Friday, September 27, 2013

What a Great Hat!

What a Great Hat!
by Brit Charek

Until recently, I had never considered consulting a milliner. (A milliner is a hat-maker.) As a soon-to-be-bride, I found myself a bit overwhelmed with never-ending options for hair and headpieces. A custom made hat is a great option for a bride or anyone else attending a formal event. And fortunately we have an award winning milliner right here in the Akron Empire!

All photos courtesy of JaNicki Photography
Paula Singleton owns the store What a Great Hat! in Fairlawn. She graduated from the Virginia Marti School of Art and Design in Lakewood, which is home to one of the few millinery programs in the country. Since then, she's won numerous awards for her work, including having a hat displayed in the Kentucky Derby Museum every year for the past four years-- one of the biggest honors a milliner could receive!

Singleton's considers her signature style to be "the cloche"-- a fitted, bell shaped hat that reached the height of its popularity in the 1920's. Thanks to the amazing costume designers who worked on such projects as last year's film adaptation of The Great Gatsby and PBS's addicting television series Downtown Abbey, we're seeing more of these hats in contemporary fashion.  “The trick to keeping any hat style looking fresh is to take inspiration from the past and add a contemporary spin," says Singleton.

The average price of Singleton's hats range from $100-$175 and can last decades with proper care. The intricate craftsmanship, high quality of materials and unique design are what really set her work apart from those that are mass-produced and made by machines. Her hats are works of art, some appropriate for everyday wear and some that are perfect for special occasions.

You can check out What a Great Hat! on Etsy to see what hats are for sale online, or you can see them in person at Ohio Mart at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Thursday October 3 from 10am-6pm or Sunday October 6 from 10am-4pm.

Tomorrow, Saturday September 28 What a Great Hat! will be hosting an open studio event from 11am- 3pm at the address below. Stop by, admire the beautiful hats and learn a little more about the custom work Paula does. Enter under the Plaza Office Building sign in the center of the building. Take the stairs or elevator to the second floor, Suite 202, and tell her that Akron Empire sent you!

What a Great Hat!
Plaza Office Building
2855 West Market Street, Suite 202
Fairlawn, OH 44333

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