The latter part of one morning this week found me hand in hand with hat milliner, connoisseur and general enthusiast in the most authentic sense of that word, Gigi Burris.
We met under the premise, by way of a mutual spirit angel, that together we would construct a hat for my head for fashion week among other events that called for personalized hats (see: embroidered -isms,) and so she took me through her dynamic process introducing me to the midtown hat-men: makers, fellow milliners, trim pals.
Perhaps the most notable moment of the process revealed itself at the most majestic little factory hidden deep inside the garment district. All hail Abrizio Hat Factory. As Gigi pointed out, there’s just something so romantic about the notion of hand-made anything. Especially, I added, in the over-digitized world we live in.
The man photographed above, standing beside two wooden pieces: a fedora crown and large hat brim, (he was nothing short of interested in, albeit baffled by my decision to pair such a crown with a brim that wide,) goes by the name Blue, sings along to 80s power tunes at very high volume, has a few decent dance moves to share and the most sage advice to offer.
Upon accidentally dropping a crown (we were surrounded by roughly 200 different variations,) that landed directly on his foot, I apologized profusely.
He just laughed though.
“Around here, you’ve got to expect shit will fall,” he said. “We’ll get hurt: burned, bruised, scarred. But it’s like my great uncle always said: don’t worry, it happens.”