12 Jan 2018

The modern hatter

From Summer Times, 10:25 am on 12 January 2018

Emma Cheape started making hats when she couldn't find any she felt comfortable and confident in. She's now a one-person hat-making machine selling eight styles through The Brim Label.

While living in London, Emma wanted a light, casual hat that was easy to throw in a bag or take on a plane and couldn't find one that felt like her.

"I thought, well, if I want that surely other people do, too."

Emma's hats (which include caps, wide-brim hats and visors) come in sizes extra small to extra large.

They're all handmade from locally sourced fabrics and vintage fabrics she finds at fairs and secondhand stores.

Emma says she's always on the lookout for curtains from the '60s and '70s.

"I really love those prints and the colours. It's also special because there's a finite amount of material … I think it's nice that people know they're going to be only one of a few with [a hat in] that particular print."

Many people falsely believe they have a larger than average head, but if you really do, a visor is a good hat option because it's adjustable, Emma says.

Visors really suit round faces and wide-brimmed caps – "more feminine than a baseball cap" – seem to suit every face shape, she says.

Sometimes Emma feels she was born in the wrong era.

"Not that many years ago people wouldn't dream of leaving the house without a hat on."

Get the new RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes

Subscribe to Summer Times

Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)