Sunday, February 26, 2012

Collecting part 4

So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth

This is the catch phrase for an organisation in Nepal called L Pida which provides a structure for women rescued from sex trafficking to develop garment making skills and build viable futures for themselves. This weeks collector, Hosanna has a passion for vintage clothes and donates a portion of her proceeds from her etsy shop Carolina Roses to this cause. 

But it is her passion for vintage hats in particular that is the focus of this week's blog. 
Although women from an early stage were always expected to have their heads covered by veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples, it was not until the end of the 16th century that women's structured hats, based on those of male courtiers began to be seen.The word 'milliner', which is a maker of women's hats, was first recorded in 1529 when the term referred to the products for which Milan and the northern Italian regions were well known, i.e. ribbons, gloves and straws. The haberdashers who imported these highly popular straws were called 'Millaners' from which the word was eventually derived.

Can you tell me a little about your background? (where do you live, how old you are, background education/interests, work, family etc)

My name is Hosanna. I live on a farm in Virginia, USA, with my husband, dog, five rescued cats, a pet goat, chickens, and 11 horses. I am 31 years old. I work as a home health attendant, sitting with and elderly lady and her challenged granddaughter. In my spare time I have an Etsy shop where I sell vintage clothing and accessories.

What do you collect?

I collect vintage hats. My personal collection is at just over 80 hats right now, from the 30s - 60s, mostly.

How did you get started?

My mother purchased my first vintage hat (from the 40s) as a gift when I was about 17 years old. I fell in love with it, and with hats in general, and started buying them when I found them in thrift shops, etc. I still have that hat my mother bought me. It has a place of honor in my collection.

What attracted you to collecting them, in other words, why?

I collect hats because I find them so beautiful. Velvet, satin, feathers, beads, bows, ribbon, felt, straw, millinery flowers, fur, tulle, veiling, rhinestones.... they're made up of so many beautiful materials. I rarely see two hats alike. Most people don't wear hats anymore, and it is sad to see them cast off and forgotten in thrift shops, rummage sales and the like. To me, they're beautiful bits of fashion history, and I can't resist taking them home with me when I find them.

What is the holy grail of your collection? That is, what is it you are keen to get your hands on that you don't have?

The Holy Grail for me would be some turn of the century hats. Right now my oldest hat is a 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli hat. I'd love to find something from the 1910s era. I am sure I could find many beautiful examples ready to buy on the internet, but part of the "charge" I get out of collecting hats is the "thrill of the hunt", and finding them unexpectedly. So I am going to keep my eyes "peeled" for that Holy Grail.

What are the best aspects about being a collector? 

For me, the best part of collecting is the fun of finding the hats. I love to get up on a Saturday morning, and go to a flea market or and estate sale and search through all the other "stuff" and discover a gem amongst the clutter.

What are the worst?

The worst part about being a collector is storage! I collect other vintage items as well and sometimes I start to feel like a "hoarder" when the collections start piling up. That's part of the reason I started my Etsy shop.  

Do you collect something? Why not share it with us? I would love to hear from you.


  1. This is such a lovely interview! Thank you for recognizing my daughter's talent and creativity and for featuring her lovely collection!

  2. So haPPy to read this fantastic post about the beauty of and history of vintage hats.
    loVe the way they frame a woman's face,making us look so much prettier.
    If you watch the black and white movies from the 20's and 30's,the women always
    wore amazing hats.
    Maybe we'll see a hat trend happening again...
    A fantastic collection indeed! Best wishes!

  3. What a great story! I love hats, but here in Paris, not many wear hats anymore. I still wear them from to time. After all, the most important part of fashion is finding your own unique style.