Kristin Silverman started millinery out of a personal love of wearing hats. With a passion for yesteryear styling she has embraced the saying “study the past if you would define your future”.
How you would describe your designs?
I like to say my style is vintage-inspired hats for everyday wear.
What is your ideal customer?
A woman who loves hats and feels confident wearing one with jeans and a sweater, who can wear a hat as an everyday accessory or statement — without needing special occasions like a wedding or the races.
What inspires you?
Vintage styles above all. The glamour of 1920s-1940s era fashions, especially.
Also a yearly visit to the ocean in Maine rejuvenates me creatively.
What has been the largest challenge you face in millinery?
My biggest challenge is finding new customers and building a sustainable business. As for overcoming it, I'm currently working on building a web site, so I have a more professional presence than only an Etsy shop. After that I'll focus in on new marketing strategies and more engaging photography.
If you could invite any milliner to tea who would it be?
This is the hardest question! I love visiting with other milliners, whether it's talking shop or just a friendly chat. I can come up with a dozen good answers and probably change my mind a dozen more times. For the sake of answering the question, I'll say Stephen Jones. He's such an icon. His work is amazing, and he seems like he'd be an enjoyable person to have tea with.
What is your favourite material to work?
Felt for the main part. But outside of that, I love millinery grosgrain! Cockades are a feature in a lot of my work. Or other pleated or folded ribbon designs. Plus, of course, as a sweatband inside the hat. It's everything from basic to ornamental. I can't do without it!
What's your best millinery tip?
Unless you absolutely can't meet their vision, take challenging bespoke orders. I have grown so much through being forced to figure out how to make a trimming work or having to come up with creative blocking strategies to achieve a certain shape and size. (Plus it forces you to be good at communicating.) It's more work than "easy" stock designs, but it pays off.
Any tips for Spring 2020 headwear?
As someone who doesn't really follow trends or do specific collections, I think the best hats are either absolutely classic and timeless or creative statement pieces. Pick one thing and do it well. We can get lost by trying to make something that's both super of-the-moment and also going to be stylish in five years. It usually doesn't work.
Famous words to live by.
Wear the hat. Don't let the hat wear you!
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