demure/dɪˈmjɔː//dɪˈmjʊə/ adj. 1. quietly confident and comfortable in own skin or own hat.
A video (making a felt hat): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1Cwv0PSLqY&t=15s
A hat sits right on your face and can affect your look as much as your haircut. Also, a slight difference in a hat size can give you headache or worrying feeling of its being blown away while biking.
When enough care is taken so all insecurities and discomfort are removed, you feel relaxed, safe and confident.
And this is the kind of care that I would love to take when I make a hat for you.
I make sure that the colours and the shapes compliment your faces and the sources of your insecurity are removed. Practical considerations are taken such as ‘cycling’, ‘rain and wind’ (because I live in Amsterdam). Also, use of particular materials and certain techniques ensure comfort. That’ s why, wherever possible, I prefer to meet you and show the hats myself or design ones together. Our knowing each other helps you to have confidence in my hat. I enjoy this process very much.
Who am I?
My name is Yuki Isshiki and I originally come from Osaka, Japan. My mother’s family used to trade in kimono fabrics and my father’ family had wood carpentry background. Since when I was small, I have always loved making things using my hands. Every time I saw beautiful clothes and accessories, instead of wishing to own them, I would wish I had known how to make them.
I moved to London when I was 23 years old and that’ s where I learned millinery or traditional art of hat-making. My teacher has been making hats for Vivienne Westwood and other prominent fashion houses/ hat makers. She is kind as a lady, very firm and strict as a millinery teacher. Quite a few years of learning from her gave me a solid foundation as a milliner. I still re-visit my memories with her for both technical and emotional reasons. Some years later, I moved to Amsterdam as I fell in love with the beautiful city and its friendly people. Speaking of people of Amsterdam, they are also open-minded and adventurous. They managed to convince me (who was insecure and hesitant) to open a studio/shop “demure couture hat Amsterdam” September 2016.
What is a ‘demure hat’?
My design inspirations often come while looking at and touching materials. I like workmen/women and sportsmen/women’s hats. I also make flowers and feathers using fabrics. I love intricate looks which can only be achieved by time-consuming handwork. Also recently, I enjoy revisiting classic millinery shapes that are often overlooked and give them fresh look by de-constructing and re-constructing. When I design a hat for you, there are three things I have in mind:
1. What you like and what you feel comfortable in.
2. Nice things I see in you but you don ’t realise or refuse to realise 🙂
3. What we think is uniquely ‘you’.
In addition, I hope that my eyes for details, knowledge of hats and different materials will help when we think about the best hat for you.
If it is a felt hat, it could be rabbit felt with all sorts of textures and colours (some of which are vintage), beaver or cashmere. I use very little stiffener and because of that, my felt hats feel very soft and can have a ‘tired look’ which is one of my favourite styles. If it’s a straw hat, it could be panama, vintage wheat straw from Italy or maybe vintage parabuntal straws from the 1970’s. If it is made of fabric, it could be hand-woven Harris tweed, cashmere suiting from a family-run factory in Japan, or headstock from one of the mills in West Yorkshire in England. Or it could simply be made of a piece of brushed cotton or rough linen. If it is for a hairband, it can be Swarovski, silk organza, coq feather or a bunch of straw.
While my designs represent sense of freedom, my attitude towards production is very strict. I work according to authentic methods and use high quality sustainable materials (instead of plastics and chemicals), which is more time consuming. I do prefer to stick to these old “couture” methods simply because it helps me achieve better aesthetic result (invisible stitches by hands, more intricate details etc) and more comfort (diagonal hand stitches to allow joints some movement etc). It is worth extra time and effort and I was lucky to have met a teacher who taught me the strictest ways. Also, what comes with the old fashioned techniques is the way they care about the resources (which used to be more limited when those techniques were developed). Much care is taken to minimise waste. Small pieces of high quality materials are always used to accessorise the hats or turned into small pieces for children whose mothers have hats in matching fabric!