Hats Only: Talks with Mr Hat
Fashion. One of the biggest and interchangeable industries in the world. With its many facets, standing out from the crowd is not hard to do for this gentleman. Sitting down with this self taught milliner, formally known as LaTouche, Mr Hat discusses where his fascination started, challenges in the industry and who he is without the Hat…
iON: Wearing a hat is most definitely your statement, how did your passion for hats come about?
Mr Hat: My passion for hats started with my grandfather. Growing up with my grandparents, I used to walk around the house with my grandfathers hat on. He was always dressed impeccably, and the hat I always used to try on was this black rabbit and faux felt trilby. Fast forward to when I was 18/19, he gave me this beautiful rabbit and faux felt hat, the same one I’d tried on as a kid. The beautiful thing about it was that it fit me like a glove, and it was nice to know that I was the name head size as my grandfather. He has since passed away, after his passing, I vowed never to be hatless. It’s symbolic to me. When I wear a hat, I feel like he’s still with me.
iON: Your experience in the fashion industry has lead you to opportunities to work with brands like TK Maxx, MTV, and Lynch and Mason to name a few. For those starting out in the industry, what advice could you share?
Mr Hat: Fashion is massive so it’s important to decide what you want to do in the industry; take styling for example, do you want to style shoots or for e-commerce? With PR, I’d recommend getting an internship, companies are always looking for interns at the beginning of the year and around September time. Also don’t pressure yourself. Travel, explore different options, eventually it will all contribute and help towards your end goal.
iON: When people look at you, they are seeing the culmination of a tonne of late nights, unpaid internships and juggling numerous jobs at once. Could you share some the challenges you experienced working in your field?
Mr Hat: I think this one applies irrespective of industry - Being black. You have to always work a lot harder and you’re forever watching your back to make sure you’re not doing anything that they can pull you up on. There’s a certain protocol of how you have to carry yourself, and I find that challenging. I think there’s certain roles we won’t get because of colour, and 9/10 we can not only do the job, but do the job better. In saying that, I’ve learnt how important it is to know your worth and to get into an intimate relationship with yourself. Understand your worth, what you will do, what you won’t do and ultimately love and respect you.
iON: Having people buy into Hats is a very niche conversation. When was the moment when you realised that 'I’ve actually put hats on the map'?
Mr Hat: There’s been a few but the standouts have been international. A guy that lives Japan asked me where he can get hats in Tokyo. I was like 'woah, is he asking me where to get hats in Tokyo and I don’t even live there?’ The thing is, I know some places and some hat designers in Japan so I was happy to recommend, but I was just blown away that he would ask me, who lives nowhere near there and has never visited.
Another moment was when went to L.A and hosted a hat party with man I really admire called Nick Fouquet - I could spot one his hats a mile off, and if I was ever to create my own hats, I’d want people to be able to spot them in the same way. I’d written ‘meet Nick’ in my little black book and to walk away having thrown a party with him just blew my mind. It was my friend Ki Pharaoh who said I should ask him to collaborate and my response was, ‘no way, he’s the biggest celebrity hat designer in the world right now’, so when I asked him and he said yes, it made me realise that I’d got to a stage where I had some credibility, but that takes time.
iON: How would you describe Mr Hat without the hat and what are some of his favourite things to do?
Mr Hat: Mr Hat without the hat is in the shower! That’s the only place I’m not wearing a hat.
I was having a conversation with someone who met me for the first time the other day and they said, "you know what, I follow you on Instagram, and you’re the same? I assumed you’d be arrogantly" and interestingly enough, I met someone else who said, "I expected you to be nice". What I post on my socials is me authentically and represents what’s actually happening.
Aside from hats, I love music, I listening to it and playing it. I love watching cartoons, I enjoy running, I enjoy playing and watching basketball and I love restoring hats, even when I’ve got no clients. I’m family orientated and one of my biggest passions is encouraging people. I don't seek opportunities to do that, but the Lord always know what people need to hear and He often works through me in order for them to hear that. I also enjoy is spending time with people with similar energy to me, a love for life. I actually have more fun when I’m phoneless.
Mr Hat is hosting #HatsOnly party this coming Thursday. We’ve attended a few in the past and it’s definitely going to a vibe. Check out the flyer below and socialise with him @_mrhat too.