Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Khalil's Hatitude

If you didn't know, there is a word in the English language that describes what it is to make hats. That word is 'millinery.' A quick google search on the history of the word reveals that the term was not known until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when fine felt, fabric and straw hats were made in the Duchy of Milan and were known as 'Millayne bonnets'. This is where the modern English word 'Milliner' comes from, as the London maker of these feminine caps and bonnets was called a 'millianer.' The Anglo-Saxon word for 'hat,' Haet or haett appears to have signified the shape resembling the petasus; meaning, 'with crown, wide brim and easily removed from the head.' Until the sixteenth century, any hat other than the ‘hood’ was a ‘cap’ in English, or a ‘bonnet’ in French. Suffice it to say, a hat from the 16th century is far different than what we call hats today. Perfect example- Karl Brown, designer of Khalil's Hatitude from right here in Kingston, Jamaica. His head-pieces are elaborate, colourful, and defy the convention of what a hat should look like. I was so impressed by his designs, I of course had to have a little sit down with the up-and-coming designer. Here's what he had to say.

1. What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion for me is an expression of self.

2. Describe the line in one full sentence. 

A contemporary alternative for women who are fashion-forward and want to be on the edge of fashion; simply chic.

3. Have you had formal training in hat-making?

I have no formal training in hat making, but i've always had an eye for fashion. I remember when my 1st son was a baby, his mom and I would sit up late Saturday nights making clothes for him to wear to church. Now she could only cut the designs and I would sew them. I believe I have gifted hands.

4. Where does your inspiration come from?

I believe I am divinely inspired. I work with a "flow".

5. Who is your ideal buyer? What type of person is she?

Khali's Hatitude's ideal buyer is the fashion-forward woman, who endeavours to make a statement. 

6. Explain to me how you go about making pieces. 

My environment must be prepared- clean, quiet, and free from distractions. Most times I listen to something inspirational while I work. I do not sketch; my designs are all in my head. Some nights I have to get out of bed and make the things that keep running around in my head. At times it's like i'm awakened by someone to get up and sew. It's a flow, its a ... I do have basic designs that I work with then I improve and explore on them. I source my material from different suppliers locally and internationally.

7. How do you decide on colours, designs, etc?

I decide on my colours by choosing what catches my eye. I like colors that are edgy, eye-catching and unique. Notwithstanding there is always the basic black and white.
Style depends on what i'm creating....or will eventually create... It will take me 20 minutes to sew a hat but it takes more time in accessorizing and finishing it. It takes me a longer time to recreate a design than just making a hat; I don't delight in recreating a design as it never normally looks the same...  I blame it on the 'flow.'

8. What's the price range for your pieces?

Prices range from J$3500 upwards, depending on the elaborateness of the design etc. 

9. Where do you see your line in 5 years?

Well in five years, I would hope to have made my presence felt on cat walks in Europe.

10. Do you see yourself going into other areas of fashion?

Yes I do see myself going into other areas; I have been encouraged to get into mens fashion so I am also moving into the direction of imagine consultancy.

11. What's the one item of clothing/accessory that every woman should have in their closet?

A piece from Khalil's Hatitude, naturally.

12. What's the motto that you live and operate by?

My motto is ....How you handle the issue is the issue!!

Head-pieces provided by: Karl Brown for Khalil's Hatitude (khalilshatitude@yahoo.com)
Photography and styling: Dwayne Woodstock
Make-up and grooming: John Gordon
Model: Lara (Kasafi Professional Services)