As a maker of hats, I'm influenced, consciously or unconsciously by trends in fashion. One that I've observed is that of the Big Hat becoming more common.
An extra tall wizardy Mushroom Hat by FeltHappiness.
Birth of the Big Hat Look
Originally, it seemed that the Big Hat Look began when Pharell Williams wore what looked like an oversize Canadian Mountie's Hat to the Grammy's back in 2014. Do you remember that? But really, it didn't start with him.
It turns out that, Pharell had been wearing large hats since 2004 - who knew? His hat designer of choice is Vivienne Westwood. However, she introduced this style way back in 1982, with her collection of Peruvian-inspired hats.
If you are wondering how the Westwood hat fits, interestingly, tucked inside, like a Russian Doll, there's a smaller hat.
Besides Pharrell, other performers, such as Erykah Badu, are known for wearing large hats. She wore four extravagant-sized hats to the Soul Train Awards of 2017.
When did everyday folks adopt this hat trend?
Well, you may remember, last summer was all about floppy, over-sized, big straw hats? You know, the kind of hat that has a brim so broad that it's partly hat, partly cabana. In addition to being trendy, the sunhats are practical - they keep the sun off the face (and upper body).
More Inspiration Seen
Continuing, the Super-Size-Me millinery trend appeared on 'Street Style' wearers this winter. These hats seem to take inspiration from men's traditional hats - only taller on the crown, the top part.
As an example, there's the designer Esenshul whose felt hats have exaggerated crowns (tops). I first saw his work via Instagram on SofistaFunktheSkirt when she wore one of his big hats in her posts.
While I often make exaggerated-sized hats for my Wizard Collection, I had not tried to make tall hats for my 'everyday' hat collections. Why? I had not thought them 'practical enough.'
However, seeing other designer's big hats online inspired me. As a result, I wanted to try to see if I could accomplish the challenge of making a scaled up, yet wearable hat.
My Big Hats
The FeltHappiness Big Hat Look
Above is an example of my tallest Big Hat. It has a bit of an English Bobby Helmet (police hat) to it.
I made it a new way. First, I felted it; then I handpainted the sepia colored lines. At the time when I was making it, I was thinking of Renaissance pen and ink drawings. But, as I was painting the hat there was a bit of time travel. It took me back to being a child and hand painting Easter eggs.
Below is a modified version of the Big Hat as a cloche. It's not quite as tall, but it still goes quite a ways above the head.
The Cloche Version of the Big Hat
To sum up, it was interesting to make Big Hats that were not a wild 'n' crazy Wizard Hats. Yet, I'm not sure if I will do more of them.
Right now, I am in the middle of felting up three more white, Merino wool hats. When I get them to the right size, (all felted), I will rinse out the soap and then paint them to round out the collection of Ivory and Sepia Brown Doodle Hats.
Indeed, this 'batch' of hats is scaled 'normally' and is not part of the Big Hat Look.
Behind the scenes on my felting table: 3 average scaled hats (before shrinkage).
Thank you, Carolyn! So glad that you enjoyed this blog post.
Love reading about your process.