Heirloom Hats – The process

Over the span of 3 days, photographer Phil Bernard documented the creative process of his own Heirloom Hat at their studio. We had the opportunity to ask Samantha-Tara Mainville, the founder and creator of Heirloom Hats, a few questions.

Flanelle : How did Heirloom Hat brand start out ?

Samantha : Heirloom pretty much started from the desire to expose the custom/handmade hats that I make. Montreal doesn’t have many milliners (From the ones that I do know, I can count them on one hand), and not many of them have a brand/label. I wanted to offer something different than what is proposed with manufactured hats.

Heirloom_Web-2 Heirloom_Web-4 Heirloom_Web-5 Heirloom_Web-8 Heirloom_Web-11F : Heirloom is still pretty new, how has it grown in the past year ?

S : Heirloom was launched in September, so it hasn’t even been a year, so far it’s been doing good! It is a very niche market, and because it is still very new and unknown, just like with handmade clothing, it will take time to educate people on the process and difference in quality that is achieved with a handmade hat that will last through generations versus a manufactured hat.

F : How do you live the process of making the hats ? is it soothing, long ? How much time does it take ?

S : Millinery is a true passion. There is a proximity to the raw materials that really draws me in, It’s very organic and somewhat comparable to sculpting. Making one hat takes about 8 hours over a period of 2-3 days, and everything about it is soothing. I really just get in the “zone” and work.

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F : What is the material used and why did you choose this one ?

S : Most of the hats from “the gray matter” collection is composed of rabbit fur felt with a velour finish. I chose this material because of its soft texture and malliability when working with it.

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F : Where do you find your inspiration for upcoming collections ?

S : I’m very much drawn by textures and colors. I just have a feeling for them and they inspire me. Modern art is also very important in my creative process.

F : Any inspiration quote or saying you like ?

S : Everyone can wear a hat, you just need to find the right one!