As a Florida girl, the hat designer has a special relationship with one of her favorite materials.READ MORE
Becoming a hat-maker is like falling in love—or at least it was for Gigi Burris. “When I went to Parsons, I studied abroad for a year in Paris. In the Marais, there’s this amazing millinery shop. When I went in, it was incredible—I was really inspired by the idea of traditional craft and beautiful materials,” explains the designer, wide-eyed.
Hats became a sort of outlet for Gigi. Up to that point, she had been focused on ready-to-wear and had been nominated for Parsons’ Designer of the Year. “I presented my senior thesis collection to a pretty large panel of fashion-industry insiders in 2009—it was really scary. And each look had a hat. Even though I was really about the ready-to-wear, the thing that people took away, I think, were those hats,” she says. “I got my first hat credit in Elle in September of that year and sold my senior collection at Debut—more and more customers were like, ‘Oh, I really need a hat for this, a hat for
that,’ which pushed me to start the business.”
Now she manipulates feather and grosgrain, felt and fur, from her Lower East Side apartment-slash-studio that she shares with a friend—a pianist who has a shared appreciation for the old-school arts. “I feel like we’re both really kind of nostalgic people,” Gigi notes. “It’s beautiful to be able to sit here and make hats while she plays classical music.” —erica