists, pop stars and costume designers do. In the Italian town of Alessandria, you’ll find Italy’s oldest hat maker – Borsalino, and a huge range of millinery from trilbies to fedoras, rollable hats and Panama hats, to caps, berets and beanies.
Over in Vienna, Austria, we shine a light on two different but equally skilled hat makers. A hundred years old, family milliner business Mühlbauer will provide you with a classic fedora or a quirky fascinator, all hand crafted to traditional methods on a original hat block. By contrast Nomade Moderne is all about modern day styling, made with traditional techniques, creating very cool, distressed-look hats, wearable for the everyday.
Nearby neighbour in Switzerland, Risa Hutwerkstatt based in Zurich, hits the sweet spot between form and fashion using materials gathered from nature including wool, hemp, straw, wheat and silk to create fashionable hats for today’s style-seekers.
And we mustn’t forget our European cousins. Over in sun-baked Athens in Greece we have Giorgio’s – the ideal spot to pick up a stylish sun hat for summer on the Greek Islands, while Spain offers up its oldest hat shop Casa Ponsol in San Sebastian, founded in 1838 and producer of a distinguished selection of headwear in this a beautifully restored heritage shop.
Lastly, let’s fly west to the lush shores of Ireland and Donegal in particular. A family business for over a hundred years, Hanna Hats creates masterfully woven tweed caps ideal for country folk or those following the Peaky Blinders trend, either way it’s the perfect memento from the Emerald Isle.